Body Building vs. Spirit Building
With summer here, I am constantly hearing women say, “I’m not ready for the beach!” or, “It’s bathing suit season already?” If you find yourself saying things like this you are definitely not alone. Being fully exposed in our most vulnerable places can be a terrifying thing.
I personally wasn’t all that happy with the way my body looked last summer and began to take steps to become the better version of me so I would be ready to go this summer. With that said, physically speaking, my body responded really well and fast to a rigid diet and exercise routine. Six months later I found myself competing in a bodybuilding competition for the first time in my life. Being over 35 and in a swimsuit where people literally judge every inch of your body can be a daunting experience. I managed to take 2nd place in two different and challenging categories in a pro qualifier show. People said, “You should be so proud!” and, “You look great!” and YES I am so proud, but to be honest, I’m kind of a competitive person and really, I wanted to take 1st place home!
Bodybuilding is all about muscle maturity and the day-by-day, action-by-action of building up the muscle. If you put in the hard work and discipline everyday, you will see results in time. “In time” is the key. Time is the part where most people will begin to lose hope – where they lose sight of the goal that they are working towards or why they are actually doing it. It usually takes a lot longer than what we want or anticipate to achieve what we desire.
Our spiritual life is much the same way. To be strong, we have to continually invest in building ourselves up. It’s a day-by-day action that takes time to develop. We also have to be continuously aware of what spiritual diet we are eating and what is nourishing us.
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Spiritual nourishment is key. Hearing what our Father is saying to us and getting our specific direction, or our diet and exercise routine if you will, straight from Him and His Word is what gives us life and strength in our spirit.
In church leadership, the temptation is to lose sight of why we are doing things because it seems to be taking too long. “This season is too long.” “It is too much work.” “It is too hard.” I’ve had these conversations with myself and my husband more times than I count about both my personal life and our ministry life.
One of the things said in the bodybuilding world frequently is “PUSH through the PAIN.” Now, that is easier said than done. Trust me. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that my body isn’t in complete pain. You don’t see results without pain or sacrifice. You have to get used to being in pain all the time and you must still be willing to do it.
The hurts and disappointments in life will come, maybe from others, or maybe even from staff, but we need to learn to push through the pain. If we feed and nourish our spiritual life with the Word of God and continue to push through the pain, we will eventually see the results we are longing for and will be strengthened in the process.
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. “
I don’t know what you are facing today or what parts need strengthened, but I want to encourage you to push through the pain. Keep on going and don’t give up because the best is yet to come!