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Today, I feel great!

However, over the last couple of days I have been really feeling the burn.  Going through “P90x”, the extreme exercise regimen, I am challenging my body to test the outer fringes of my capabilities to the point that my muscles burn from the strain.  During the AbRipperX session, I am doing abdominal exercises that I hate to do, but I know that I am going to love the results.  In Plyometrics session, I am leaping, shuffling, and jumping my way to the point that my lungs are gasping for mercy.  However, the burn that I am feeling in other areas of my life has been even deeper over these last couple of days.

Several months ago, I started on a journey that I knew didn’t make sense to most people.  On the surface, people would look at my decision and say that it was foolish.  However, I knew that they had not heard the voice of God in my life in the way that I had, so it didn’t matter to me if they didn’t understand.  This was MY life and God had spoken to ME!

I felt that God was speaking to me in the way that He spoke to Abraham when he said, “Then the LORD told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)  I knew that God was challenging me to take a serious step of faith by giving up some “certainties” in life and pursue some “uncertainties” because of a promise.  The promise that God had for Abraham was, “I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)  Do I think that God is calling me to be a father of a great nation?  No, but I do believe that He has a blessing waiting for me that, in turn,  will be a blessing to those with whom I come in contact.  What does that mean and how will it happen?  I don’t have a clue,…yet.

My wife and I did some major praying before we took this step.  I knew that once we made this decision to allow God to direct and transform us that this decision would be tested and, boy, has it.  Abraham himself was tempted to force the God’s hand and timing of His promise by having a child with his wife’s handmaiden, I have found myself at times doubting the plan that God has for our family by worrying and stressing about finances and timing.  I have been tempted to get frustrated about the time that it has taken for God to bring things to light.  My father-in-law keeps telling to “keep tilling the land because the rain is going to come”.

For the most part, I find rest in that message, but there are moments of weakness when I begin to worry, doubt, and lose sight of what God has in store for me which I know are plans for good and not for bad.   I have indeed stepped out of the boat like Peter did when he saw Jesus walked on the water, but at times I have also allowed myself to get distracted by life and have taken my eyes off of Jesus.   But then, I am reminded of what the writer to the Hebrews said when he wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

I have shared my heart and the process that I am going through with some friends and these godly people have poured words of strength and encouragement with me.  Some that have heard God’s call for them to “step out of the boat” or to “go to a place that I will show you”. They made a decision still holding on to a lot of questions, but armed with the call and promises of God.  They have all seen God’s hand of strength and transformation in their lives that left others in marvel and in awe.  I want that.  Wait,…I DO have that!

Whether you are working out your faith, your finances, your family relationships, or your fitness, know that you will have to feel the burn.  It seems cliché, but the adage of “no pain, no gain” is absolutely true.  I am excited about the process however uncomfortable it may seem at times.  I know that if I keep my eyes on Christ, He will continue to give me the grace to do it.  Andy Stanley once wrote, “What God Ordains, He Orchestrates”.  I am giving God the orchestra wand, the steering wheel, the control so that He can finish the work that He has started in my life.  so, let’s be real, becoming what God has called us to be is not easy because it is contrary to our human nature, but when we allow Him to workout our lives, watch out, because blessings are on the way!

I leave you with this last verse that keeps me encouraged, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Feeling the burn and loving it,

Steve

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