Have you ever been put into a difficult situation and not been sure what the outcome would be? About nine years ago there was a workout series called P90X. It was a highly intense video series, and one of my friends suggested that I try it. I ended up getting a copy of the videos from Craigslist and started on my journey to a better me. The program is 90 days of hardcore workouts designed to push your body to its limits.
At this time in my life I was not in great shape. Not to say I am in excellent shape currently, but I was about 40 lbs. heavier than I am now. When you walk up a flight of stairs and gasp for air, you quickly become aware that you need a drastic life change.
So I dug in. I was determined to get in shape, or at least a better shape. Round was not cutting it for me anymore. I began the program and proceeded to live my first week or so in agonizing pain. But it was good pain. I felt good about what I was accomplishing…until yoga day.
My previous experience with yoga was only what I had seen on TV. And so I assumed that Yoga was easy. Sure, I knew I was not flexible, but how hard could it be? A bunch of moms in leggings can do it. And besides, I used to work out three times a week and play hockey four to five times a week. For sure I could take on Tony Horton’s Yoga X. (Just so you know, the X stands for extreme.) In my mind I was thinking this would be equal to a rest day.
I put on my workout clothes and got ready for whatever was coming my way. "Here we go,” I thought, “A day of stretching.” Nope! Not ok. I was breathing heavy and sweating like a wet dog locked in a car on a hot summer day. This was extreme, alright. I was being stretched—literally.
I wasn’t sure if I would walk again. But after some Advil, some Icy Hot and a foam roller, I actually felt ok. I was good to go, glad I did it, and stronger because of it.
Many of us, like I was with Yoga X, have been stretched physically. But what about spiritually? When was the last time you had a spiritual workout?
Have you ever been stretched by God?
Sometimes we like to go through life and just keep things easy. Stick to our traditions. Keep away from extremes. Sometimes we avoid the hard things because they will push us and challenge us.
The Bible in Psalm 139:23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.”
When I pray, sometimes my prayers are too soft. I don’t ask God to test me, or try me. I just ask Him for things that I want. But what about what He wants for us?
What if, just like it was good for me to be stretched in my workout, it is good for us to be pushed by God? What if the trials we face in our lives are not there to hurt us, but to stretch us? What if they could make us stronger, and even glad that we went through them?
Perhaps we need to ask God to stretch us!
I found this quote by a famous author. She says, “No cross, no crown. How can we be strong in the Lord without trial? To have physical strength, we must have exercise. To have strong faith, we must be placed in circumstances where our faith will be tried. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience, and advances us in the work of character building. Our Saviour was tried in every way, yet He triumphed in God constantly. It is our privilege under all circumstances to be strong in the strength of God, and to glory in the cross of Christ,” Ellen G. White, Reflecting Christ, p 349.
What we need today is a few more Christians willing to be stretched. I want to challenge you to ask God to give you a workout. Yes, it may hurt (maybe even a lot) but I guarantee you, it will be worth it.