Sweat Equity
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What’s that dripping down my face in the 5 a.m. hour? Oh, it’s just a whole bunch of sweat equity. It’s the idea driving me to get up while the crickets are still chirping. It motivates me to leave my down pillow and snoring husband behind to work my body into shape. I slip out of the house, go to the gym, and plant myself upon an odd human configuration of metal and plastic. I have my dear friend Grace to thank for asking me to join her and spur me on towards achieving my fitness goals.

Go.

Makeup isn’t applied, my hair is swung up into a simple ponytail, I go to the gym ready to work, and fully aware of my need to do so. While my feet are strapped to both pedals, my legs push and spin in constant rotation. Yes, my legs would rather run back to bed but I won’t let them. I must continue to grow in self-discipline and I want to achieve something far greater than the state I found myself in five months ago. The need is real and it’s up to me–one conscious effort and one circular motion of follow through at a time. I’m moving faster and stronger day after day. What used to feel excruciating, now feels doable. I sit among both older and younger women who have also adopted this discipline in the wee hours. No one complains–instead we grab a towel, grasp our handles, turn down the lights, and prepare to fine-tune our bodies into what we’ve hoped for.

Work.

It all began with a thought, led to feelings, and with Grace’s help, an opportunity to work rather than just talk about it. I’ve faced it, I’m not a size seven anymore. In spite of my body’s changes over the years, while I’ve come to accept myself as is, I’ve also decided to turn from old habits and take responsibility. No more wishing to look like anyone else and no more comparing myself to others. Yes, I’m tempted to look back on my once high metabolism and a season I shed more than sixty pounds. In spite of that victory about eight years back, my health unraveled. For the sake of encouragement to you–I confess I currently accept thyroid support, do regular anti-candida cleanses, eat a boring diet, maintain hormone balance, commit to gluten free eating, and digestive care–all obstacles which cry out for daily attention. If you’re anything like me however, over time, we all discover that ignoring our physical needs cannot become an option for long. Avoidance and apathy are always an option but the rippling effects will always cause more long-term problems for me. So, here I am, once again accepting God’s grace, now in the area of personal health. It’s time to take responsibility for my thoughts, my negative self-talk, personal choices, and my faith.

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Sweat.

Grace did invite me to workout at an ungodly hour but I didn’t just accept the invitation–I went, began working, and sweating. In a similar way, maybe you’ve noticed, there are a lot of flabby Christ followers walking around. Please, let’s not think our lack of boundaries, self control, or double mindedness go unnoticed. If we can agree on anything, let’s agree on this–Church we have some work to do. The time has come to strive forward and become more fit–running, reaching, and peddling towards a life that honors our Savior again. How did we become so numb? Yes, we can remain seated and adopt the world’s patterns but for those of us who desire maturity–those aren’t options.

A new life with renewed purpose will require effort, energy, and sacrifice. If we are so blessed to have a friend or mentor who encourages us to become more self-disciplined with resources at our disposal, we must make the most of them. If we are in need of wisdom, time, a renewed desire, or the drive to move forward instead of backward–let’s ask God who gives generously.

Mature.

Don’t be fooled, others have taken notice. Church, some of us do look pretty sloppy in our faith, wavering in our convictions, boundry-less, are double minded in what we say and what we do, and we’ve become a sorry bunch. Some of us are even indifferent to the needs around us, stunted by fear, and lacking in Biblical understanding. I believe there is a better option. Investing sweat equity into our personal relationships with Jesus Christ will always remain worthy of our time. It will remain worthy because He still loves us, forgives us, saves us, frees us, has purpose for us, and His good returns are eternal. If we believe in Him, the time has come Church to start living and praying like we do.

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