I love the feeling of scaling the side of a rock and making it all the way to the top. I love the feeling of hitting my stride when I am running. I love to push into a yoga pose that I have been trying to get for a couple of weeks. I don’t, however, love the regular day-to-day exercise that allows me to be able to do all of these other things.
Recently, I decided that it was time for me to up my exercise routine. I made a plan to begin each day with early morning exercise, and I joined a group to keep me accountable to doing just that. During the first week, I got up and joined my group for an intense workout. By lunch, I could barely move my legs without feeling the ache of my terribly sore muscles. This is when my grumbling began. My co-workers and sweet family got to hear the woeful tale of just how out of shape I was. Some of them got to hear the story several times. My husband even texted me an article of remedies for post-workout pain.
Each morning at the end of the workout, my coach strongly encouraged all of the newbies to come back because the workouts will always be tough, but eventually the pain will subside. No matter if it is working out or something much more substantial, pain eases over time. As the pastors have reminded us so eloquently, between the promise and the payoff there is a process. Over the years, I have learned that I usually grow the most during the process. The celebration at the other side is fantastic, but the lessons come when you are in the middle of the wilderness. Paul encourages us in Phillipians 3:12–14 to press on towards the call of Christ Jesus. Then, in the next chapter, he gives us the secret to making it through the wilderness:
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
— Phillipians 4:11–13 NLT
If we look to Christ each and every day, in each and every minute, we are able to be strengthened through him and find fulfillment. Finding peace in the small troubles helps us learn how to trust Jesus through the bigger ones. God is with us. We just need to keep our eyes on him. Find the blessing where you are.