An area of improvement that was identified early on for me in my path to become a pastor was my health. Part of the work that I started, along with other changes, was to begin going to the gym. I have a good friend who was in my small group that invited me to join him at Trinity Fitness in Suntree. They do a short devotion to start the class, then a warmup, then what they call a “Battle.” The first day included a lot of burpees. They were horrible. I can’t believe I went back. But I did. I have been going for almost three years now.
There were two keys to me coming back. The first, and most important, was the community and encouraging people. I’m am a strong extrovert and I derive a lot of my energy from being around people. The second thing was back-squats. I’m known around the gym for my love of back-squats. In a very short description, you load a barbell with weight, place it on your back, and go into a squat. There is a lot more to it than that, but you get the idea. When I first started, I got a little zealous about doing the back-squat movement for the day and loaded the bar with 335lbs. When I went into the movement I got stuck at the bottom and had a moment of terror go across my mind.
Thankfully, we train for these kinds of moments. I knew how to get out from under the bar and “bail the weight” as we call it around the gym. Learning how to safely use the weights and what to do in case of moments like this are some of the core of what we do at the gym. Since then I have become a trainer at the gym, and I work with people to help them understand what to do when the bar gets too heavy.
What made me think about this is my calendar that is currently overloaded, my laundry is piled up beyond reason, and all the needs of the world around us. The weight of all of that and so much more can be scary. We look around at our lives, our families, and the world and see so much need. The weight of all those things weigh on us heavily and we can get that same sense of fear as I did when I was pinned underneath the bar. That’s real and it’s genuine, and, sometimes, needed to get a real perspective on the world.
However, we are trained for this. Like the gym, we train for what it means to recognize when we need God. We train to “bail the weight” and seek out God who teaches us how to handle all that the world is throwing our way. We aren’t called to carry it all. We aren’t called to live under the pressure of our concerns and fears. Whatever that weight may be for you, whether it is a physical weight, the emotional weight of grief, or the weight of our possessions or finances. None of that weight is meant to be carried alone or to the point of feeling overwhelmed.
What we are called to do is to follow Jesus and the way he walks through his earthly ministry. Jesus teaches us to pray. He teaches us to know that God wants the best for us and that isn’t living under the pain of all this. God wants us to follow his teachings, through Jesus, because it is a better way. Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We know eating well and exercising is good for us, but we still struggle to follow the better path for our personal health. (I still do.) We know prayer and God’s path for us is a much better way to live, but we still struggle with it. Anyone who has worked towards a personal goal and achieved it can tell you that feeling of relief. They will even tell you "I don’t know how I did life any other way." Many Christians will say "I don’t know how I did life before God." I’m thankful to know that God was with me before and God continues to be there now to show us a better way.
What weight are you holding that needs to be let go? How can your time with God show you the training God has for us?
I hope worship is one of those ways for you and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we continue in our “Dear Church” sermon series. Come and hear what God has for us, no matter what season we are in.
With Grace & Peace,