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52 || Thank God for the Downhill

It’s Saturday at 9:30 on a cool and sunny spring morning. As I start out on my planned long run of the week, I begin to picture in my mind the path that is ahead of me. I’m motivated, eager, and excited to accomplish my goal.

In Slow Motion

Fifteen minutes into my run I am quickly reminded of how heavy each stride feels and how steep the next hill is. I think about how awkward I must look to the people driving by. Lethargic, weak, and sometimes feeling as if I am in slow motion, I wonder if anyone I know is going to see me in my struggle or if I can possibly keep going without anyone figuring out  how hard this really is for me?

Why do I care that much what others might think? Well, you see, I’m a personal fitness trainer. More often than not, in the eyes of those who know what I do – they expect me to be physically perfect. I’m expected to eat perfectly, train perfectly, and be the strongest, fastest, healthiest, and thinnest version of myself.

Chase for Perfection

Is it possible that I can fake it ’til I make it? Is it possible that if I have enough discipline, follow the rules, design the perfect plan, and take the perfect supplements that I can indeed be perfect when it comes to my body and fitness? Maybe, just maybe if I do, then I can meet the expectations of the world around me and I too, can be perfect. That’s probably something we’ve all probably thought at one time or another. Those thoughts and the chase of perfection are neither healthy nor reasonable, but in moments of desiring to meet expectations, we often strive outside of reality.

All too often, as I train my clients, that same struggle is manifested in their lives as well. They come to me because in their mind they want to achieve what they believe is physical perfection. The problem is, we will never, and I mean NEVER achieve that based on anything we can do in this world. There will always be failure, let downs, and sin that maintains our imperfections. Romans 7:18 says, “…for I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

Training God’s Way

So, what should our training look like? What should our goals for our physical health be realistically and biblically be? The Bible also says in 1 Timothy 4:8, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds up promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” I want to encourage those who read this column to focus on strengthening your relationship with Jesus Christ first and foremost.

You see, true happiness is not in seeking to attain the perfect body, the perfect health, or the perfect fitness accomplishments. True happiness isn’t about looking to what you don’t have.  It’s in the joy of Christ and the grace He provides us minute by minute in our many imperfections. The imperfections are what make His grace sufficient, needed and PERFECT.

Transformation

Once you have that as your first priority, then you will understand the joy of obedience to his desire for us to take care of our bodies. Being perfect will no longer be a list of worldly rules, rather it will be a daily walk of repentance, grace, and continually dusting ourselves off and trying again.

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Reaching the Peak

As I continued my run, I reflected on another pair of runners coming in my direction, climbing the same hill, with the same look of despair. I feel their pain and share their determination. As we both reached the peak of the hill I no longer cared about my many imperfections, rather I exclaimed, “Thank God for the downhill!”

They both looked at me curiously and with a big sigh of exhaustion, they both smiled and agreed. Isn’t it great how God not only creates the hills for us to climb and challenge us, but he also provides us the downhill so we can rest? How awesome is it to know that he has thought of every little detail in our life, even the downhill!

Sandy Robinson, Certified Personal Trainer, Twitch Fitness, LLC, [email protected]

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