ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?
The New Year is a time for new beginnings. We get a fresh start. God continues to grace me with more mentors in my life, which is a real blessing. Recently, He has put a few strong individuals in my life who are challenging me to be stronger physically. They’ve told me that as I get physically stronger, I will get emotionally stronger as well. I’ve never pushed myself physically as much as I have the past 2 months. I’ve been disciplining myself to 5 days a week of rigorous workouts.
One day, I found myself frustrated, thinking these workouts were too hard. It’s amazing how extreme physical exertion brings up the emotions. My friend said that I needed to get stronger, so I could do more for the sake of others. She said people sense when we have inner strength and that our bodies reflect it. I called My Aunt Betty with this and told her that I didn’t want to be pushed that hard and that I didn’t care about reaching out to more people. She said, “I feel God is calling you to a change, and you are resisting since you want to stay where you are. You don’t outright disobey God, but part of the way you avoid saying “no” is that you don’t ask Him what He wants. You just stay in decision mode.” I had to laugh, as it’s true. I like to fuss with God at times, but ultimately I want to follow His will. I need to ask Him for the grace to be obedient. When I pray in the Spirit, I usually will get clarity as to where He’s directing me.
My eldest son, Nathan, was in town over the holidays. He is a West Point grad and Army Ranger, so I asked him how he was able to overcome the physical pain when things got difficult. He told me that he wasn’t the strongest or the fastest of his peers, but that he wanted it more. He said people often don’t push themselves as far as they can go. They have much more capacity. He said after doing Ranger School, it’s given him confidence that he can push past his perceived breaking points. So much is mental. He inspired me to keep at it. It’s true that as I’m getting stronger physically, I’m getting stronger emotionally, and more confident of what I can do.
As I was praying with Betty, she told me: “Ask God to show you the door that needs to be open that’s holding your emotions down. That part of you is lacking in trust. It’s hurting you when you stuff it down. There’s a part of you that wants to control the show. Whatever part is coming up is kicking and screaming and doesn’t want to do the work. You don’t want to pass up the opportunity to have these mentors in your life because you’re rebelling. You need to choose your strength and act in your strength. You can’t complain to God that He’s moving too fast. That is a trap and you need to be alert and not get caught in traps inside yourself and think it’s God speaking.
People who run aren’t happy. Follow the Lord and let Him do what He wants to do. Tune into where God is leading and obey. If God wants you to do it, He will give you the grace. You just need to make up your mind and not let resistance take over. What does God want for you? That should be your motive. ‘Jesus, are you calling me to get out there and help people? ‘ You are telling God that you want to live in His Divine Will, so if He wants it, then you need to say yes. The problem is that you are going into your ego and looking more at what you want than what He wants.
You have to want to confront the part that’s putting you in rebellion. ‘Lord, help me choose what you’re calling me to and stop playing games.’ You’re in a battle with your ego wanting to be in charge. If you yield to Jesus, the ego will lose its power. You have to recognize the stubborn part and get it healed. You have to work against selfishness.”
After talking to my aunt and being inspired by Nathan, I hung in there with the workouts and the changes God was calling me to. I’m experiencing first- hand the connection between the physical and the emotional and spiritual. John Paul II states that the body is sacramental. “It makes visible to the world that which is invisible.”