Sunday, September 13, 2015

How Power Lifting Taught Me Contentment

Hello Girls,

Many of you may not know this, but I was on the power weightlifting team in high school... and I was actually decent! However, I did not start out decently.
After watching me lose my first weightlifting match while my adversaries were lifting their body weight, my mother took me to eat a huge meal and have a serious discussion about my future as a power lifter. I was scrawny. There was no way around it. And unlike the other girls in my weight class, I was not pure muscle, I was just scrawny. So we decided to start adding some protein and healthfully build myself up to a competitive level.
I improved to the point where I had to start weighing in to compete. And I wish I could say I was always healthful about making weight (don't tell my mom.) One year I tried to gain weight and ended up almost throwing up a big mac before competing. The next year I tried to lose weight and ended up running laps in sweats and an empty stomach before competing. Needless to say those were not my best lifts.
You know, maybe I would have been better off just staying in my own weight class and not trying to be anything other than what I was...

Anyway, I was reminded of this story when I read this verse...

Proverbs 31.17

She girdeth her loins with strength and strengtheneth her arms.
Deborah was a prophetess and an Israelite judge, a leader before they had kings, during a time of war. She went into battle with the men of Israel and her prophecy that "the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman" came true!  In the end this was her song, "The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel," and she ended her song with a tribute to the Lord:  "So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord, but let them that love Him be as the sun when He goeth forth in His might. and the land had rest forty years." 
She stood when no one else stood. But she did it in His might. Everyone looked to her for strength, but she knew where her strength came from.*

We cannot do things in our own Strength.
This is a humbling truth, but also an empowering one. No, we are not invincible. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we cannot overcome what is in front of us. We can avoid, we can redirect, we can ignore, and pretend we succeeded. But to truly have the strength to overcome, we need someone stronger than the situation. We need God.
God did not create us to be weak, He created us to be in a relationship with Him. So naturally when we are apart from Him we lack strength. Simple but life-changing! It will change the "Why is God allowing this to happen to me?" question into the "Thank You, Father, for helping me through that trial and bringing me closer to you." moments.
We all love Philippians 4.13 that says "I can do all things..." but we must not forget the last qualifier, "through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Our strength comes from the Holy Spirit.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples to go into the world and be witnesses of Him. But first, He told them to wait! They were to wait for the Holy Spirit to be given to them, to empower them and strengthen them, just as the Father had promised.**  
As Christians we have the Holy Spirit within us. This means we have the same power the disciples had! This is our source of strength if we would only tap into it. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you and He will never fail you.^

God gives us strength for the moment, not for the imagination.

God provided manna (bread that fell from heaven) every morning for the Israelites as they wandered through the wilderness, without fail.^^ He gave only as much as was needed for each person that day, no more and no less.  
When we are hungry and weak and we ask the Lord to sustain us, He provides us with strength enough for that day, for that situation, no more and no less. We want strength for the next day, too, but God wants us to rest in Him, knowing that in the morning, our strength will be renewed, just like it was yesterday. Just like the new manna they received each morning. Today's strength is not sufficient for tomorrow. Tomorrow's strength is useless today.

For all you Type A's like me out there, don't be discouraged when God doesn't seem to be providing strength for tomorrow. Learn from my power lifting mistakes and be content with where God has you, even if it's challenging. Like the Virtuous Woman, strengthen yourselves for battle! But instead of trying to do it in your own strength, but find solace in knowing that you can do all things through Christ!

* Judges 4-5
** Luke 24.46-49, Acts 1.3-8
^ He will keep the feet of the saints and the wicked shall be silent in darkness, for by strength shall no man prevail.     - Hannah, 1 Samuel 2.9
Our own strength is not enough for the battles. We need Him to fight with us.

For Thou hast girded me with strength to battle. Them that rose up against me hast Thou subdued under me.     - David, 2 Samuel 22.40

God equipped David for battle spiritually, and he was victorious in all that he did.
^^ Exodus 16

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