This month I started working out.
For the first time in 8 years.
If you’re counting, that means I haven’t worked out since getting married.
There’s just something about purposeless movement that I loathe. I know the purpose of the movement is to get in shape, but running on a machine, or dancing to a video, or whatever other exercise you can think of just bore the living daylights out of me.
I know it’s a self-discipline issue so I finally buckled down and committed myself to exercise.
It’s been painful. And embarrassing. And invigorating. My husband has been doing it with me and that has made it fun and did I say embarrassing? Let’s just say I have a lot more jiggly parts than I dared to admit.
Imagine a fish out of water- flailing about, limbs flying, gasping for air, and making unearthly grunting noises – that’s a good visual of what I have looked/sounded like this past week. And to make matters worse, my kids are watching so I can’t quit.
And that got me thinking.
It is my prayer that my children grow up to be lovers of Jesus. But that’s not an easy life. There is nothing easy about swimming upstream in a downstream culture.
And I stay up late way too many nights wondering how I can train my children to not runaway from things that are hard, but to embrace them. Because we are in youth ministry and we’ve seen it more than once; kids that try to float through life on easy street, flinching away from anything that resembles hard work. And I think to myself, if my children avoid “hard”, my children will avoid Christ.
I need my children to understand that with “hard” comes reward. And so as I was sweating and grunting and flailing about, wanting to quit or die or at least regain the use of my arms and legs and abs – it hit me. Maybe, just maybe, if my kids see me persevere, and work so hard at this thing that I hate, and not quit, maybe they will see that “hard” is worth it.
The Bible tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Work. Work is hard. Fear and trembling does not sound like fun. How will I know my children have the fortitude to embrace this process, this life, this calling, if they are scared of “hard”.
I read a quote on Facebook this past week:
“There are many who believe they are saved and thoroughly Christian because they once prayed a prayer and asked Jesus to come into their hearts. However, they did not continue on in the faith. They never came out of the world, or if they did, they quickly returned. They possess no practical reality of the fear of the Lord. There is no fragrance of divine grace in their lives. They show no outward evidence of inward transformation. There is not even a hint of the divine discipline that God provides to all His children. Yet they stand assured of their salvation because of one decision in their past and their belief that their prayer was truly sincere. No matter how popular such a belief may be, it has no biblical grounds.” Paul Washer
Thankfully we don’t have to do this parenting gig alone. The salvation of my children does not rest on me. But my attitudes and example in life can sure influence their attitudes. And you can sure believe that if I live a struggle-free, inward-focused life, my children will learn to do the same.
So I sweat and I flail and I do this thing that I hate because my children need to see me struggle. They need to see me persevere. They need to see me embrace “hard”.
Because they will need to do that themselves someday. Their lives depends on it.