My Fitness

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

surrender all

I have been going through a Beth Moore study called John. It's very basic but what I like about it is that it can be done quickly (handy with four kids running around!) and it can be in-depth or not depending on the reader.

With my husband flying to a work conference earlier this week, my overly-active pregnancy imagination has been thinking about what how we will cope when he dies in a plane crash. How we will survive. Where we will live. Our car, income, schooling, etc has all been considered. It sounds a bit crazy but I haven't been obsessing, it was just a thought. In my imagination, everything works out. But the point is that I would be stricken with despair for a period of time.

It wasn't any consolation when today's lesson was how to trust God through despair. I started wondering, "hey God are you trying to prepare me for something?"

And yes, He is. He is preparing me for eternity. He is training me in righteousness and conforming me to the image of His Son, Jesus. Who has suffered more than Christ? And through His Passion by the joy set before him he endured the cross and became sin, such a feat we barely understand. It is such a small thing then to say I surrender all to him!

What does it mean to surrender all to Jesus? It means I give up my culture, my identity, my desires, my thinking, the people I love, the activities I enjoy, the possessions I have. It's all gone. Practically that means any time my culture conflicts with the Bible, I side with the Bible. If my culture says that morally we do one thing but the Bible disagrees, then we disagree. If I identify as one type of gender but the Bible says otherwise, then I surrender my rights to decided who I am and let God decide. If my desires are for a certain lifestyle but the Bible says "no" then I give up my desires and stop seeking that lifestyle. My family and friends are not here to serve me or for me to serve them, but together we serve Christ. They come and go to the glory of God. I do not get to cling so tightly to my husband that I say he is the love of my life - that honor is for Christ alone. Our marriage is built on the solid foundation of God - not on love, mutual respect, or even the desire to do good. Should he leave me through death, my life goes on. Our marriage dies when one of us dies. It does not carry on. If I burry one of my children, their memory will live with me, but they will not. They don't live in my heart and they don't watch me from the clouds. They can't hear me when I call out to them. Signs and omens will be a construct of my imagination and not come from ungodly power source they discover upon death.

I surrender my thinking. I don't get to decide what is right and wrong based on what I feel. I get to read the Bible every day and decide what is right and wrong, morally, based on what pleases and displeases God. My opinion is conformed and changed into his opinion. I don't get to say, "All babies go to heaven because I just can't imagine God sending a baby to hell." That's not what the Bible says. The Bible is silent about special circumstances; so I remain silent about special circumstances. But I'm not going to LIE and say "God would not do that" when he never said such things. I get to say, "I don't know what he does but I know that after we die the truth will be revealed and we will agree that what he has done is GOOD."

If my possessions do not honor God, I get rid of them. If I am not using what he has given me to bring him glory, then I change that item's purpose. If I enjoy an activity that is ungodly, then I stop. If my motives behind an otherwise good activity are not godly then I change my attitude or stop the behavior. I do not have kids because I want kids. I have kids to honor God.

I give it all to him freely, not begrudgingly. I'm not reluctant to give him my birth control because I know that only He creates life and any life (or 12) that he creates was on purpose. Does that mean I give up vacations and a nice house? Quite possibly. But I give that to him too. I give it all. My life is not my own. I do not live for me. I do not live for happiness. I do not live for justice. I do not live for the greater good. I live only for God's glory which is the only way to receive true happiness, true justice, true goodness.

I will always love him because he did the greatest sacrifice for me - he became my sin so that my sin is gone. We don't grasp the vastness of that sentiment. We don't understand the enormity of disgustingness that is our tiniest sins. We see people as "innocent" and "guilty". But if surrender all to him, I surrender that concept too which is counter-biblical. The Bible says that all have sinned and we are all sinners. We are all guilty.

But I trust him. Trusting God means I know his word is right. He will do what he has said he will do. I trust that he is working everything together for good for those who love him.

Daily, I will be in his presence. That means I'm more than a church-goer. I'm more than just a check-box Christian. I read the Bible every day, but I also meditate on it. I memorize it. I let it change me.

I fail hourly. But I'm trying. I want to be better and be more like Jesus. It's hard. I do not understand my own actions. I don't do what I want to do, and I do the very things I hate. I don't understand me. But I surrender me to God.

Monday, April 3, 2017

cultural blind spot

Traveling across the United States, I've experienced many of the cultures that call this country home as well as many cultures that have come across the sea to call this country their second home.

Originally I was going to write in detail about the strangeness of this one particular culture that I was forced to inhabit. It was decidedly odd due to the fact that it claimed to have a singular grasp of Christianity and yet failed to be godly in almost any regard. But digging up the memories was painful and lead into another lesson I've been trying to grasp about learning to love a people despite their culture and even through their culture (although especially difficult with this group of people who were so lost and blind and yet thought they were the only ones who could see..."hypocrite" is an understatement). So instead of this tangent curve, I'm using this one paragraph to say that this culture had giant blind spots.

It's easy to see other people's blind spots.

What they revealed to me was that blind spots exist. And being a bit of a realist and humble enough to know that I am sinful (and not just a vague "nobody's perfect"), I started asking myself where my blind spots are.

It's easy to see other people's blind spots. But you can't see your own. You need help. When it's pointed out you have to be willing to accept that you are wrong. You have to change. You have put your pride aside and let yourself be conformed into the image of Christ.

(Christ does not belong to a single culture. Your culture is not Biblical or godly unless it is the culture outlined in our ancient Scriptures. It isn't, so it isn't. Democracies, republics, socialism, anarchy, or communism are not godly forms of government. Stop worshipping your political preference.)

I have four kids and am pregnant with my fifth. I am almost exclusively exhausted. This is hard. My job and hobbies are physically active and require a high level of fitness. I pity myself regularly that my arms seem more adept to holding hands than for a perfect port de bras or solid plank. I literally cry. Why can't I seem to stay fit while pregnant? It makes me sad. It makes me mad. I should be able to be fit.

Enter in my husband with his ever-blunt words of practicality. Apparently in my culture of physical fitness I have been blinded into what womanhood is. Raising kids and being a good wife while maintaining my temple is good and right. And I'm doing that. Being at my physical peak is not a requirement that God has placed on me. That doesn't mean I sit around and eat Doritos all day. I do my best to beat my body into submission but I do it knowing that it's a secondary or even tertiary to my main goal of glorifying God with my family.

[Some people get to focus on their physical fitness and God has called other people to other things. I'm not downplaying that or saying they are not being women. But when you are a wife, your focus should be your husband. If children enter the picture, they come next. A wife takes a seat behind her husband. A mother, behind her children. (Husbands take a seat behind their wives. Fathers, behind their children.)]

So here I've been critically and painfully aware of the shortcomings of the cultures that surround me wondering how they can be so blind all while my own fitness culture has blinded me to the fact that I am very physically fit. Idolizing fitness is not necessary. And it's sinful.

Thus I slay that idol. All cultural idols must die. I will never be happy as long as they live in my heart.

If you are prideful in this area, you will fall and it will be painful. The only way to find those blind spots and slay that dragon is to honestly let God shape your worldview. I've seen many people who claim to have a Biblical worldview but they still bring their culture into that worldview. You have to be willing to be wrong. You have to be willing that people you dislike are right.