Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

Now that the kids are back in school, like many moms, I've resumed my regular workouts. Things are going pretty well, but once again, I'm dealing with muscles that are screaming out in protest over their new work schedule. However, I'm trying hard to push through the pain because I know from experience that in a week or two things wil improve and I'll feel stronger and more energized.

I did some research online about the cause of muscle soreness after a workout. I learned that when we exercise we lengthen and contract our muscles. In the lengthening phase, we create tiny tears in our muscle fibers which result in the soreness that appears a day or two after each workout, especially for those starting a new exercise routine. It is through this process that our muscles adapt and strengthen, becoming better prepared for the next time they have a task to perform. Now that I know the soreness is actually a sign that my muscles are getting stronger, I don't mind it as much. In fact, I hope to be a little sore after each work out, that way I know it was effective. After all, I probably won't see the results of all this hard work for a few more weeks, so feeling the results right away is encouraging.

Pain is often a part of a strengthening process in our lives, isn't it? Spiritual and emotional growth rarely happen during the peaceful times in our lives when everything is going well. Unfortunately, periods of great growth usually happen during times of great trial. These are the times when our spiritual, emotional and mental "muscles" are tested, torn and ultimately strengthened.

Even though it may not feel like it, God is closest to us in these painful seasons. Psalm 34:18 assures us that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." And, in Isaiah 40:29-31 we find the encouragement that after the pain comes a time of renewal and increased strength, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

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