Late last week, I was exhausted. I desperately wanted to exit my planned exercise session with my trainer. I started and stopped the text message of cancellation several times. Eventually I decided to just “suck it up” and set my alarm to wake up. I moved away from my phone and missed a text from my trainer that read, “Can we do virtual tomorrow instead?” I thought, well, that’s better and I should take it. I responded, “sure.” That decision allowed me to get a little more rest that my body was craving. When I logged in the next morning, my trainer said, “Oh no equipment is needed, you’ll use your weight.” Why didn’t I cancel? 😩 In the spiritual realm, it is perceivable to consider carrying the weight of others, yet when we lean into the reality of carrying only what belongs to us, there is a great reckoning that must take place in our minds, hearts, soul and spirit.
God most certainly calls us into community with one another. Additionally, God assigns us to assist, hold space, support, affirm and offer Godly wisdom to others for seasons and short stints. While this task is without question challenging, it’s also easier to focus on assisting others with their burdens as opposed to focusing upon our own. We can convince ourselves that our actions of tending to others are valid such to the extent that we neglect the cultivation of ourselves. I have purchased many pieces of equipment to create my own gym at home. Lifting weights to be sure is hard, but channeling my energy to lift my own weight nearly took me out. I’d never cried during a session in the year that we’ve worked together until that dreadful morning. Galatians 6:5 reads, “For every man shall bear his own burden.” During the workout, I didn’t want to bear my own burden. I reflected upon each of the pieces that I’d invested in to strengthen my arms, legs, core, etc., but in the end, I was being charged to work against my self. It wasn’t a time to determine how “heavy” I could go, but instead, how I could manage that which I am most immediately responsible for. In fact, the “weight” that I carry, is that which God has deemed that I can handle, but not without His intervention. A few verses earlier, in Galatians 6:2, we are instructed to carry one another’s burdens. Some of us remain there, too immobile to consider the burdens associated with us, opting instead to focus on the burdens of others. God expects us to do both and just as we serve as accountability to others, we must believe that others are serving as accountability to us.
To be fair, my trainer did not leave me by myself during the workout. She continually checked in. She offered, “You got this.” She counted down, “Six more.” She told funny stories about her family. Although not physically in the space with me, she was there; as we are to others, as they are to us, as God is to us all. Yet, we will not know the beauty of this connection if we fail to be brave enough to try and bear our own burden. It gets tricky because at times, we feel that the burden may not have been ours to begin with. Someone else may have “dropped the ball,” and left you to clean up the mess. The accuracy of that fact doesn’t alter God’s expectation, nor should it hinder our response. As believers we mustn’t remain stagnant on the beginning of chapter six in Galatians, but instead through growth and maturity, trust our burdens with the One who designed them with us in mind and desires that we seek Him in the process.
Research published in the journal Physiology and Behavior found that, as a form of resistance training, body-weight exercise helps build muscle “independent of an external load.” My God from Zion! So that suggests that when we work on building and constructing the independent, which is us in Christ, we have the ability to live, move and have our being, despite the environmental context. Often we place conditions on situations and people to change in order for us to experience bliss, when instead, the change is required within us in order to build the resistance and immunity to what is happening around us. Over time engaging in body weight exercising builds our endurance and allows us to not compare ourselves to anyone else, with both characteristics being essential to the journey.
I do know that whatever I am navigate in this body, no matter how difficult, I am convinced that I can carry it because of the sacrifice made on my behalf (and yours) at Calvary, despite the shadiness of my trainer who snapped this photo of me during the workout 🙄. The weight of my body fails in comparison to the weight of Jesus’ body; but what it did was paid a penalty that enables me (and you) to endure whatever is placed in our path. We can endure because He did first. I can’t say that I would be disappointed if it’s a minute until we do another body weight workout, but I will certainly have greater appreciation for it from henceforth and I may even sneak in a couple “on my own,” here and there to make sure that I’m still breathing.