Remember that commercial in which an elderly woman who had fallen to the floor cried, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Well, I can sort of relate to her these days.
Not that I’ve fallen down recently, but I’ve been trying to get up, by doing a pull-up. And it seems as distant a goal as getting off the floor did to that poor fallen woman.
But, I have to take stock of how far I’ve come. After a years-long hiatus from exercise, I started working out seriously again about two years ago. When I began, it was so difficult that all I could do was laugh my way through some of the workouts. And after those first workouts, I was so sore that even laughing was a bad idea. Too painful.
But I began to slowly progress, until I felt it was time for a new challenge.
My daughter and I added weightlifting to our workouts this summer. I’m getting stronger, but one thing I have never been able to do is a pull-up.
As I have always encouraged my kids to be fit, and they can all do pull-ups with ease, I felt as though it would be a bit hypocritical if I didn’t at least try a pull-up at some point.
My first attempt was more dangle than pull. Once again, all I could do was laugh.
So, after watching some helpful videos on how to achieve a pull-up, I decided to build my strength first. I’ve been jumping up from a stool, pulling my chin over the bar, and just hanging there for as long as I can.
Jump up, hold chin over bar…let go. Jump up, hold chin over bar…let go.
That’s all I’ve been able to achieve so far. But the longer I hang on, the stronger I become. I can hang on just a bit longer than I could the first time I tried.
I’ve learned through the years that many of the same principles that apply to physical fitness apply to spiritual fitness as well.
It takes time – years of daily life, as well as time invested in prayer and Bible reading – to build character and strengthen a relationship with God.
It takes consistent and persistent effort to banish a weakness and transform it into a strength.
It means keeping your eyes on the ultimate goal, so that even when you fall, you get back up and try again, with God’s help.
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again. – Proverbs 24:16a
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. – Proverbs 31:17
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. – Isaiah 41:10
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. – Ephesians 3:16