My one word for 2017 has been “enjoy” and enjoy I did — little things, big things and in-between things, but mostly enjoying the people I do those things with. I’ve got no intention of leaving enjoyment behind. I’m taking it with me from here on out.
I know there’ll be sorrow, trouble and struggle in 2018 (which I surely won’t enjoy) but I know I can find a deeper, calm joy in the intimacy with God and others that only those hard things can bring about.
That brings me straight to my word for 2018:
If you know me at all, you know I don’t only mean physical strength — but heart, mind & soul strength as well.
When we say someone is strong, it often seems to have more to do with how they appear on the surface than what they’re really made of in their innermost being. So my plan is to get a clearer picture of what being strong actually is and allow myself to be shaped by it.
What we experience in our physical body can help us better understand what happens in the deeper parts of ourselves. Consider how muscles form, as explained by Ben Greenfield (The Get-Fit-Guy):
“Let’s use your biceps—the muscle group on the front of your arms—as an example. Like all the other muscles in your body, this muscle group is comprised of tightly woven bundles of muscle fibers, which are comprised of muscle cells.
When you require your biceps to produce a force, such as lifting a couch, most of those muscle fibers in your biceps are exposed to tension, especially if your couch has a fold-out bed hidden inside. The tension from the weight of the couch stretches the fibers and causes tiny tears in them. When the cells in your muscle fibers sense this trauma, they begin to rally the muscle-building troops from your body to repair the tears.
These muscle-building troops include hormones, growth factors, and white blood cells, and working together, they not only repair the muscle fibers in your biceps, but they also increase the size of those fibers and the strength of the nerves that activate them, so that next time you lift a couch you are better able to do so. As those fibers increase in size, the biceps grow, which is precisely why you do not want to challenge a moving-van employee in an arm wrestling competition…
…The trick to building muscle is to adequately stress the muscle, allow the muscle to recover while eating enough healthy food to feed the new muscle, and then repeat!”
That’s fascinating — especially knowing that the process is similar for strengthening our heart, mind and soul.
Consider Psalm 27:14…
“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Those words are some of my favorite in all the Bible. They’ve sustained me in my darkest, most desperate hours and will forever be like a strong arm that grips me when I’m weak.
The Hebrew word for “wait” basically means “to bind together” and “stresses the straining of the mind in a certain direction with an expectant attitude”. (Strongs Concordance)
So when we’re waiting through trials — light, heavy & everything in between — it’s an opportunity to let our innermost being get a workout, to gain strength and courage.
I’m hoping to write about once a month thru 2018 to share inspiration from some of my favorite fitness people on getting/staying physically strong. I’ll also share what I learn… and um… what I’m struggling to learn when it comes to inner strength.
So if better health for your whole being made it to your list of new years goals, I’m heading that way too.
I was so encouraged about the benefits of strength training in the Get-Fit-Guy’s recent podcast about it. You can listen (24 minutes) or read the transcript here: 12 Reasons To Lift Heavy Things In The New Year . Check it out and get motivated!