Exercising is my latest obsession. HIIT workouts have been my ultimate favorite style of training because of the intense way they challenge your physical and mental strength in such a short span of time. The more I’ve done these, the stronger my body (primarily my legs) have become. Unfortunately, strength doesn’t come with invincibility.
I went on a run about two weeks ago and about half a mile in, my right knee started to burn with every connection my sneaker made to the asphalt. I cringed in pain. Cutting runs short ranks high on the list of top ten things I hate. So in spite of the pain I forced myself to adjust the way my foot hit the ground so that I would be able to finish.
I spent the next week “resting.” I didn’t do any HIIT workouts; I didn’t run; and I didn’t bike. But I did variations of squats and variations of kneeling exercises because I mean clearly those wouldn’t add to knee pain. (SARCASM ALERT [refer to previously used quotation marks]). Fast forward to today: I threw in some burpees to a low impact workout and OWWWWWW. The intense throbbing pain I felt in my knee– my body’s way of saying “I hate you for not listening to me.” Message finally received. Icing my knee as we speak and no knee bending at all– except to walk.
It’s almost comical because this situation with my knee reminds me of my spiritual life. The last season of my life required a lot of spiritual stamina and endurance as God challenged me in ways that left me exhausted and honestly a little hurt. I’ve looked back on that season with confusion and sometimes even regret. No matter how painful or hard, I can honestly say I’ve never looked back on a workout I’ve done with regret. Even as I sit icing my knee, my one thought is that I hope it heals soon so that I can be ready for my next workout.
I’m now starting to see that this needs to be my spiritual attitude. God means it when He says He won’t give us more than we can handle and that He gives His children rest. Just like my knee was injured and I’m now forced to give it time to heal, God has been giving me time to rest and heal spiritually. I’ve been foolish in this time– just like I was foolish last week with my knee. I’ve spent a lot of the time I should’ve spent spiritually healing, backtracking to the point of my spiritual injury; it has been as if I’ve been continuing HIIT workouts when I know I should avoid them for the sake of my knee’s health. God has put me in the season of rest and it’s up to me to use the time to really rest and to heal so that I can brave the next spiritual challenge with full strength.
After all, when pain hits you can try to ignore, cover up and/or push through your injury by yelling at God and being angry with Him as you ask Him why He let this happen. *OR* you can embrace the end of a trial and rest your head on the pillow and sheets He has laid out to comfort you and you can just rest.