I have been on a journey of recovery from my shoulder injury for over 18 months now. A slip down a ladder in a split second of time is still affecting me all this time later. As with so much of life, there has been good mingled in with the hard. I now swim regularly twice a week. I am consistent with weight training three days a week. It has made me more conscious of my muscles and the need to strengthen them to support my body and function well. I am healthier for having gone through this. I am getting stronger.
That strength and fitness is built over time. It requires effort. It requires regularity. It requires consistency. I was reminded of this in my swimming and rehab of late. Illness and travel resulted in a two week break from my usual exercise routine. Two weeks isn’t long in the grand scheme of things. Surely it wouldn’t have a big impact? Oh, it does. Getting back into the pool required a much greater mental effort. I couldn’t swim for as long as I had built up to doing. I felt winded so much quicker. The weights that I had been contemplating increasing were suddenly a challenge again.
I had a choice to make in the face of this decline. I could berate myself for the time off and bemoan the loss of strength and fitness. I could take it as a sign to stop. Or I could give myself grace, focus on the next right thing in front of me and build up my strength once more. Shake it off and move forward or allow a small setback to derail me completely. I know what I have chosen in the past. It is easier to give up and go back into a comfortable place- even if it isn’t beneficial in the long run. I am working at making the long term choice that my body will reward me for in the days to come.
Strengthening our bodies takes work and intentional choices. The changes start in deep hidden places, in the muscle fibres. Results cannot be seen immediately. I am reminded of how true this is for soul strength too. Think of that person who seems to radiate strength- not an abrasive hardness but a deep inner strength that carries them through all the seasons they face. Do you have them in mind? Have you ever had a twinge of envy for their strength and wish you could have it too?
The reality is that you can have that strength. Are you willing to walk the journey to get there? The deep, dark, hidden places where that strength grows? Are you choosing to make the everyday decisions to stretch and grow rather than staying in your comfortable place? Are you prepared to change your perception of circumstances to see the growth opportunities and not only the hurts? I have been asking myself these questions over the past few years and again in the past couple of weeks. I cannot expect to have soul strength and the life I want without being willing to walk this journey.
What is one thing you can do today to stretch past your comfort zone, make an intentional choice for growth and/or shift your perception?