Just about every weekday morning for the last 4 or so weeks, I have experienced an internal struggle as the alarm on my iPhone, my digital brain, would loudly sound a blues riff that really more annoys Kelly than wakes me. As the ba-dah-dah-ba-dah sounds, right after I reach over and touch the snooze option, my head goes back to the pillow and instantly I wrestle with whether or not to get up and go to the gym. The level of internal dialogue would rival any bitter courtroom closing arguments, as I line up the reasons to exercise and reasons to sleep “just a couple more” snooze cycles.
Its not a question of whether I want to go work out- I don’t. There is nothing natural about going to a warehouse covered with a vomit of wall graphics of people that do not need to be there working out… a place that reeks of human pheromones, industrial cleaners, (and old vegetables?)… and pushing myself toward unnatural physical exertion on belts, pedals, handles, and pulleys. Nor is the random music, “from the 80s 90s & today!!” that is played at my gym compelling enough for me to actually be spurred toward any deeper desire to sweat. Unless of course Olivia Newton John or C+C Music Factory comes up on the playlist.
So what finally moves me out from under my nest of pillows and bedding, other than the urge to go to the bathroom? At some point, a motivator kicks in… a catalyst that directs my desire toward the betterment of my physical health, at least until lunch.
And our spiritual journeys are not that different… at some point a desire to grow in Christ, to see others come to know Him, and make an impact on those with whom God has given us points of intersection, becomes part of the motivation to study the Bible, to petition and praise God, and corporately walk this life in a way that honors Him. And for the Apostle Paul, who in describing what justifies his title, described part of his motivation:
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. – 1 Cor. 15
So, my challenge for the week, like Paul, is to let grace be a motivator… in every area of my spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical life. At home and at work, and even at lunch. As I navigate stressful and challenging situations in ministry and spend time with people hurting, questioning God, and wondering what’s next, I will be praying “yet not I” kinds of prayers. And yeah, I guess I will get out of bed and get to the gym…