Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Crushing It...and Paying for It

I always feel like the HULK when I lift hard.
I crushed my workout this morning.

I’ve been sidelined by a knee injury. And I’ve been slowly working my way back to full strength.

How did I hurt my knee?  I’m not 100% sure.  I probably just overdid my summer.  Running, mountain climbing, backpacking, canyoneering, mountain biking, more hiking, more backpacking…somewhere in that mix it started to hurt and swell, and for a long time I couldn’t kneel or go down stairs very easily.  The condition I have is most commonly referred to as “runner’s knee”.  It isn’t painful as much as it is frustrating. 

So I’ve been icing it, working it carefully to get it back to where I can really work it again.

It’s slowly coming back.  Recovery at the age of 45 is a much slower process than it was at 20 and it takes a lot more patience.

Today I was able to do a good HARD lower body workout all the way through without a lot of pain.  Like I said…I crushed it. Squats (grrr), Deadlifts (Argh!) leg extensions (GRRROOOWWWLLL) caped off with a 2 mile run (in the rain, with thunder and lightning all around…)…what more could I ask? (OH yeah, I did have a close encounter with a momma deer! Luckily she decided to back down and run away…whew)

That’s nice, you say…but why should it matter to you?

Turn on your spiritual ears…it’s time for my family night lesson.

I need you to consider two things. 

An arm sling and a dumb bell.

What is the sling for?  If you injure your arm or break it, you’ll need that sling to help immobilize it while it heals.  But what else happens to that arm while it’s immobile?  The muscles atrophy…the tendons weaken and the joints will stiffen up.  The arm becomes weak and in many ways useless.

Now consider the dumb bell.  What it is for? To exercise.  If you take that arm and  lift that dumb bell what will happen? It gets stronger.  Does exercising just one time make it stronger? NO, you have to make a habit of it.  You have to make yourself go lift that weight and continue to work your arm.  When you stop exercising  what happens? You atrophy again.

You are either getting stronger or weaker.  You can never become complacent or say “I’m strong now…so I’m done.” It requires constant work and effort to get strong and stay strong.

This is what I’ve had to do with my knee.  It’s tempting to just sit in my recliner and put that leg up and just rest it.  Give it time to heal.  But I know that it will heal faster and stronger if I work it carefully, rehab it and get back out there as soon as I can tolerate it.

Keep this in mind…I’d like to deviate for a minute with a personal story.

I’ve had a bit of a ‘faith crisis’ lately.  Don’t worry…it’s not the kind that has made me question the gospel.  I have a firm testimony that remains unshaken.  I know who I am and what I stand for.  That has not changed…nor will it, EVER.

No my crisis lies in the repetitive, dull and mundane world of meetings, meetings and more meetings.  I look at all the meetings that I have to go to, and the process of it all and I’ve found myself asking the question “Why? What is it for?” a lot.  We seem to recycle the same old things and rehash the same old topics. We bring up a lot of concerns and offer precious few solutions.  We spend hours talking about who is sick and NEVER talk about what we can do to help that. We form committees, plan activities and rehash the same problems with the same people over and over with almost nothing ever changing or improving or having a purpose.  I’ve begun to wonder if we know anything else.  There seems to be a lot of complaining, gossiping and lamenting going on…but few solutions.  A lot of the discussions we have seem that they could be handled more efficiently with an email or a phone call and not having a meeting at all. 

It’s ironic to me that in a church that places the family at the pinnacle of existence seeks to create so much time to pull people away from their families though meetings…

It just seems to me that we could be more efficient and that if something isn’t working…we shouldn’t blame the members for not doing it but rather look at what isn’t working and ask “Why are we doing it that way?...is there a better way?”

With that in mind, there are times that I really don’t want to go to meetings.  Last Sunday was a perfect example. 

As a member of the Bishopric, it was my turn to conduct Testimony meeting…which meant that I would start the meeting off by sharing my testimony.  I was not feeling it, and was really begrudging the fact that I had to do that.  I simply didn’t want too.  I was not in a very spiritual frame of mind and was kind of having a pity-party for myself.  I wasn’t in a good place.

I decided that that was one of the things that I needed to be fasting about...my faith needed a workout...i needed to lift some spiritual weights.

Then I came under attack…my body tried to convince me to stay in bed and ‘call in sick’…I got out of bed and got ready for the day.  My heart said ‘why pray…it’s pointless’…so I knelt and prayed.  I was under an assault from all sides… “don’t go to  your meetings…don’t go”  So I walked out the door and headed to the Church.

As usual…the meetings were just OK.  I was kind of in my own world.  I was pondering a lot and praying in my heart for something, ANYTHING that I could share that day.  Some way to do some good that I felt so strongly wasn’t happening.  I wanted to get out of there and go into the mountains.  I had to force myself to stay put.

I watched my family come into the chapel and I longed to sit with them.  But I had to stay in the front.  I don’t really recall any announcements or other things I said.  I was like a robot going through the motions.  Then it was time.

I stood to speak, and felt moved to address commitment and doing our duty.  I spoke on overcoming fear and doubt and walking righteously.  It felt good to share my testimony and I felt the spirit.  I sat down and felt at peace. 

Later that day, things really turned around as I spent time with my family and we discovered blessing after blessing in our lives.  Even today, I’m still getting some answers to questions that I had been pondering and fasting about. 

I don’t tell this story to ‘over-share’ or make myself look holy or better than anyone.  I simply tell it to make this point:  Just like I have to exercise my stiff knee and work it when it would be easier to just rest it…so too do I have to work over my spirit sometimes.  I have to make myself get out of bed in the morning to exercise when I’d rather sleep.  I also have to drag my reluctant spirit along sometimes to do things that I’d rather not be doing, and to serve. One exercise that is good for both my knee and my soul is to kneel…to stretch my knee…and while I’m there I pray.

it takes work.  Nothing of worth in this life comes the easy way, it requires work.  We all have to make a dedicated effort to get it.  Whatever it is that we seek…but especially in spiritual realms.  If we are to be spiritual warriors, we have to be relentless and dedicated to doing the difficult things.

So get out there and CRUSH IT!