Do you want to grow?

“When we go to the gym, we know that soreness & pain are part of growing. The troubles of life are part of our spiritual growth, if we are willing to get better & not bitter.”

As someone who is no longer in his 20s, I’m painfully aware that by body is not in the best of shape.  I wasn’t an athlete in high school, but I was thin, and in decent shape.  I used to be able to eat insane amounts of food and not gain weight, but now I struggle to pass the Twinkie boxes as they call out, “Just one bite, no one will ever know.”

So now, I’ve come to realize that no one is going to lose weight or get fit for me; if I want to be healthy, that’s my responsibility.  I have only myself to thank if I succeed, and only myself to blame if I fail.  Begrudgingly, I walk to the gym, even though I know from experience that I will feel better after the workout than when I started.

Taking care of our bodies is important, because we we’re only issued one, and replacement parts are hard to come by.  Now I’m not blind to the fact that one day this body will ultimately shut down; I just want to be able to be enjoy the beauty of life with as few obstacles as possible.

Too often, in the pursuit of excitement & pleasure, we punish our bodies with activities and substances that leave latent scars.  They are not noticeable at first, but the accumulation of damage will eventually reach its tipping point, and surface as a health crisis.  Think diabetes, cancer, heart attack, stroke, infections, you name it.  So what do we do, continue to sing “Turn down for what?” as we claw years off of our lives, or make a choice to live differently?

Taking care of your body is a good thing.  Of equal, if not greater importance, is our souls.  That non-material part of us that is made up of our mind, will and emotions.  The part of us that interacts with others, that dreams, that wakes up our sleepy bodies, and that reflects on the day’s events.  The part of us what will continue when our body breathes it’s last, and goes cold.

It’s easy to obsess over the physical side of us, and forget the spiritual side.  We may indulge in activity that exhilarating, but not consider what will happen when high fades.  Are we left with emotional scar, because the relationship we thought was growing is now discarded?  Are we in unhealthly relationships, where manipulation & abuse are the norm and shred our dignity?  Are we putting up with behavior that we find repulsive, annoying, or offensive, all in the name of “tolerance & getting along?”

As we take care of our bodies, we need to care for our souls.  This is precious cargo, and avoiding destructive scars is more productive than the long process of healing.  But just like our bodies stay strong through good eating and being active, our souls also need healthy interactions to grow and get stronger.

Relationships are the gym of our souls, and there are numerous opportunities to engage our souls in meaningful exercise.  Some relationships are like a great workout, and leave us charged up and exhilarated.  Think of a time when you had a barbeque with your friends, or a pool day, or a camping trip.  You had a great time, made some good memories, and there were (hopefully) no regrets in the morning.

Some relationships are like cigarettes, which promise much and take more than they give over time. Think of blind dates gone wrong, or that person you met who texts you incessantly.

Some relationships are like meth; debilitating, addictive, and leaving you with a host of consequences you never bargained for.  This is the dream, whose abuse and erratic behavior is turning your life into a nightmare.

Growth comes from conquering difficulties, and avoiding dangers.

Do you want to grow?  What are you doing to grow?

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