As I sit here and look for blogs about Lent for FaithVillage and the upcoming Easter celebration, I'm reminded of the most grandiose sacrifice of all time. I've never been one to engage in traditional Lenten practices, and whether that was out of inconvenience or lack of knowledge, I'm considering why I should be motivated to embrace suffering.
It's easy to welcome spring with colorful egg hunts and family get-together's, but I often find myself missing the meaning behind Easter Sunday. In one day, we try to celebrate it all:
Jesus' death and resurrection, the Easter bunny and the pretty spring days to come.
Today, I'm trying to anticipate that day, so that it doesn't pass by too quickly. So that I don't wake up the next morning ready for summer and bikinis and sun tans, but that I can meditate on the very real suffering Jesus went through for my sake.
While I'm a little late in the game to take up Lent and make my own "sacrifice," I feel like I'm beginning to better understand, maybe even enter a new level of understanding, of just how much God loves me. How much God loves you. Yes, Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday is a miracle, and a promise, but it's the few days before his death that are really getting to me ... His suffering.
In no way do I want to minimize Jesus' suffering, and maybe this is just God's way of molding his promise into a picture I can easily grasp, but the message behind Easter can be compared to how we are motivated to lead a healthy and whole lifestyle.
I don't kick my own butt in the gym everyday just so I can have sore muscles ... or even just to look good (like I've said before). I put myself through hours of training and conditioning because it makes me well in my soul.
The discipline of establishing a healthy lifestyle is as much spiritual as it is physical.
In honor of Easter and Jesus' suffering, I ask you to search your heart and discover why you do or do not go to the gym, eat right or live well. Why are you motivated?
If you can't come up with anything other than these common answers:
- Summer is right around the corner, and I want to look good in my swimsuit.
- My girlfriend makes me go with her.
- I'm scared I'm going to get fat.
- People on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter keep posting their workouts, and I want to be like them.
- The girls on Pinterest's health and fitness pins are freaking hot!
Then dig a little deeper.
These reasons are not bad reasons for wanting to get healthy, but to sustain that kind of lifestyle, I promise you, there has to be more.
I suffer because it's honorable. Because Jesus suffered for me, and I value the body he so graciously allows me to wake up with every day. Because suffering humbles me. It speaks to my soul. It's during some of my toughest workouts or longest runs that I'm moved beyond words and have to stop to cry.
Suffering is like peeling back the layers of of my flesh that reflect my worldly desires and sin.
As we get nearer to Easter, I encourage you to reflect on your own view of suffering and how it relates to your goals for living a healthy life.
What do you think?