This morning I woke up at 4 am as usual with my workout goal.
I always start with a goal. It keeps me focused.
Goals…plans….I’m probably within the 2% of society that gets creepily excited by those types of words.
As I mounted the bike at the gym I was ready to push my body and start the week off at a new level.
For those of you who aren't aware, I'm in the middle of a consecration.....which has drastically restricted my food intake.....more on that later.
Now as I continued my ride, I loss perspective of the time, but I can usually tell by my body where I’m at in my hour-long ride. After some time, I began to feel the usual strain that tells me I’m approaching the end of my ride; my breathing was becoming labored, my legs were well passed the "good burn", and my clothes were drenched.
Triumphantly, I glanced at my time.....
I was only halfway through my usual time!!
How could I feel so weak now! Stopping now would mean “failure”!
I suddenly felt so frustrated with myself. I began to push a little harder...
"C'mon Julia, you got this"
But I didn't have it.....
I couldn't deny that this was not a moment of my body "wimping out" and taking it easy....I was pushing myself beyond where my body was meant to go and it was overwhelmed.
I shifted my chant from the self-motivational mantra to surrender...
"Help me God...."
Now usually in this type of story (and what I was secretly hoping) is the moment where God swoops in to infuse me with some supernatural energy that allows me to finish my ride victoriously. But, I made my request and still felt weak.....
Ok maybe He didn't hear me. Doesn't God know I have a devotional to write and I need a happy ending?
"Help me God..." I repeated. Over and over and over until that request became a plea....
And before I knew it, that plea began stream from my eyes and fall down my face...one drop at a time. I was done…
I stopped my pedals, stepped off my bike, and tearfully walked over to a nearby chair where I did the only thing I had the strength to do.....tuck my head down between my knees and pray.
As I prayed I heard a question be whispered to my spirit,
“Who told you to push so hard?”
I started to realize this wasn't just about the bike or my ride. My body. My mind. My plans. I have been pushing a lot lately. And not in the “press toward the mark” or “prayer of the righteous availeth much” sort of way. I have set so many goals and plans lately and some without asking “God, is this what YOU want?”
The result? Overwhelm.
If there is any time when you are confronted with your own human frailty and physical limitations, it’s during a fast or consecration. This is why Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Mark 4). Without the ability to consume our normal distractions and stimulants we begin to realize how weak we actually are.
And you know what? That’s exactly where we are supposed to be. In truth, I am not meant to make it without consulting God first. And when we start to realize that His strength is actually perfected in our weakness it becomes easier to surrender to the fact that any goal that takes me beyond His will is not a goal worth pursuing.
God promises us “For I know the plans I have for you…They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11). That sounds like a much better plan that mine!
So, I’m proud of my ride today. I went as far as God’s plans desired for me to go.
How do I know that? Because His plans led me away from “me” and right to you, to encourage you…Whatever “bike” you’re on -- get OFF and pray. That’s what I did. And as I write this…..I feel so much stronger.