My daughter has recently moved up to gymnastics team, so I spend a great deal of time watching girls flip themselves precariously through the air and somehow land without incident most of the time. Without any history of gymnastics in my own life, I have learned more since we started than I probably ever needed to know.
One of the most fascinating (and also tedious) aspects of the last year was how much time the coaches spend on strength training. I have watched so many different workout sessions that my head could explode. It felt like I waited for months to see my daughter do anything that even remotely looked like gymnastics. With 12 hours a week in the gym, I was amazed in the beginning at how little was outside of the realm of muscle-building.
But now I get it. I’ve watched Kennedy’s body begin to move differently. Her legs, arms, and abs all function together because they have been trained to. Where she used to struggle with a back bend, she can now easily fold in half, flip, and turn upright again. And it wasn’t just because she learned the skill, it’s because she earned the skill. Her body didn’t need to be told to do it; it needed to be prepared to do it.
I think faith is the same way. If you stretch your faith muscles and work them out in what seems like the smaller things, then the larger challenges in life come easier. We didn’t plant a church in our first step of faith…that would have been insurmountable. We had stepped out in multiple avenues for many years to build our strength and trust in God. When it came time to launch an entire church, we used the reserves of God’s proven reliability from years of experiences. In seasons of dark doubt, we looked back on those moments to keep us on the right path.
Just like muscles, faith can be gained or lost in any series of habits. There is never down time to your faith. The best thing you can do is constantly be finding ways to push yourself in areas of trust in God.
Here’s a couple of thoughts on how to stretch your faith muscles:
1. Speak what is Biblically true instead of what your flesh feels. Trust God through your own voice! When you are tempted to speak negatively, allow God’s Word to be your only outlet expressing your faith. You will find yourself challenged in your thinking all the time!
2. Spend time every day in the Bible and prayer. As you read something or feel like God is telling you something, act on it. For example, if you read the story about the Good Samaritan, find a way to bless a neighbor that day. Give your faith time and effort to apply.
3. Tell people about your relationship with Jesus. There is nothing that will grow your faith more than making Jesus a part of your conversation.
The good news for my daughter’s gymnastics career is that she will continuously get stronger. The better news is that there will always be a new and greater challenge in front of her. That may sound like a bad thing on certain days, but it’s not. It’s thrilling! It’s exhilarating! It’s what keeps us motivated in life.
So, go head, be brave and ask God to grow your faith today…but get ready…it will be the ride of your life!