I joined a Gym for the first time this February - I’d always believed I wasn’t good enough to attend one before! But this year God has been speaking to me about my goals and focus; about my thought processes and my ‘mind’. He’s been reminding me of Paul’s words in Philippians:
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Paul uses the analogy of an athlete in the above passage, describing one who is disciplined and focused on reaching the goal. Yet at the same time he is honest enough to add that he himself, has not yet achieved this.
My son was the catalyst for this decision to join the gym, as gym exercise is required for his Duke of Edinburgh Training. The day we registered, I was so nervous. I found myself apologising to the trainer for my age and lack of fitness – but the team were reassuring and during my consultancy session asked me what my focus and fitness goals were. I shared that my goals were to lose weight, to tone up and become disciplined with exercise; making it a lifestyle.
During the first week of working out, the past came back to bite me; whilst exercising on the treadmill I felt a tightness in my calf muscle, reminiscent of the pain I’d had 3 years ago when I tore the same muscle running. My mind was filled with the memory of that past pain and the crutches I’d required; the Physio I had needed for weeks and the disappointment I had felt believing I would never run again. I lost my focus during that season.
This time however, I took myself off to A & E to avoid a repeat of this scenario. A strained calf muscle was diagnosed. The Dr added “You cannot run”, and I took that to mean forever. I returned to Physio, only this time my mind was set that there would be a solution. I had a goal in mind and I was singularly determined to reach it with a positive attitude. (Definitely the grace of God at work in me!)
I kept up with the recommended exercises, winced at the sometimes painful massages my calf needed and listened to the advice the Physiotherapist gave me regarding what gym equipment I could use. I had my eyes set on the prize – fitness and weight loss. This was a temporary roadblock but not an insurmountable obstacle. Keeping my focus in sight and having the right frame of mind were key to my progress.
It was at this time I heard God say to me “It’s time to forget the past, forget what lay behind and press on towards the goal!”
Sometimes we have to face and go through things that took us out in the past before we are able to re-focus and press on towards the goal. I felt that Father wanted me to revisit that season three years prior; that it was now time to deal with the disappointments I had long since buried.
Our God is in the business of restoration and re-focus!
Forgetting what lies behind…..
The Bible Verse in Philippians tells us to focus on one thing – which is to look forward to what lies ahead and to press on to reach it. I’ll say that again – to focus.
This signifies that it takes effort to reach the goal; that discipline of mind and body is required to endure and to keep running the race. Without that we will be subject to every storm and setback that comes our way.
My calf muscle has since improved so much, mainly due to my discipline in doing the exercises I have been assigned. It has been a step by step process and patience has been required, but the aim remains - the goal!
I’ve nursed a 3 year dream to run again, but have held a belief I never will. At my most recent appointment the physiotherapist discussed my desire to run and said that yes with continued discipline, focus and exercise I will in time be running again!
Restoration takes time, it is a process and it can be confronting. It’s about walking through and facing things; it’s forgetting what lies behind! It’s about putting in the work, having your eye on the goal and straining towards what is ahead.
The prize is the high calling of God! Let us seek and pursue God above all things. He truly has wonderful plans for us, plans to give us a hope and a future. He desires to heal and restore us and to free us from the past, so that we can embrace with joy what he has set before us!
Where is God asking you to refocus your focus in this season?
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
If you want to get blog posts direct to your inbox pop here.