"I have to actually do something?"

I had a baby six months ago. I’m biased, but he’s the cutest thing ever. He also did a number on my stomach muscles. Several months ago, my midwife suggested I do special exercises so that my muscles would come back together. Turns out (especially during second and third pregnancies), your abdominal muscles separate and it takes some work to get them to come back together.

She suggested some exercises at my 6 week follow up appointment. I heard her but didn’t think much of it. I mentioned at a later appointment that they still felt separated. She mentioned the same exercises…again. I was a bit exasperated inside. I already knew about the exercises. But wondered why my muscles hadn’t healed like they were supposed to.

Then about a week later, I was at the gym lifting weights. Don’t be too impressed. They were 3 lb weights. My arms are surprisingly weak.

Then it hit me.

If I wanted my muscles to heal, I had to actually do the exercises.

You roll your eyes at me now. But I seriously hadn’t realized that I’d have to actually do the exercises to see a change. I thought knowledge and awareness were enough. My body would simply figure it out and get back to normal.

It’s the same with our spiritual lives. There are attitudes, behaviors and prejudices that God invites me to focus on and some days, I think awareness of that reality is enough. But God gently waits for me to realize I have to actually put in some effort.

So I make an appointment with a counselor or spiritual director, set aside time to journal and reflect, read a couple scripture passages, process out loud with my husband or parents and then look out for the Holy Spirit’s presence in the midst of all that. And somewhere in there, God meets me in my weakness.

Friends, that is our invitation during Lent. Where does God want your full attention right now? Don’t just tell someone what you’re kind of hoping to give up or add in. Do the work. Make the sacrifice. Avoid the temptation. God will meet you.

And you might just become a brand new person by Easter morning.

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