Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. – Psalm 55:22
Over the past several years, I have had the pleasure of working with Randy Woody as a personal trainer. Over that time, Randy has helped me to see myself in an entirely new light. The way I view food and exercise has changed dramatically and thanks to his work, diligence, and inability to listen to any excuse – good or bad, I have grown thinner, stronger and healthier. But there is one more thing that he has introduced to me over that same period of time that I would like to share with you. It’s a little something I like to call…
If it is true when they say, “No Pain, No Gain,” I can say that I have gained a LOT! Now, I am not looking for sympathy or a shoulder for my tears, but when you prepare to do an exercise and you hear your trainer suggest you wear a hat to church tomorrow because you won’t be able to lift your arms to comb your hair, you know you’re in for it! Sounds crazy, but that’s not the half of it. What is most ridiculous about this is that I just recently went out and spent Christmas money on a new set of dumbbells so I can bring the pain home for those days when I’m not working at Randy’s gym!
The strange thing (or one of the many strange things) about this is my seven year old daughter’s reaction to this new purchase. You see, Emma is a hugging kind of kid and is still little enough for her dad to pick her up to give her those really good, really big squeezy hugs – except after working out with Randy. She doesn’t like it when I tell her I can’t pick her up because I am physically unable to lift anything heavier than my sleeves. But she has a solution – tell Randy that she could be my weight. And while I continue to decline her offer, I must admit that the idea of using her for dumbbell swings would be fun (until she slips, falls or gets tossed across the room). So for a variety of reasons, I have decided to stick with regular weights; but there is one reason I’d like to share.
Look at the definition of a weight and you will find the synonym of burden, and while the words have similar meanings, their connotations are vastly different. While weight can speak to the mass or heaviness of something, a burden adds the idea of being saddled with something; carrying a load that is unwanted or uncomfortably heavy. For me, this makes all the difference in the world. When I am at the gym I bear the burdens of the weight to build muscle, to strengthen my body and to grow healthier so that I am able to serve God better and enjoy the blessings He has given to me – one of which is a daughter who loves to hang on my neck and be held in those strong arms God provided and Randy enhanced. No matter how difficult a day may be, my children need to know that they are NEVER a burden, but always a blessing – welcome to come into my open arms (although my 14 year old son can substitute the hug for a fist bump).
So why is this so important? Two reasons come to mind: #1 – Because children need to know that they are immeasurably loved and never a burden. #2 – Because that is exactly the way God the Father modeled it for us in how He treats His children. Psalm 55:22 is clear when it tells us to “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” What I can’t handle is His and what I am left with is forgiveness, grace, peace and love. Why would I offer my children anything less?
Bask in God’s grace for your life. Release the burdens you are carrying by seeking His face. Together you will do the heavy lifting and be stronger in the end – ready for big squeezy hugs!