First Love FITNESS, Week Four – “Just Rest!”

Posted on Oct 10, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 69 comments

IMG_1951A benefit of writing your own study is that you get to decide what to say and when to say it. Even though I’ve led “First Love FITNESS” before, I continually ask God what He would have me teach for the upcoming lesson. I trust He hears me and will answer according to HIS plan.

At the start of this week–which was really just a blurry continuation from the end of last week–I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and discouraged. Probably what Jesus calls “weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28). There were so many things I felt I “had” to do, that I didn’t think I even had time to write to my prayer team, asking for prayers to help me do them.

Does life get crazy-busy for you sometimes, too? Even when we’re filling up with good things (as we discussed in Week Three), it can feel we’re going, going, going. Jesus understands: “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’ (Mark 6:31).

In the midst of my own personal chaos, God had just given me the topic for Week Four. I’m a major proponent of Nike’s slogan, “Just do it!” but I also desperately need to remember my First Love desires I “Just Rest!”

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:1-3).

If God needs rest, I think it’s safe to say we do, too. He MADE us to need rest–spiritually and physically.

Yesterday I recounted to my class a time at a nail salon when I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation next to me. A woman was essentially bragging about doing 100 sit-ups every day. She was clearly very proud of herself, placing her daily feat on a pedestal for others to esteem.

I sat there quietly, thinking how sad for her “abs.” Her abdominal muscles were never getting a day off. She had no idea that muscles don’t develop during a workout; it’s AFTER the workout that muscle fibers repair themselves and grow leaner and stronger. Our “abs,” like any muscle group, need time to recover and rebuild. They need a day of rest. Doing 100 sit-ups every day was only impeding this woman’s progress towards a tighter tummy!

In the same way, rest is vital for us spiritually. This week’s Memory Verse is Isaiah 30:15… “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” Perhaps you’ve seen this verse quoted without the last seven words, as I have, but I’m including them because I think they are key. I don’t want “none of it.” I want all of it! Salvation that comes from repentance and rest, strength that comes from quietness and trust. Being still before my God, resting in His Word. That’s spiritual fitness!

I gave my ladies 15 First Love FITNESS “Just Rest!” scripture references, and we spent the next 25 minutes in our own quiet time with God. I encourage you, too, to take time TODAY to be alone with your Creator. Remember, these verses are part of His “Living Word”–they contain “life” for us! Psalm 46:10, Psalm 37:7, Zechariah 2:13, Exodus 31:12-17, Leviticus 25:1-7, Psalm 62:5-6, Jeremiah 6:16, Matthew 11:28-30, Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Isaiah 56:6-7, Isaiah 58:13-14, Jeremiah 17:21-27, and Hebrews 4:9-11. (If you glean anything particularly meaningful, I’d love for you to let me know by commenting below!)

Since I’d already been speaking of abs, I focused our workout around our abdominal muscles. With some light cardio thrown in, we did the following exercises three times: 1.) sit-ups on a fitness ball (with the option of holding a 10-lb. plate behind our head or an 8-lb. dumbbell in front of our chest), 2.) scissor kicks (also called “bicycle,” rotating your torso from side to side while pumping your legs back and forth), and 3.) pulse-ups (lying with your hands underneath your tailbone, your legs raised and pointing straight up, and lifting your hips several inches off the ground then lowering in a pulsing motion).

Finally, our “Good News” reading schedule for the week is as follows: Friday – Mark 7 & 8; Saturday – Mark 9; Sunday – Mark 10; Monday – Mark 11; Tuesday – Mark 12; Wednesday – Mark 13; and Thursday – Mark 14. After this week we’ll be halfway through the gospels! I hope you’re enjoying reading about Jesus and getting to know Him better… I know I am. He spoke with such authority and had such amazing compassion. He still does. What an indescribable gift that we get to know Him.

I pray you find rest in Him this week!

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