It’s a quiet morning at home and I’m sitting in my living room listening to a wonderful summer storm. The thunder is a low constant rumble and the rain is coming in bucket-sized drops. I’m no fan of violent weather, but a benign slow soaker can soothe the stress right out of me. It reminds me of being at my great-grandpa’s house as child in the same type of skies. His house had a metal roof that would multiply the crash of angry clouds. Pop knew I was scared so he would stick out his dentures and all other manner of ridiculous things to make me laugh until the storm had passed. He was wonderfully, hysterically crazy. I never doubted that he delighted in me and I loved him better than life. He’s been gone for 15 years and I still miss him so badly I could just cry my eyes out.

Nix that. The tears have come. Good thing I haven’t gotten out the mascara yet today.

I wasn’t planning on waxing nostalgic. I actually wanted to share something profound that Jillian Michaels said in the 30 Day Shred Video. Y’all may have heard a thing or two about it around the web. I could share how sore I was the first few days but honestly, who can tell that tale better than Melanie? The girl is a comedic genius and I bow at her feet. Today, that is. On days 2 and 3 of Shred, I could barely bend my legs to use the bathroom, much less pay homage to Big Mama.

So back to Jillian. (Can we all agree she has an evil smile? It never quite travels to her eyes. It’s like she knows we expect one but can’t quite convince herself she can do it. Or wants to. Scary.) On Level One – which I’ve ventured past once only to quickly return – she made a statement I loved. In convincing us that the hard work was necessary in order to see changes she said, “You can’t phone this one in.”

That statement completely resonated with me. How many times have I practiced a phoned-in faith? Wanted to get big spiritual results with minimal effort? Believed there could be huge gain with no pain? I heard David Jeremiah on Moody yesterday say something to the effect of, “Many of the men and women of faith with whose names we are familiar have been completely crushed in order for God to use them mightily. I had always hoped I could be the exception.” Amen, my brutha. I would totally high five you if I could get past your security guards.

I’ve got this on my mind this morning because during my time with God, I asked Him to do something in me that will probably hurt. My prayer went something like, “Lord, I want you to help me change (a personal issue). But, can you please do it gently?” And in a way only He can speak, He said, “For you to be truly changed may require my shaking you up so badly that you’ll never want to go back. “

And then I might have said something like, “Okay then, I take it back.”

Okay, not really. But I wanted to. That is until I realized I was just phoning it in. Wanting to be different without any sore muscles involved. Of falsely believing I can transform into some spiritual giant while sitting on the couch eating Kettle Cooked Lay’s Potato Chips. (Oh my word, those are the best.)

So I resolved my prayer with this thought: It may hurt, but I’m better off shred. The end will justify any temporary discomfort and hopefully, prayerfully, I’ll be one buff warrior when it’s said and done. I ask that for myself, and I hope you don’t mind if I do the same for you as well.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
~2 Corinthians 4:16-17

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