My legs are really sore today. I’ve been running with my new shoes for a little over a week now, and while they’re great shoes, my legs hurt. Calves, quads, hammies; if it’s a leg muscle, it’s sore.
And I love it.
Not because it means I have been beating my natural lethargy and actually getting outside (though that is a delight as well). I love the soreness because I can feel it, and it means that I have done something to be celebrated – I challenged myself physically in order to try to better myself.
When I was a teen, I blew out both of my knees, which led to countless hours of physio and three reconstructive surgeries (on both legs). I’ll always have some restrictions; bone grafts prevent kneeling, I have reduced range of motion, etc.
But rather than grumble about what I’ve lost, these ‘restrictions’ remind me every day of just how lucky I am to be able to do what I can. They remind me not to take for granted something as simple as the ability to walk. It’s a different perspective. It’s a way of looking at the world through a different lens, and choosing to focus on the blessings.
My faith offers me a similar lens, a similar perspective. It gives me a perspective on the world to see it as a joy-filled creation, as a spirit-embraced reality. I choose to carry the joy of the Lord with me, knowing that it is a choice – I am deliberately interacting with the world from a perspective of Christian gratitude.
Living out our faith is not always easy, especially when things are not going well. Living out our faith when we are surrounded by other Christians and God’s calling for us is clear can be difficult enough; trying to remain faithful when we feel alone and unsupported and confused in our ministry can be overwhelming. But we know that the reward is great when we journey with God, when we choose to view the world from, and respond through, the Christian perspective.
We all have decisions to make every day, from what piece of work will get done first to how we will treat the people around us; when we choose to do these things from a faith perspective we demonstrate to the world who and whose we are. When we consider our ministry, we can consider it a form of exercise – we know that to improve our physical selves we need to exercise out muscles; so too to improve our faith. We need to exercise our spirituality when things are going well to make sure that we’re prepared when we need to rely on it; we need to exercise our spirituality when things are not going well to keep our perspective as beloved in place. Sometimes it will be easy, sometimes it will leave us sore. But when we choose to keep our focus on God’s abundant blessings in our life (rather than on our human-centred perceptions of scarcity) we can truly realise just how lucky we are. And the world will see through our actions the benefits of keeping a Christ-focused perspective.