I actually was hoping it was a fluke.
Turns out it wasn't.
For the past couple of months, I've been incorporating into my exercise routine a series of squats and push ups. Begin with one squat, then do 10 push ups. Continue adding squats and reducing push ups until you do 10 squats and 1 push up. It's not as easy as it sounds if you aren't in shape for it.
And I wasn't.
Monday, when I did the routine, I completed the entire cycle without having to resort to "girl" style push ups. It was the first time I had accomplished that feat. I figured it was because I had taken four days off from doing the routine and my muscles were fresh. It wouldn't happen the next time. But, low and behold, this morning, I completed the routine again. I finished with both a sense of accomplishment and a sense of dread.
The accomplishment, of course, comes from completing the task and knowing I have gotten stronger. The dread comes in that I know if I am to continue to progress, I've got to take it up another notch. It probably means adding one more set and beginning with one squat and 11 push ups. That's taking the routine to a total of 66 squats and push ups in rapid succession. While that may not seem like a big deal, I personally know it means more pain and a reverting to some "girl" style push ups.
Of course, I could get comfortable. I could stay right where I am at and enjoy the fact I can actually complete the routine.
But, I am not where I want to be just yet. I haven't gotten rid of all the belly fat I want to get rid of. I haven't progressed to the point where I believe I'd make a Captain America costume look good (next Halloween). My arms aren't as defined as I want them to be. In order to reach that place, I've got to take it to another level--even if it causes pain and extra-exertion on my part.
Makes me wonder how often many folks get content with where they are in life. Accomplishing something, we tend to sit back and relax instead of look for other challenges. But aren't there other areas to pursue? Aren't there other places we can take it up a notch?
Thinking of my role as a pastor, I've seen congregations become comfortable. They might have grown or completed a building program or paid off a debt or led a marvelous ministry, and when it is all said and done, they sit back and are content to stop right there. But, if Christ has asked them (and us) to make disciples of all nations, and we know we haven't quite finished that job, isn't it time we kick it up a notch in our own Christian walks and in our congregational lives?