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Good Rest



Spiritual Training Cycle: Examination (wk. 9/13)

 

As the head coach at our facility, my responsibility is to enrich the client experience on the gym floor and execute the programming that supports our athletes' strength and fitness development. Frequently, I encounter athletes who are hesitant to take any days off, and while their dedication is admirable, I often emphasize the importance of rest. While it's commonly advised to take a few days off each week for body repair and recovery, I also believe it’s not just important that you rest but how you rest

 

On any given week we are doing at least two strength days where we will perform lifts like squats, deadlifts, presses, and Olympic lifts at a minimum of 70% of our maximal effort. On top of that we are doing conditioning workouts that can range from running, jumping, pulling, and throwing that can work the entire body. And then we have one day where we do a “Recovery Workout.”

 

Many members might view recovery days as a chance to relax or even skip altogether, thinking they're not as challenging. However, recovery workouts are just as important as any other session. They're not about avoiding activity but rather redirecting our activity.

 

Instead of high-intensity workouts, we focus on skill development, mobility exercises, or interval training at a controlled pace. These days are essential as they provide a break from the intensity of chasing leaderboards or personal records. By dedicating time to these recovery days, we enhance our performance on regular training days, ultimately improving overall fitness. 

 

We've embraced the notion that doing nothing on recovery days is the epitome of 'self-care.' However, the rampant use of this phrase has become a means of escapism, numbing out, or shirking responsibilities. Instead of addressing important tasks like revising our monthly budget after indulgent vacations, we opt for expensive meals out instead of cooking at home. Rather than clearing our minds with activities like reading or journaling after a stressful workday, we mindlessly scroll through our phones for hours. And instead of tending to our bodies with necessary stretches on recovery days, we skip workouts and end up feeling even more sore the next day. True self-care involves proactive actions that nourish our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, not just temporary escapes from reality.

 

The concept of spiritual recovery mirrors physical recovery, requiring effort in the present for long-term benefits. It's a practice, a discipline, an active pursuit, a space to allow Jesus to nurture our soul. Like self-care, spiritual recovery involves taking tangible steps rather than passively waiting for improvement. The reality is that short-term challenges are just that—temporary. By cultivating a habit of preemptively addressing our needs before our bodies or minds reach their breaking point, we set ourselves up for greater success down the road.

 

Just as God nourished Elijah back to health while he hid in the cave from Jezebel's threats (1 Kings 19:1-8), we're reminded that our physical well-being is intertwined with our spiritual health. Elijah's story illustrates the importance of tending to our bodies during times of stress or hardship. Spiritual recovery isn't just about abstract notions; it involves tangible actions, much like the sustenance God provided for Elijah. By prioritizing our physical health, we honor the temple of the Holy Spirit within us and position ourselves to better serve God's purpose for our lives. Our self-care becomes a demonstration of our gratitude for God’s grace to rescue us.

 

God's concern for our physical well-being is as profound as His care for our spiritual life. The greatest commandment calls us to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. Neglecting self-care undermines our ability to fulfill this command effectively, leaving us in a state of self-denial. God desires our wholeness, and through His Spirit, He guides us towards spiritual recovery that encompasses the restoration of both body and soul.

 

Questions for Reflection:

What would a spiritual recovery day look like for you?

 

When do you know you’ve reached a spiritual breaking point?

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