Spiritual Training Cycle: Surrender (wk. 10/13)
Every journey in pursuit of fitness has seasons. I know this is true, not only from personal experience, but even from the way we refer to athletes. The ones who have been around for a while aren’t just known as veterans, but seasoned veterans. It’s these seasons which signal the foundation for development. In a given month, you might have a season of discovery, where you learn new skills. In a given quarter, you’ll more than likely have a season of difficulty, finding your conditioning or strength to be insufficient for the task at hand. But when you look at your journey as a whole, you’ll see it’s really all about development. Opportunities present themselves every day for you to develop. And the fruits of your labor can best be seen during growing season.
Let’s think like a farmer for a minute. Farmers work in seasons too. There’s the season of preparation, tilling the soil and conditioning it for the upcoming work. There’s the season of planting, where seed is spread across the field finding its way into the ground and taking root. Then there’s the season of providing, where the farmer makes sure the crops are getting everything essential for their growth. And finally, there’s the season of production, the harvest if you will. This is the time when all the hard work and effort is most visible. Then after the harvest, the cycle begins all over again.
And while the harvest may yield better or worse results than expected, the farmer is never surprised about what it is they are growing. In other words, they don’t plant corn and expect cotton. What they plant is what they will produce. I come from a family of farmers, and never once did I hear either of my grandfathers talk of planting one kind of seed expecting a completely different crop. Growing season was an affirmation of their work.
Now let’s think about this in terms of forgiveness. Forgiveness is choosing how to live with the painful consequences of another’s action. Every time someone causes you pain, you have a choice in how you respond. Each of these responses is like planting seeds in your heart, and those seeds will take root and eventually produce a harvest. When we forgive, we cultivate a feeling of peace in our heart which results in a harvest of love. We forgive not because they deserve it, we forgive because God forgave us. But the opposite of forgiveness also produces an effect. When we choose not to forgive, we cultivate a feeling of bitterness in our heart which results in a harvest of anger or hostility. And like the farmer, we too should not be surprised by the harvest. So, if you don’t like what you’re growing, change what you’re planting.
The quality of your decisions determines the quality of your life.
This is applicable in every facet of our life. I tell athletes that the quality of their work determines the quality of their fitness. If they don’t like their fitness, they need to look at their work. My coaching cue was born out of this timeless truth – The quality of your decisions determines the quality of your life. If you don’t like the quality of your life, you need to look at the decisions you’re making. Don’t take that from a negative perspective, instead realize this is the journey to real fitness, both physical and spiritual. The quality of your decisions should continue to improve over the course of your life as God’s Spirit reveals new areas of opportunity along the way. Your biggest limitation is simply your willingness to embrace these changes and make them. Including learning to forgive. Don’t be surprised by who you are. Be inspired by who you can become and see the fruit of your work during the next growing season.
Questions for Reflection:
Does forgiveness ever feel unfair to you? If so, how do you deal with those feelings?
If unforgiveness leads to bitterness and hostility, why do we choose to do it?