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Spiritual Training Cycle: Submission (wk. 8/13)

Right now, there are four kettlebells and a very expensive Rogue pull-up bar outside our back door (along with a strange piece of equipment that looks like a cross between a foam roller and a stegosaurus). None of them are being used – to be honest, they haven’t gotten much use since they were purchased. We've all been there, spending hard-earned money on dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and more, only to have them gather dust in the bedroom or rust in the backyard.

The next shiny thing

The promise of a more effective workout or a quicker path to our fitness goals gets us in trouble at times. Just search for “Peloton” on Facebook marketplace to see how many of us had good intentions that never panned out. We’re all guilty of wasting money on equipment we never used quite like we thought we would.

The Quest for Simplicity – in fitness and in our spiritual lives

The real question at times is, “what are we hiding from when we gather up too much stuff?” Simplicity offers an alternative path—a chance to break free from the cycle of collecting unnecessary things. However, this principle is not primarily a fitness principle. Living a simple life – one uncluttered with performance anxieties or false expectations – is at the heart of living free in God’s love.

Whether you're a dedicated CrossFit athlete, an avid runner, or a fitness enthusiast in any discipline, finding balance and embracing a simpler way of life can have profound benefits. The story about Jesus and the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-21 is a story about simplicity. It offers insights for us regarding both our physical and our spiritual fitness journeys.

The Story of the Rich Young Ruler

In this short story, we encounter a thought-provoking account of a young man who approached Jesus seeking guidance on finding true fulfillment. Despite his wealth and possessions, he knew he was still missing something. When Jesus advises this wealthy young man to let go of his possessions, He emphasized for all of us the importance of freeing ourselves from anything that holds us back.

Letting Go of Stuff

As athletes, this challenges us to reevaluate our material possessions, our personal accomplishments – even our own self-image. True freedom and simplicity are found in releasing these attachments and embracing a mindset that extends beyond physical achievements.

Simplicity also invites us to rediscover the joy in the basics. Often, the best workouts require minimal equipment. Bodyweight exercises - push-ups, squats, pull-ups and planks - can be incredibly impactful for building strength and endurance. In the same way, cutting through the complexities that get in the way of our spiritual lives and practicing the simple acts of reading about Jesus, talking to Jesus and talking about Jesus with others on the journey can help us live simple but profound spiritual lives. Ultimately, simplicity allows us to reclaim our focus – spiritually and physically.

Questions for Reflection:

Reflect on a time when you found joy in simplicity during your fitness journey. What was it about that experience that resonated with you? How can you replicate or expand upon that simplicity in other areas of your life for greater overall well-being?

What lessons have you learned about your own tendencies and preferences? How can you incorporate these insights into a simpler and more intentional approach to your spiritual (and fitness) journey?

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