Our youngest son has begun an incredible exercise regimen. He found that he was plateauing on his previous workouts, so he is now working on a new program that prevents plateaus. When the kit arrived, he was reading some of the material to me and one phrase really struck me. “Most people give up far too soon.”
As he began the daily regimen, I realized why they had warned him up front. He works out for an hour and a half every day and the workout is brutal. Yet every time he feels he has reached the point of quitting, the video encourages him, “You can do more.” He told me that he would have given up long ago if he had not been encouraged continually to keep going.
Of course my mind immediately drew the parallel to the stamina and courage it takes to stand for a marriage – and to the fact that “Most people give up far too soon.” That’s why it’s important to have folks cheering you on and telling you frequently, “You can do more!”
I saw other parallels with the exercise program as well. Not too many people are willing to push their bodies so vigorously. Not many begin an exercise program that tough and even among those who do, many drop out when it gets too hard.
When the enemy attacks a marriage, not many people realize that the problem is the enemy and not their spouse. Not many are willing to take a stand and fight for their marriage. And of those who are, not many continue on when circumstances or people convince them they should stop. That is why we all need encouragement just like our son receives from the video he watches.
The Holy Spirit is our number one coach and encourager. When we’re exhausted or discouraged, He is right there to cheer us on. When circumstances seem to overwhelm us, He reminds us that it is not by might or by power but by the Spirit that victory comes. When we are hurting, He is the great Comforter. When we need direction, He brings us divine wisdom. His is the voice we need to hear when we want to give up.
We also need the encouragement of each other. That is why we always recommend that those who are standing for their marriage become a part of a support group, such as a Covenant Keeper’s meeting. It is important to encourage one another. Not only do we get blessed but we also learn to move beyond our own needs by reaching out to others.
Every January it seems that the whole world decides to get in shape. Commercials for diet programs and exercise equipment bombard the airways. People are making New Year’s resolutions and determining that this year will be different. Yet by March it is amazing how many have abandoned all hope of ever getting in shape. Newly purchased exercise equipment sits gathering dust and diet programs have either been discarded or are on sale on eBay.
It takes courage and determination to follow through. The pain of staying the same must be greater than the pain of change in order to endure the effort needed to change.
It is the same with standing. First of all, we need to realize that change is possible. The Lord’s desire for our marriages is not to paste us back together in the same state we were in when the trauma began. His desire is to heal each of our hearts so that we are whole and healthy in Him. He wants our marriages to be filled with unity and power. Change in our hearts and in our relationships comes through Him. Our part is staying steady and faithful while He works.
So realize that you are in this for the long haul. It is going to take time. It is going to take effort. Look for those who will encourage you and and avoid those who want to help you quit. Realize that if it were easy, everyone would do it. It is not easy, but just as with physical exercise, as you exercise your faith, you will begin to see results. Think of the Holy Spirit as your personal trainer and follow His direction. And remember, most people give up far too soon! Love, Marilyn
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” Galatians 5:7,8
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1