This morning, in my perusing around the Internet I ran across this CNN video touting “Gym offers ‘no work’ workout”:
“Wow,” I thought to myself, “Where do I sign up?” The ladies in the video — who look to be around my age — tout the virtues of this new contraption. Stand on it for an hour (looking adorable in your yoga pants and with your hair nicely coiffed) and the inches melt away. You’ll sleep better too. Sign me up…
Then I looked at my calendar which reads January 28th. I’m 28 days into my Whole30 Challenge. I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost (that mystery will be solved on Wednesday), but I do know that there has definitely been “work” involved. Some of the work has been physical, but much of it has been mental — for example, surviving a four hour “business dinner” without a single drop of anything but Perrier (I know, poor me…) while everyone around you is savoring the chef’s selected vintages. Or even harder yet, contemplating the merits of every morsel you put in your mouth to determine its “compliance”. Even more “work” than the food related stuff has been the looking at my own mental status, at the reasons why I indulge when I do and the times when eating or drinking becomes an escape rather than a means of nourishing myself. The truth is, I still have lots of “work” to do…
Watching the “Goga”, I also flashed mentally to the work of personal spirituality. How tempting it is to take the “no work” approach to faith: to show up for Mass on Sunday to fulfill our obligation, to be a “good person”, and to live and let live. Hey, I’m flawed enough in my own life — what business do I have trying to help anyone else with theirs?! I all too often take the “Goga” approach to faith: stand in Church for an hour, go through the motions, and watch my sins melt away.
Um, not so much.
I’m not saying that to be a true believer, there must be “pain” involved. I’m simply pondering how much more rich and vibrant my relationship with Christ is when I actually put in a little effort: when I spend time in the scriptures, when I share my love for Him with others (and yes, that can be work!), when I do the tough job of confessing my sinful nature, and most of all when I become his hands and feet by serving those around me.
Is this work evident to others? While the vain side of my says, “I certainly hope so!“, the honest part of myself recognizes the fact that if I’m really working at this “faith thing”, perhaps my best efforts happen completely under the radar. It’s a constant mental battle in this blogging world to not say, “Hey, look how holy I am!” when you know the truth inside.
My Daddy always taught us (most successfully by example) that the key to success is to keep your head down and to work hard, and even better to smile a lot while doing it. So Daddy’s wise counsel flies in the face of my great desire to take the “Goga” approach to my physical well-being, to my personal relationships, and most of all to my faith.
And yet, the Good News reminds us that we have a true companion — a partner of infinite strength, compassion, and skill — for the work that lies ahead:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“No work”? Not for me.