Today, I tried out the cycle class at the gym with my mom. The gym we go to offers the cycle class at least once every two hours, so I figured it was important enough to give it a try. It seemed like I was the only newbie, as everyone knew how to work the bike (read: get on the bike) besides me!
Once the music started and they turned the lights off, we started to pedal. The bikes lit up different colors based on how fast we were going and how much resistance we were using. Throughout the class, the instructor helped us to build endurance. It wasn’t necessarily about pedaling the fastest or using more resistance. Rather, it was about doing our best, keeping our eyes focused on our own progress, and pushing through to the end. Endurance in cycle class means not getting off the bike.
It was difficult not to accept defeat and go sit in a freezer somewhere. I knew it would be a 45-minute class, so my stomach churned each time I looked at the clock at only saw two minutes pass. With each panting breath, with each wave of nausea, with each bead of sweat protruding out of my pores, I wanted to stop. However, I knew it was my first time, so discomfort would be part of the process. Instead of killing it in the red zone like my neighbors, I coasted comfortably in the yellow zone, knowing one day I could make it to the red if I don’t give up.
The Greek word for endures is similar to this concept in 1 Corinthians 13:7. It means to remain under the load, to bear up. The Biblical definition of endurance is fighting through the pain until it’s finished. For those of us that work out, we know that fighting through the pain only makes us stronger.
The endurance I maintained on the stationary bike today was a reminder of the personal endurance I’m trying to maintain on a daily basis. I’m trying to eat healthier and grow my muscles. I’ve made a practice of writing down what I eat and what exercises I do each day to track my progress. But the endurance doesn’t come when it’s easy; no, endurance comes when the cravings kick in, when I don’t feel like going to the gym, when I’m too tired, when I’m out with my friends and they all want to get ice cream. With pain comes endurance. Endurance is built in the hard times.
My husband and I both have personal goals. In addition to getting into shape, I am working on my novel and starting up a writing and editing career. My husband has been working extra hours and driving an hour and a half commute each morning! Life is not a walk in the park right now; it’s work! But we trust that these personal struggles are making us stronger.
We also have goals as a married couple. We’re saving money for a house, working on our communication, and growing closer as a couple. It’s a strain to hold off on things we want because we want to stick to our budget. It’s not easy to go against our habits that we formed as singles to make our marriage work. However, the pain that we endure from these experiences only make us stronger.
In the Bible, we are called to bear one another’s burdens. Life is hard, but it is easier together. Work together with your spouse to help you accomplish your goals. Ultimately, God is the one who will give you strength to endure all of the hardships that we will face in this life.