{By Samantha Roose}


I can endure.  I can endure too well; so well that it is to my own detriment.

I feel a sense of accomplishment and victory when I survive and finish something seemingly impossible.  Although the Lord forewarned us that there would be trails in this life which we must be prepared to endure, he never intended for me to find my identity in endurance.  He said, “I have come that you may have life—life to the full (Jn 10:10 NIV).”

In my zeal for enduring trials of many kinds and preparing myself for others to come I made enduring my identity instead of Him.  Enduring became my life.  My life was not full.  I ached with emptiness.  In my effort to fill my emptiness I heightened the requirement of my endurance from myself.  I was no longer living.  I was enduring.  There is a difference.

So how do you balance enduring and living?  To be honest, I’m still learning, but here is what I have learned so far:

Rest – Give yourself at least one day of rest a week.  There is a reason that the Lord instructed His chosen people to observe the Sabbath.  Although religious reasons are quite obvious here God’s purposes are far reaching even to our physical bodies.

Mix it Up – Your body, like anything, can get run down or lopsided if worked in one area too much and too hard.  Alternate your workouts between cardio, and strength training.  Rotate the muscle groups your workouts focus on.  Not only do you keep your body from being worn down by mixing it up, but you protect your body from overly strong muscle groups which can then pull and distort alignment in other areas of your body causing significant discomfort.

Eat Smart – A) Don’t eat when you’re stressed.  When I’m stressed the adrenaline rush makes me hungry.  Eating when you are stressed is the absolute worst time to eat—you’d be far better off skipping the meal.  B) Eat for your workout.  It’s always a good idea to eat protein before a after a workout.  Not only does protein sustain strength, but it also supplies your muscles with material to build with.  C) Choose your treats.  Instead of indulging randomly, give yourself a weekly number and stick to it.

Listen to your body – for the longest time “listening” to my body made absolutely NO sense!  This is what it has come to mean to me today.  If I’m low on sleep, feeling short of breath, or having any irregular signs of exhaustion or fatigue I will choose to skip my workout for the day or go easy; drop my mileage, switch from an interval workout to something less intense.  However, when I’m feeling well I like nothing better than going full out!

Endurance is still important but endurance is only applauded in the kingdom of God when it is mixed with a life full of the Lord Jesus Christ.  So, I challenge you to LIVE.  Enduring has its place, but it is NOT a lifestyle.  Instead of finding your identity in endurance your find your identity in Jesus Christ and enjoy the fullness of life and strength He has given you!