How to Handle Soreness

Six weeks ago I started working out again.

Four times a week I work-out and the results are starting to show. My clothes fit better. My muscles are starting to define themselves.

Yet I still remain sore. My muscles and joints groan as I work-out and after I work-out.

After six weeks I have started to welcome the soreness. I love knowing that the ache in my abs means that my tummy is getting flatter or that the tired soreness in my legs means I am getting stronger. My calves have never looked so good.

I welcome the soreness because I realize it has purpose and it shows growth.

I wonder if the same is true with soul soreness? Could I begin to welcome it as a sign that I am growing stronger in Christ? Which is to say I am becoming less and He is becoming more.

As I empty of myself and fill with Him, soul soreness comes. The pain of opening hands long clenched to my way. Sore muscles from laying down my pride, and my sin over and over at the foot of the cross. Eyes straining to find joy through gratitude. Tired feet taking the next fearful step of faith. Fatigued arms from wrestling with God, clinging to Him through the difficult times.

Is it possible that this soul soreness isn’t because God is letting us down, but because He is growing us? The uncomfortable and unfamiliar soul soreness comes as we grow to reflect Christ more and more accurately.

May we mark our growth closer to God then as we experience soul soreness. May we not wonder where God is as our souls ache, but instead may we remember that we are growing closer to Him. We just have to persevere.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Have you noticed soul-soreness as you draw closer to God? How do you handle it?