Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jillian Michaels and Seminary

In Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD,
in the middle of infuriating squats and strength exercises,
she says this profound statement:

Stress brings change.

I literally stopped in the middle of the workout.
I was dumbfounded.
(And perhaps my thighs were screaming for a short respite).
Still, I was immediately struck.

Stress brings change.

It's true for our physical bodies.
It's true for our emotional selves too.
And for our mental growth.
And for our spiritual journeys.

Stress brings change.

It's not guaranteed change for the better.
But the fact is, when stress shows up on the scene, 
stress will not leave us the same.

I've begun work on an online master's degree.
Seminary work to be exact.
And classes started this week.

In five days, I...

read 94 pages in 4 different books
wrote 7 forum posts (substantive responses only, please)
listened to 1 lecture
took 1 quiz
sent 2 (slightly panicky) e-mails to professors

I can't tell you how many times I wanted a paper sack.
Hyperventilate is not just a word for Martha Speaks.
Stress, he's been a constant companion of mine.
(If stress were personified I don't really know what gender it'd be, 
but after this week, I'm not in the mood to say stress is female.)

Yet in all this, I remember Jillian Michaels, and her words.

Stress brings change.

After all this work, I will be changed.
I pray it is for the better.
I pray this stress of further study is not wasted, 
brings improvement, 
draws me closer to God, 
deepens my understanding of faith, 
connects me with others who enrich my journey.

Stress brings change.

So, I'll load up on paper sacks.
and I will welcome stress,
especially if he brings desired change.

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