This month, I made a small change to my routine. I changed gyms. Seemingly insignificant, right? I started to get into a rhythm of group classes and a regular workout routine. I was beginning to look forward to my new group fitness class. It was fun and I knew what I was doing. I enjoyed the people I met and the friendships that were forming. I felt comfortable.
The first week of June, I walked in to realize that the schedule changed. Yikes! My class was no longer offered at the same time. My comfort zone was gone, but not wanting to miss out on a fitness class, I was left with spin. I hadn’t tried it before. I wasn’t sure what to do, but how bad could it be? It’s like riding a bike, right? Slightly terrified and a bit nervous, I got on the bike anyway and started peddling. I didn’t know the lingo or how to adjust the bike, which weren’t like the ones at my last gym. I felt like a fish out of water and had no idea what I was doing.
If you’ve not taken a spin class, it is rough! If you have, you know it can be hard at first and you’ve probably experienced the pain in your bottom after an hour on the slender seat. That’s no small feat! But, through the sweat, pain, and confusion, the instructor said something that really hit home…
“You’re going up a hill…not only on this bike, but in your life, too. Envision those hills. You can see them, they’re hard. Some take longer to get up than others, but you will keep on peddling. Even when you don’t think you can, I know you can. The only thing holding you back is a mental barrier. So, envision that hill, push strong, work through it, and don’t give up. We don’t give up, we don’t give in. We keep going till we’ve reached the top and can throw our hands in the air in victory as we look around at the valleys below us.”
As I peddled faster to get up the hill, I thought about the valleys in my life this past year – some expected and some not so much. What she was saying was so true. We will face valleys — whether it be a bout of depression, the loss of a loved one, illness, or any difficulty in your life. But, we have to push through them with an unwavering faith.
In 1 Peter 1:7, we learn that it is in the valleys that our faith is tested and we are made stronger.
“I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”1 Pet. 1:7, The Message
We may not ever fully understand the valley or why we had to go through it, but in His grace, we get a glimpse of how far He has brought us. Perhaps, one day we just might look back and thank God for the journey. Not that we’d ever want to go through it again or wish it on anyone else, but we’ll look back and realize we’re in a better place because we went through it.
If it weren’t for the unfortunate change in schedules, I would have never heard those words and I would have missed the blessing that came from them. Trust me, I’d rather coast downhill because that’s easy, but coasting doesn’t make me stronger. The journey out of the valley does.