Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Washing with Sweat - THE MEDICINE BALL

This is the first of a six week blog series answering the question "What does it mean for a husband to prepare his bride for Christ?" It's this woman’s journey with Ephesians 5:26. It is encouraging for men and women that are married, were married, want to be married, or would like to be married again.

To make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the WORD,
Ephesians 5:26

A park, a restaurant, a theatre, a concert seem to be likely places a husband and wife enjoy each other’s company; but, the gym is not. Problematic tension arises from the structural differences between the physical bodies of a man and woman. Aspirations of each participant tend to differ, so, why do it? For my husband and I, it began as a place with convenient childcare. When we entered the gym however, we quickly separated to go about our individual workouts.

One morning I invited my husband to join me to toss the medicine ball. As we engage, our alert awareness of non-verbal communication becomes imperative. I anticipate which direction and how intense the ball will arrive based on his unspoken body movement. He tosses the ball variably to cause me to exercise my legs, my stomach, my arms and my back muscles. An assessment occurs in his mind that enables him to choose the best speed, strength and direction. He reevaluates and readjusts his tosses to continually bring the best outcome. He chats with me to divert my thoughts from the discomfort the exercise causes me.

An imbalance occurs in our bodily aptitude. The size medicine ball I find challenging is not the same one he needs but he joins me nonetheless. Love drives the motivation to connect in an otherwise less than self gratifying activity. We come together on a deeper level. We band together in suffering for a bigger purpose. He challenges me to strengthen my body and my resolve. I willingly submit to the process knowing the result brings advancement to my body.

I invited my husband to join me in my spiritual growth. I asked him to show me what I cannot see about myself in attitude, in action, in thought and words spoken. Certainly, I prayed he would be gentle yet not enable me in my weaknesses. I prayed his motivation was not to bring glory to himself but to our creator through the cleansing of my soul by washing with water that is God’s Word.

Spiritual transformation is painful. Imagine the pain a caterpillar must go through when becoming a butterfly. So too is the pain of our growth. God designed the marital relationship specifically for such ambitious endeavors. In love a husband becomes a servant to the wife. His “tossing of the medicine ball” brings advancement to the betterment of another, his wife; not to himself. And as a result, when we as wives submit to the process, the husband feels respected, admired and empowered. He chooses to speak and act in a manner that brings the greatest growth to her. She responds with groans as a spiritual transformation and renewing of her mind takes place. He doesn’t shove “the ball” at her in the form of vengeful advice or sarcastic remarks. He doesn’t thrust ways to solve her problems at her “core muscles” but rather, assesses and interprets the best course of action to lead her always toward Christ. A husband is to serve the wife in a practical way to bring holiness in attitude, action and word living “set apart” from worldly approaches to such. 

Some poignant questions to ponder:

·        Wives: How can you encourage your husband to lead you with strong, servant hands? Ask yourself if you are giving way to the practice of refinement through the leadership of my husband? How might this empower him to servant leadership?
·        Husbands: How can you alter your present approach or attitude toward leading your wives to bring her the greatest growth (think of it in terms of tossing the medicine ball)? Do you assess before you act? Are you firm yet temperate?
·        Women wanting to be married: Are you considering a husband that is equipped in servant leadership? Are you prepared to be uncompromising in saying yes to someone that will be able to lead you as a servant?
·        Men wanting to be married: Are you maturing to a place that you are able to serve your future wife? Are you learning what it means to be temperate? How about selfless? 
·        Divorced wanting to be remarried: How can you heal from the past fully? What can you learn about your participation in God’s design for marriage?  
·        Wanting to be divorced: How are you acting outside God’s design for marriage? Have you really studied His plan and roles each member takes on?
·        Single man content to be single: Is there benefit to serving as a mentor to foster the servant leadership you are designed to embody?
·        Single woman content to be single: Do you belong to an accountability group or do you have close friends that can encourage you in spiritual transformation?

I know I seem to be exaggerating things a bit; but am I? The safety and comfort I experienced while “tossing the ball” both in the gym and at home in our every day lives caused me to invite him to enter more of my “workout.” Join me over the next five weeks as I share how I have invited my husband to participate in the “open gym” experience. In the meantime, go get a medicine ball and practice this passage (Ephesians ) both metaphorically and in reality.

Be sure to listen to watch the video and listen to lyrics of the song by Sanctus Real … “Lead Me” 

Other Posts in the Series: Washing With Sweat  A six week blog series answering the question "What does it mean for a husband to prepare his bride for Christ?" It's this woman’s journey with Ephesians 5:26. It is encouraging for men and women that are married, were married, want to be married, or would like to be married again.


Anonymous said...

Wow Edy, this is going to be a fun series! Are you going to talk about how to get back on track when my spouse and I aren't throwing the ball well together?

Anonymous said...

Yes ... in the form of a video blog. Look for its arrival on friday or saturday!!!

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll be watching.