One popular New Year’s Resolution is to hit the gym!  We all understand the Body and physical fitness.  Eat, sleep, and exercise right.  Over time you will achieve fitness.  When we work out, we push our bodies to their limit of strength or endurance.  Enduring pain is the pathway to a stronger, more resilient body.  No pain, no gain!  But what about fitness for the Mind, Soul, and Spirit?  How do we build a stronger Mind, improve our Soul (relationships), and strengthen our Spirit?  What’s the pain or struggle that we must endure?

The answer may surprise you….  

We need to define the gymnasium for the Mind, the Soul, and the Spirit.   To the muscle, the gym is a routine that provides the necessary pain to build muscle.  No one leaves the gym in pain and calls a doctor.  The pain is GOOD.  In fact, with the repeated routine of the gym, we come to love the pain because our physical fitness is born through pain.  We feel good about the pain, the sign of our progress toward Body health. The same is true for the Mind, Soul, and Spirit.  We need to learn to love the pain that’s required for Mind, Soul, and Spirit fitness. 

Ask yourself this simple question for each category: what pain must I endure to bring fitness to my Mind, Soul, and Spirit?  What is the new thought that I need to grow (Mind)?  What new area of “loving others” do I want to practice (Soul)? Or what is my new routine for strengthening my connection with God (Spirit)?  The gymnasium for the Mind, Soul, and Spirit is the endurance of discomfort.  A struggle is required to create a new thought pattern, relational skill, or spiritual awareness.  In time, we come to LOVE, or at least appreciate, the PAIN required to grow in each area.  Instead of running from the pain, we run to it!

For example, where is your Mind taking you?  Do you control it, or does it control you?  Taking active control of your thoughts is a pathway to fitness of the mind.  It isn’t easy. Our thoughts are running at 1500 to 4000 words per minute.  Most people’s thoughts are predominantly negative. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that followers of Jesus “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  The gymnasium of the Mind, therefore, is first a recognition about what you’re thinking and then conforming your thoughts to how Jesus thinks.  What new mindset could you develop?  What negative thought would you like to be rid of?  The pain with Mind fitness occurs in the active struggle of Mind renewal.  Each time the negative thought you’d like to extinguish manifests, lovingly and without self-condemnation, focus on the new thought you desire.  It gets easier with time as a new neurological passage is strengthened.  Eventually, the new thought becomes automatic! 

The pain of Soul fitness happens in the moments we take actions to place others before our own needs or desires.  Forgiveness, for example.  What grudge are you still holding?  Who gets the worst of your thoughts and imaginations?  The action of forgiveness is powerful training for your Soul.  It’s painful to move through the process of forgiveness – releasing someone from any payback or punishment on par with their actions.  But with practice, we build the “muscle of forgiveness.”  You can be so strong that you begin to forgive in real time.  That is Soul freedom!  Can you think of an unhealthy area of relational fitness in your life?  What would it look like for you to get in the Soul gym to address it?  What relational pain do you anticipate enduring?  Write it down.  Each uncomfortable interaction is your gym opportunity.  Learn to appreciate the discomfort.   Choose to speak life and hope.

For Spiritual fitness, the pain or struggle can be about creating the space for the Trinity to speak or recognizing His presence dwelling in us throughout our day.  Most of us talk to God, but fewer hear Him speak.  Even less engage in a conversation.  We tend to hear God in our head or heart.  We sense His speaking.  Sometimes it’s a still, small voice.  Other times we just know what He is asking or affirming.  

One fitness method I practice is to sit quietly. This can be the biggest pain or struggle point: just sitting still long enough to hear.  I first ask God a question.  Then I ask which member of the Trinity is speaking, the Father, Jesus, or Holy Spirit?  I have found that this focuses my attention on the reality of my relationship with Him. Each Member of the Trinity has something to say. The bold move is to then write down what you believe is being said.  Ask Him to confirm what you have written.

New Years is the perfect time to think about the gymnasium of the Mind, Soul and Spirit.  Better yet, put it in the calendar for a quarterly assessment.

Most will give up on their New Year’s resolution by February.  Here at Priority Living we don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.  We practice a quarterly Life Mastery Assessment. We get real about our current condition in the 10 areas that God has given only us to manage, and we plan to adjust course incrementally each quarter.   Our success formula is Strategic Behavior + Time.  We identify a new strategic behavior, and we adjust course. Those small, incremental changes eventually become our destiny – pulling us toward our Kingdom Calling destiny.  The first 4 areas – the Personal Realm (Body, Mind, Soul, Spirit) is the foundation of all we think, speak, and do.

If you haven’t recently conducted a Quarterly LifeMastery Assessment, click here and I’ll walk you through it.  Grab some electronic note space or a journal because I’ve got some questions for you!    

At Priority Living we exist to see you practice LifeMastery!

We are in your corner,

Rob Dayton

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