Her words catch my attention every time. “Stress causes change. When we put stress on the body, it causes us to adapt.” Jillian Michaels is referring to the positive physical changes that can happen when we push ourselves during a workout.
She’s right. After day one I grimaced each time I had to go up or down the stairs. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. Jumping jacks and squats left my quadriceps burning. My muscles were sore because I was putting stress on my body; and they weren’t used to it. Although it wasn’t pleasant, I decided to stick it out.
A couple weeks into the routine, and I’m no longer experiencing leg pain. My body has adapted to the stress and I can tell I’m stronger and more fit because of it.
When growth happens
The real reason Jillian’s words capture my attention? When I hear those words, I know how true they are in other areas of my life as well.
Think about it. When has your faith grown the most? As much as we shy away from tough circumstances that cause stress, it’s during those times that there’s a dramatic shift in our faith. We have an opportunity to grow.
I’ll be honest. I don’t sign up for trials; but in His wisdom, the Lord knows I need them in order to push me out of my comfort zone (click to tweet).
Stress can be a good thing
Several years ago, a minor car accident became a major test that caused a great deal of stress in my life. I had a choice to make: I could let the stress cause me to grow or I could give up.
In addition to a back injury, a shift in hormones and a lack of sleep left me grappling with anxiety and depression. My thoughts became increasingly negative. I questioned God’s love for me and blamed Him for allowing me to get into the wreck.
With few answers and mounting medical bills, I let my thoughts spiral downward. My family and close friends did everything they could to rally around me.
Over the course of several months, a combination of support from family, godly counseling, and medicine helped me work through the stress and walk away stronger as a result.
Get ready to grow
There’s truth to the old axiom that what doesn’t make us bitter will make us better. The stress of my trial eventually forced me to seek answers from God’s Word. Verses I had read before came alive as I experienced His love for me personally:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: 1 John 3:1a
I was comforted to know that Jesus was praying to His Father for me as I was in the midst of my trial; just like He prayed for Peter:
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: Luke 22:31-32a
In the beginning, I fought against the need to change because I knew it would be hard work. But increasing pressure made me cry out to God for help. He walked with me every step of the way. I experienced His faithfulness in a way I had not experienced it before.
The result? The stress of my trial helped me grow.
Are you in the middle of a trial? Realize God knows all about it and can use it to help you grow if you’re willing.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving me. I understand trials are meant to stretch my faith and cause me to grow. Forgive me for the many times I’ve complained about the challenging circumstances You’ve allowed in my life. Help me yield to Your will like clay in the hands of the potter. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love in Christ,
*Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker and is passionate about sharing the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. She lives in sunny Georgia with her husband and daughter, two dogs and two cats. Visit her on the web and download a free copy of her eBook, God Speaking. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter!