A few months ago, I was driving in my car doing one of my favorite things to make the miles go by quicker– I was listening to some great messages on Podcast. That particular day, I was listening to one of Mark Batterson’s teachings and is often the case with his messages… God used it to ROCK my world. In the message Batterson used an example of him going to the gym and shooting free throws- he shared that he was able to make a large number of them in a row, a feat that he attributed to muscle memory. He shared that in his younger days he had disciplined himself to go out everyday and shoot free throws to improve both his skill and his muscle memory for training and accuracy. The message made me ask myself… what have my muscles been trained to do? 

According to Women’s Health Magazine, “It’s a phenomenon aptly called muscle memory. Simply put, when you teach your body how to do something—ride a bike, surf, strike some yoga poses, run a few miles—it creates a physiological blueprint. So even if you take some time off, you’ll get back to where you were faster than it took you to learn the exercise in the first place.”

I am a firm believer that there is only one way to be an effective leader… by being an honest and transparent one. So here is my painful, yet transparent answer to what physiological blueprint that my muscles have been trained to… quit.

For much of my life… I have quit when things got hard. Growing up when sports were too hard- I quit. When relationships got too hard- I walked away. When a job got too hard- I replaced it. When the truth was too hard to face- I hid from it.  I was a quitter.

About a year ago, I made the crazy decision to get into better shape physically so that I could do all that God was calling me to spiritually. I made the choice to become the one thing I have never been able to be… a runner.  I am not a good one- a year later but nevertheless- I try. I struggle through each and every workout… my muscles crying out to me… begging me to do what I have always done when it gets to painful… quit.  Recently, I had gotten up to four miles of constant running! For me I was amazed and proud at this accomplishment considering when I started I could not run a full quarter mile without stopping.  However, I broke my toe about six weeks ago which sidelined me as I had to wait for it to heal. Only in the last week have I been able to start to run again… and getting through just a mile has been hard and challenging– not from the pain of my toe– but from the deeply ingrained desire in me to quit.  I have to fight that tendency with prayer and persistence every step of every workout as I fight to retrain my mental and physical muscle memory.

Three years ago- I had an encounter with God that collided my passion and my purpose. When God birthed LeadHer in my spirit… it developed in my something that always struggled to find in myself… perseverance.  I found the thing that I was put on this planet to fight for… to sacrifice for… to hurt for. I found my calling and it was the catalyst for change in my heart and my mind.

There have been and still are so many people who tell me that I am crazy for devoting myself to building a ministry. They encourage me to find a secure job and pursue something with a retirement account or at least a salary. In a sense… they are urging me to do something that I have always done… take the easier way.  However, there is a holy discontent in me that will not allow me to wave the white flag.  My heart is broken with the complacency of the church and the desire that people all around me have to be comfortable and secure. Said to say… but for many believers… our muscle memory is comfort and security.  We will say yes to God as long as it falls within the carefully drawn boundaries of our comfort zones.

This is what LeadHer exists to challenge.  Why do we choose to challenge the church through women… because women make up the majority of attendance at most typical American churches. If we want to make the biggest change we need to speak to the biggest group.  We believe at LeadHer that if a woman changes her perspective and her actions… it will impact her spouse, her children, her friends, her co-workers, her neighbors, and her church. A woman is a wellspring of influence and impact– challenging her through one of our LeadHer Local Chapters to live her life with intention can be one of the most powerful catalysts for change possible!

I see in God’s divine wisdom and humor the power of having a former quitter be the one to challenge the church to not quit. I pray that my example of painfully committing to retrain the muscle memory of my heart and mind will challenge others to do the same thing. So let me ask you… what are your muscles trained to do — physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually?  

Just because they have been trained by YOUR  past does not limit God’s ability to retrain them for HIS future!

 

Written by Christie Love, Founder and Executive Director of LeadHer.  You can connect with Christie on Facebook or Twitter.