Sunday, May 1, 2016

The "edge"

The sign on the locker room wall, "CREATING THE EDGE,"  caught my attention.
Edge/ej/noun: the upper hand; dominance; the physical and mental advantage of your opponent. No matter the sport or age, every athlete wants "the edge."
The "edge" principle was posted on the wall along with an ad for a youth fitness program where students and teens are challenged to improve speed, agility, strength and stability in a "friendly" bootcamp style workout - if there is such a thing. Under the care of expert trainers and coaches participants will hone their innate sport abilities, perfect their skills and gain the coveted "edge."
The edge. The upper hand. The traits and abilities that score the most points and make the starting line up. The dominance that garners the watchful eye of college scouts and the most desirable scholarship offers. Parents who hope to see their sons make the most goals, score the most baskets and run the fastest mile salivate at the thought of "the edge." Cheerleader-crazed Moms and stadium-seat-shouting Dad's dream about "the edge." I can see the parental enthusiasm in my mind's eye as they sign their children's name on the dotted line, securing their space in the grueling workout of  pull-ups and push-ups, all in pursuit of the coveted edge.
Poor kids, they'll never see the rigorous workout coming.
To develop the edge students will be pushed beyond their limits. Coaches will demand that they run further and faster than ever before. Trainees will be motivated to break their mind's perceived physical limits. Students will be faced with heavy ropes to tax the muscles and increase endurance. From squats to deadlifts and kettlebells to barbells, the sport's fittest of participants will be challenged from every angle and with every modality.
Exhausted and exasperated kids will leave wondering, "how will this help me score more goals or shoot more hoops?" But the coaches know the fundamental principles of fitness and the secret behind "the edge." To be great on the sports field the students must first be great in the gym.

When I signed up to be part of God's team I, too, thought I knew the program. Oh, how wrong I was. God had a far different fitness plan in mind. I thought He'd have me memorize scripture. Instead He taught me how to cry out to Him for help from the pit of my aching gut. I assumed God would have me serve the homeless soup and a smile. God has had me learn that my purpose can be fulfilled in prayer and the giving of love to the smallest and nearest.
When I enrolled in God's plan for my life I thought I would get the "spiritual edge." Silly me, I assumed I would understand how God works and why. I thought He would fulfill every desire of my heart because I love Him and believe in Jesus. Instead He has been taxing me with trials and tribulations to strengthen stability, increase my endurance and enhance my equilibrium.
God has been putting me through the paces to give me the ultimate edge: the emotional edge. This is the edge that will prove critical in this life to keep my eyes fixed on the prize, the Savior and the glory of God.
In God's perfect training program He has been perfecting my emotional edge through the ups and downs of inconclusive test results, unpredictable health and even the silence of solitude. With every muscle flare and episode of optic neuritis He has been strengthening my core and my foundation in Him. He has been letting the strain and pull of this life build in me the emotional endurance to keep walking with Him even when the going gets tough and the road is rough.
God has been putting me through the exercise protocol of a lifetime in order that I may exhibit the edge that wins the eternal, ultimate prize. He wants me to be perfect. Heaven knows, I'm not there yet. I'm still going through His program and putting time in at His gym. But with every exercise overseen by the hand of God and every moment He is my motivator I am getting stronger and steadier.
So with regularity and dedication I am hitting God's gym, following the instruction of my Coach in pursuit of perfecting the ultimate edge.

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