July in the Midwest always promises to bring heat – lots of heat, scorching heat, breath-taking heat. This summer, July once again has kept her promise. Day after day, we are experiencing near or over 100-degree temperatures. The news outlets are not only reporting on the heat, they are heralding warnings for those subject to heat-related conditions to take extra precautions.
So, I am taking extra precautions. I am not vulnerable because of a medical condition or susceptible because of my age. I am not in imminent danger of heat stroke. No family member is checking to see if I even have heat exhaustion. I just don’t want to sweat. I don’t want perspiration to run down my forehead and streak my make-up. I don’t want my clothes to stick to me. I don’t want my skin to feel anything but cool atmosphere surrounding me, caressing me, and soothing every inch of my exposed flesh. I could be classified as an air-conditioner junkie or a fake-air diva.
My day’s routine is designed to avoid the discomfort of the heat and insure the comfort of the cool. I go from an air-conditioned home to my air-conditioned office via my air-conditioned car. Forget about outdoor activities! I have even convinced my husband that watering the yard and flowers with the garden hose is a job best suited for his strong arms, firm grip, and manly prowess. He fell for my flattering remarks, and I watch through the window from my – you guessed it – air-conditioned house.
I know that all the sport’s enthusiasts are sighing in disapproval as this wimpy woman confesses her aversion to discomfort. In reality, they would be wise while I would be – well, wimpy! What is the old saying? “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And then there is: “No pain, no gain.” I totally concur with those bits of proverbial wisdom. It is the antithesis of triumph to choose the pathway of pleasure. It is the reversal of progress to select the road of ease. Right? Right! And I resolve to persevere, to persist, to pursue, to endure – not this time, but just as soon as my next test comes along.
Difficulties in life either send us running from or running toward the obstacles. If we develop habits of cowardice, paradigms of weakness, or routines of retreat, we will never improve, never advance, never develop. The Bible warns against a life style referred to as “taking one’s ease.” The Greek word translated ease, anapauo, means to rest over and over again so as to continually exempt oneself from those situations that demand fortitude.
For an athlete to continually exempt himself from every practice would disqualify him from the match. The sweat of the training prepares the contestant for the game. Perspiration, practice, and perseverance create the champions in the arena of sports and, for that matter, in every arena of life.
In any month or in any season, life promises to bring heat – lots of heat, scorching heat, breath-taking heat. And with regularity, life will keep her promise. Comfort-seeking divas beware: Taking one’s ease during the hot days of trials may produce temporary relief rather than strength to your soul.