There is a sign on the wall at the gym I go to every day. “No sniveling.” I have to admit, I don’t like that sign. There are times when I feel like sniveling, especially when the trainer is pushing me and I think I can’t last another minute.
I have been looking at that sign every day for almost two weeks. Today, though, I figured I’d see what that word really means. I was surprised to find that the real meaning really has to do with nasal mucus?
It means to complain or whine tearfully, to run at the nose.” This is good. This means maybe I can run at the mouth, if I want?
When my kids were growing up I had a refrigerator magnet I loved to point to, sort of an 11th commandment type thing. It said, “Thou shalt not whine.” I think the sign in the gym should be revised to say that. Because I don’t snivel, but I sometimes do whine.
Really, though, the trainer asks for it. He will say after we’ve done a set of exercises. So, how does the hamstring feel? I look up at the “No sniveling” sign and say something like, “Well, it kind of hurts.” And, then in the nicest sort of way, he says, “Good that’s what’s supposed to happen.”
Really? Really? No, I’ve always thought hurting was bad. In reality, though, I’m coming to the slow realization that in order for me to get to the place where I can walk without pain, I’m going to have to strengthen lots of muscles. In order for that to happen, it is going to cause some, if not quite a bit of pain.
My goal is to be able to keep up with my son, daughter and even, my husband who is older than I am but much more fit. It is a goal I can envision. I can taste and almost touch. It is something I want badly. And, I’m willing to pay the price to get there.
Remember the saying, “No pain, no gain?” I never liked that phrase. I never wanted to know the meaning. I’m learning it now. In actuality, I’m finding it quite empowering to feel your hamstrings and quads start to become stronger.
I have never really physically trained for anything or put my body “into strict training” as 1 Corinthians 9:25 describes. Paul is talking about just as we train physically we need to train spiritually. Those kinds of physical versus spiritual analogies never held much meaning for me.
The key though is to keep your eye on the finish line and not to be like a runner who doesn’t go straight for the finish line or a boxer who wastes his punches. It makes sense to me. Without a trainer I might be wasting my effort on exercises that aren’t helping me reach my final goal of being able to walk with ease.
Our goal as Christians is much stronger than any physical goal. Hebrews 12 says that we should be like Jesus who didn’t snivel or whine because of the daunting task ahead of him. I mean he was going to die on the cross. But he knew why and he knew the joy that was waiting for him once he got through this valley we call life. It was worth a little bit of momentary discomfort, shame, rejection, even death. Because he knew the resurrection was coming. His eye was on the prize.
Have you ever whined because of the things God is requiring of you? Why can’t I be like everyone else and do that? Why do I have to pray? I don’t want to have a quiet time, I want to watch my favorite show on television instead. Really, you want me to talk to that person about You? What would they think? They might laugh at me.
If we are looking at Jesus as our role model, we will probably find all of our excuses sound like loud snorts of snivel! Is there a task God has called you to do? Might it take some discipline, courage, even faith? Might it take you into some uncomfortable situations that cause a little pain?
What is the dream God has called you to? How bad do you want it? Are you up to the task? What is your first step to reaching that goal? What will you do about it today?
No sniveling. No whining. I’m going to keep my eyes on Jesus. I’m after the prize.