The Last Minute On Your Mat

Author: Kristen Lunceford  |  | @kristenlunceford


Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Tabata training.

Four of you? Great.

For the rest of you, the simple explanation is that Tabata intervals follow this structure:

Push hard and do as many reps as you can for 20 seconds.

Rest for 10 seconds.

Repeat eight times.

Scream obscenities in your head.

In theory, it only lasts four minutes and is supposed to make you look like Carrie Underwood. In reality, it feels like the longest four minutes of your life and proves definitively that you can’t cry pretty.

I know because my Pilates instructor used to torture me with this on the regular. During one particularly sadistic mountain climber Tabata a few summers ago, she yelled, “I know it’s hard, but you’ve made it through a lot of hard things in your life, so you sure as hell can make it through this last minute on your mat!”

I almost burst into tears. Not from the pain, but from the hit-me-too-close-to-home-ness of it all. You see, at exactly that moment my husband and I were in the middle of navigating motion-picture-drama-type life changes while our three kids were out of school and in our ears.

It was the longest four months of our lives. Our arms nearly gave out as we pushed to make it to the end of the summer when our kids were back in school, when we both officially started new jobs, and when the keys to the church we planted in Las Vegas had been handed back to God (and the landlord).

That August? It was the last minute on our mat. There were days when it felt like it would never end, days when I wanted to curse but white knuckled 2 Corinthians 4:17 instead.

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.”

Listen, ladies, I know your job might be a drag and your grief is heavy and your diagnosis sucks and your toddler is an a-hole and your living situation is sketch and your bank account balance is embarrassing, but I also know that God has already brought you through a lot of hard things in your life, and this current stretch of road—this last minute on your mat—is no exception.

Some seasons are just flat-out, gut-it-out hard work. There’s discomfort, pressure, stress and, yes, even some cursing. But it’s temporary. The beep on the stopwatch that says the four minutes is up? It’s coming.

I promise this is true because I’m writing from the other side of it today. And not just from the other side of that summer. From the other side of the cross, when Jesus made sure that our momentary troubles would be just that: momentary.

Jesus wins. He always, always wins. And when you cling to Him as closely in the reps as you do in the rest, you’ll win too.

So do the reps. Finish it. Finsh it. Finish it. Your present troubles are nothing—nothing—compared to the glory that’s coming.

You’ll be looking like Carrie in no time.