In Jazzercise, there is a repetitive word that is said throughout every hour of exercise no matter what song is playing or what movements we are doing or who the instructor is. It is the word release. They say: Squeeze. Release. or Crunch. Release. or Over. Release. or Pull. Release. You get the idea. With every instruction comes the word release. There is even one song called Release Me. I guess before last week I never quite noticed how often they say that before. Call me slow, but I just thought it was referring to working muscles. You know, you tense up then release in order to work and build muscle. Very important thing for getting in shape to work the muscles like they tell you to. The result of this kind of squeeze release exercise is that you not only gain strength…but health as well. Flexibility. Endurance. Life giving oxygen flows in as your heart beats hard. Your limbs and core get stronger allowing you a more active life.
Last week when the song Release Me came on there is a punching section. It is in that part that I felt the stress leaving my body. Kind of like warrior mode, but this time it was more intentional to actually physically remove the stress of my week through my fists. It’s CRCT testing week…is it a coincidence that I suddenly had a revelation that releasing is about more than muscles? I think not. This time my mind was involved in imagining my anxiety leaving my hands. It felt good. In a way, it is the same as releasing your muscles in that when you release tension you get stronger. The result of this mental stress release is a feeling of freedom from the strain of your day. You leave it behind you and press forward. There are significant physical benefits as well. Blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels all go up when we are stressed, but they drop when we release our cares. So the physical process of exercising my muscles leads to an emotional and mental exercise in which I let go of my stress.
Now for the spiritual revelation. (You knew it was coming didn’t you?) My heart, not the physical one but the one at the core of my spirit, has to be exercised too. If I don’t pay attention to my spiritual growth it will shrivel up and my heart will become hard. I allow unforgiveness and bitterness to give birth to resentment. Soon follows pride and then I am done for. It is a recipe for a spiritual heart attack. So how do I avoid such a treacherous thing? I RELEASE IT! I release unforgiveness. I release bitterness, pride and self-pity. I release hurt and anger. I release hatred and self-righteousness. I release my hard heart to God’s softening power. It’s not easy, but it has to be done. When I do this he makes me stronger. My heart is released from bondage to sin and into freedom.
When I step out to release the ugly things in my heart he shows me, then God says, “I release it! I release my freedom to you. I release my love to fill your now empty heart. I release my peace to your soul. I release my joy to your face. I release my loving kindness, my humility, and my patience. I release my LIFE into yours!”
So what are you waiting for…Release it!!