Nothing screams “I need to workout” like that day in mid-April when the temps reach capri and tank top weather. Maybe you were able to slide by in the winter without much care to the intricate details of the arms and shoulders, but yikes. Expose them a bit and all of a sudden you are dusting off those aerobic DVD’s hidden beneath the Wii games, eating salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner and kicking yourself in the rear for letting yourself get to this point.

I think this is a reason many people enjoy the fall and winter. It gives you a little “cushion” (literally and figuratively) in regards to the maintenance of your body. We aren’t as careful in our eating. We skip (or completely stop) our best intentioned workout plans. We let it all slide a bit. After all, no one will notice, right?

Nothing screams “I need help!” like when your spouse comes to you saying he’s in love with another woman. Or when your best friend betrays your confidence. Or when you find out a loved one has cancer. Suddenly you are exposed. Your emotions ooze out and you have nowhere to hide.You try to hide beneath your cozy shawl, but it’s stripped away. It’s like that warm April day. Your untrained, misshaped muscles are out for all to see and it isn’t pretty.

How easy is it for us to wrap ourselves up in a gleaming smile, don a pair of service oriented mittens and go on our merry way without exposing what’s really underneath? Maybe at first it isn’t intentional. Maybe you don’t even know you are hiding anything. I guarantee you before long, it will be exposed. The older I’m getting, the more I see people who are dealing with things that were never dealt with properly at the time when they occurred.

Habits get excused. Actions get rationalized. Hurts get hidden.

Then out from nowhere something comes and blows up these things that were just tended to with a band-aid.

So what do we do when our emotions been exposed? You have to get down and dirty. I like to tell myself when working out that it’s time to get to it.

Get your sweat on.

Breathe hard.

Make your body fight.

There’s something very fulfilling about that to me. It’s the same way in our lives. Sometimes you have to take the make-up off and get ugly.

What are you hiding today? Let me encourage you with a few things.

Pray. Take a moment now and ask God to shine his light on your life. To open or highlight any areas that you may be hiding, not dealing with, or maybe not even aware of

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. (Daniel 2:22)

Take inventory.What did God say? What areas are untrained and flabby?

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. (Ephesians 5:13)

Get a plan. I’m sorry, but you can no longer use the excuse of “I don’t know where to go.” There are too many resources available for help, be it online support, a pastor, a book or a friend. Come to me if you don’t know where to start! Don’t keep hiding.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)

Get a partner. You need someone who will keep you in check. Who is willing to tighten and tone those “emotional muscles” with you?

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Can we purpose to tone, tighten and trim not only our physical but emotional muscles through the long, dark winter? I don’t know about you, but when the sweater season is over, I want to be able to proudly show all that I’ve been working on. I want to come out fighting and strong!