Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"It's BODYSHRED, baby!"

“It’s ‘Bodyshred’, Baby!”, I heard as I stumbled over to the DVD player and silenced my good old friend, Jillian Michaels.  With sweat pouring from my face and nausea building in my stomach, I crawled over to the cool kitchen floor and sprawled out.  “Why do I do this to myself…”, I asked.  I had just finished the first of 8 new workout videos by fitness guru, Jillian Michael’s entitled “Bodyshred”.  Each video is 30 minutes long and every 2 weeks you switch to new videos that are more physically challenging.
Six weeks into the training of 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, I found myself in front of a scale.  You see, I don’t own a scale, but now there just happened to be one in the fabulous downtown Chicago hotel that my husband picked out to celebrate my birthday.  I stepped on and waited completely expecting to have lost at least double digits…..but then SURPRISE! I gained 4 pounds!  I was devastated!  My husband tried to console me with talk of “it’s gained muscle” but the number stuck in my head.  I thought about the nice calorie filled breakfast sandwich I had that day from mcdonalds and the pizza I had for lunch, and I headed straight to the hotel gym determined to run off those extra 4 pounds. 
The gym was gorgeous and clean with apples stocked in the minifridge and a keurig looking cold water dispenser.  It had a nice row of treadmills facing the new Trump Tower and the Chicago River.  I picked out a treadmill and realized that it had been at least a year since I stepped foot on one of these.  Fears started running through my head…..”what if I fall and people laugh, I’ll be all scraped up for our nice Chicago dinner tonight, what if this treadmill malfunctions and I fly straight through the window and fall 4 stories down to my death.”…..yeah, that thought seriously crossed my mind.  But I threw out those thoughts and started running. 
Power, I felt pure power!  Before Bodyshred, I had never really seriously strength trained.  Sure, I had run long distances and seen how amazing the body can train and adapt to make 12 miles feel like 2.  But I had never in my life felt what it was like to run with strength trained muscles.  I ran 3 miles without barely breaking a sweat or speeding up my breath.  It felt absolutely incredible!  For those of you who know me well, you know that running is one of my favorite worship times with God.  I’m not sure exactly how it works out this way….maybe it has something to do with part of my brain being so focused on the physical aspect of running that I can’t get distracted by other little things.  My sole focus remains on God and running becomes a complete act of worship.  On that day in Chicago, after allowing that number on the scale to flood me into all kinds of insecurities, I regained my confidence by experiencing the truth.  I had gained muscle and I had gained power and it took me actually running it out see that.  And I had the most wonderful time with God during that run because of it!
My point to all of this is for us to not get so focused on the “number” that we forget, or can’t see, the great work God is doing in us.  Maybe your aren’t seeing the results that you had hoped for and you find yourself questioning God…. “God, I thought more people would join my small group…..God, I thought by now I’d be serving your people on the fields of Africa….God, I thought by now this co-worker or family member would believe in you.”  And this kind of thinking can open up a whole can of insecurities… “I’m just not fun enough, I’m don’t have enough qualifications,  there has to be something wrong with me that God isn’t using in that way….”  Know that “you are clothed in strength and dignity”(proverbs 31:25) and before God formed you in the womb He knew you, before you were born He set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5).  He has a magnificent plan and purpose for your life that is uniquely yours.  No other person  could do what God has in store for you.  So keep up with your “strength training”!  You pray, you read your Bible, you surround yourself with friends who encourage you in the faith, and you cast aside the lie of the “number” and acknowledge the great work God is doing in you! And above all, hold onto the truth that you have a Savior who loves you so incredibly much….and THAT is always more than enough!