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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

This ones a long one!!

I've been spending a lot of time at the gym lately.

Well, a lot for someone who has spent a long time convincing herself that gyms were evil. :)

I'm of the mindset that exercise is great.... when I don't know I'm getting it.

Hense my (rudely interupted) devotion to the sport of basketball... :)

When I have a lot of thinking to do, I tend to be one of those people that just hops on my bike or starts walking somewhere in order to process everything swirling around in my head. If you know me at all, you know that I don't usually require a sounding board when I'm trying to work something out. Sure, I'll run my thoughts by someone when it comes down to the deadline, but before I ever get to that point, believe you me that there were hours of intense contemplation leading up to it.

When I was making my decision about Peace Corps verses continuing my job hunt in NYC and DC this spring, I just started walking after I left my favorite coffee shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Next thing I know, I'm standing in front of my church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, some 80 blocks later.

Its just how I do things. :)

Anyway.... I'm back at the gym to try and get back in shape, and because its a good way to spend my time and process things before I get ready to leave for the Peace Corps.

I start each day at the gym with a warm-up before either focusing on my upper or lower body (depending on the day) on the weights. I've found that I love working out my legs, but if its an arm day, I dread even walking into LifeTime. Considering part of the point of even getting back into the gym is my desire to try to build strength back into my arm (3 surgeries later...) and maybe someday feel confident in my strength to survive the Police Academy, this is a horribly inconvenient dread of mine. Then when you consider that my attention span for cardio is.... lacking.... things at the gym can get interesting.

The other day, I upped the weight stack on the arm curl (an already cumbersome movement for my bad arm), and started my workout. The first two sets were great. Enough resistance to give me a challenge, but not so much that my bum wrist or my muscles were screaming at me (too loudly).

When I hit my third and final set, however, my confidence began to waver.

Then, a funny thing happened.

I cheated on my last set.


I just kinda, forewent the last few repetitions.

I ignored the last few reps I should have done, barely acknowledged that I was doing so, got up, and moved to the next machine.

I think its funny how as humans, we think that we can even manage to fool ourselves. Like no one, including ourselves, will notice. Like it isn't letting ourselves down or something. Like there won't be consequences. Like the pain, the resistance, the struggle isn't part of the workout. Like its not the entire point of growing stronger and yielding results.

We can be kind of silly sometimes, can't we?

The same thing happens in our walk for Christ.

Even if we actually make it to the gym or stop for a devotional amidst an already hectic schedule, we approach it like we doing as a favor to ourselves or to God. Because of this, we think that if we shave a few minutes off our workout (whether it be physical or spiritual) it won't affect the final outcome.

"Sorry muscles, you don't need to be as strong as I planned."

"Sorry God, a few less minutes won't hurt."

Or the biggest phony statement - "I'll do better next time."

And yet, we've got no one to let down but ourselves.

In church today, Pastor Vic reminded us that God didn't NEED to send Christ to die on the cross. But WE needed him to., and He did it because He loves us, and without it, we have no chance at an eternity with Him.

And without a daily workout in the gym or with our Father, we have no hopes of growing stronger to "finish the race and complete the task" (Acts 20:24) that we've been given.

Time to go to the gym. :)

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