I’ve been working a plan in the hopes that I’ll be looking fantastic as I turn 40. I’ve been working out and eating better. But I’ve been feeling worse. Let me explain.
I dont’ like working out. My body is in pain a lot because it’s not used to exercising. It’s not fun. And doesn’t feel good. I also miss a lot of food I like to eat but I know isn’t good for me.
This week I migrated from a P90X-type workout to straight weight training. I haven’t lifted weights since I was in high school and it’s terrifyingly depressing. My first day lifting on Monday I was doing bicep curls. I couldn’t lift five-pounders. Not five-o pounds, FIVE. It was demoralizing. I felt weak. I feel week even now. The entire week I’ve been shifting around the house slowly. Day two I couldn’t even straighten my arms. Sleep hasn’t been strong.
So why am I doing it? And what’s it teaching me?
I’m doing it because I want to be healthy and I’m in unhealthy patterns. I know what the best plan for living healthy and I’m not doing it. So I’m making a change. I’m not doing it for my job, for money, or even for my wife. I want to feel healthier. And honestly, I want to look as good as I can. I also like the challenge of doing something that hasn’t been done yet. Pushing myself somewhere that isn’t natural or easy.
The Connection to Faith
As I work through this process, I’m seeing significant similarities in my journey with Jesus. I’m learning that the Bible is so true when it talks about strength in weakness. I’m learning that lifting those five-pounders aren’t a sign of weakness – they’re a sign of strength. Weakness would be to give into what I know are unhealthy patterns of eating and lack of exercise. Strength is taking it head on – punching it in the mouth and climbing up that mountain.
As I’ve been experiencing the pain of weight training, I’ve also been reading and reflecting on what Biblical community looks like. It’s center is grace – not performance. I’m saddened that for many people, going to church on Sunday is probably the loneliest time of their week. Why? It’s a place to pretend. Nobody want’s to admit or even celebrate that they’re weak, flawed, and need help. It’s sadly becoming the norm.
Scripture tells me the the Father’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. Therefore, in order to become truly strong, I have to become weak. Paul did this when he boasted in his weakness so the Father could be magnified in his life. I’m becoming convinced that a fatal flaw in the church today is our false pride and arrogance to not be able to admit we’re weak. I wonder if that’s a key that keeps us from being filled with the Holy Spirit or even holding back a real movement of God.
A message I listened to this summer has now become a movement with several books and events. It’s called Truefaced. Pastor John Lynch weaves a story of two rooms we can live in. Only two choices: The Room of Good Intentions & The Room of Grace. The room of good intentions is the place where we pretend everything is “fine”. The room of grace is where we celebrate our frailty in light of the Father’s love and grace.
You can listen to the original true faced message here:
So, here’s the beginnings of my confession: I’m lazy, overweight, undisciplined, and need to change, but I’m powerless. I’ve got someone who is in amazing shape as a trainer who is hounding me, getting me to the gym, and helping me understand that pain and work are part of getting in shape. It’s going to take work. But I have to admit I’m weak in order to make steps to becoming strong. That’s right, admit. Not a natural thing for us, is it? Isn’t admission or identifying weakness in ourselves one of the tenants of Alcoholics Anonymous? “Hi my name is Jason, and I’m a _______________”. What’s your fill in? If you don’t think there is one, that should be a HUGE red flag in your spiritual journey. Watch out.
The first step to holiness is to admit who you really are. Embrace your weakness. It could be the key to becoming strong – or even whole.
For more information, check out www.truefaced.com