SO HERE WE ARE! Another year to refresh. Another opportunity to make new goals to better ourselves. Whatever that is; for some people that’s towards physical transformation. This is known as the gym. For some of us, working out isn’t as much of a New Year, new you. Others have claimed it to be therapeutic. And the rest merely see it as a lifestyle.
Honestly, I disliked bodybuilders and what they stand for because—stereotype. I know, I know! I was uneducated and ignorant towards this subject. I have always loved playing sports so exercises were simply necessities for that matter and nothing more. Not outside of sports nor for health. Then college happened. I wasn’t active and I wasn’t dancing consistently. It wasn’t until I moved to Wyoming in the fall of 2014 that I discovered it is (somewhat) parallel to sports. Its challenges perhaps. I reasoned with myself that I needed a specific goal/motivation to make it regular. So I did. I thought to myself—I need to gain weight so I can donate blood. (My parents are donors so this is where I got the idea from) I was wrong with that one. I kept losing the weight I worked hard on reaching while I gained muscle mass. I couldn’t keep up with my metabolism increase. That isn’t the point, however. Ever since I started this new lifestyle, I discovered something else…
Whenever I went to the gym and I was stressed, I would pray while in the middle of a workout. I also found myself reflecting and worshipping. Not singing by myself, of course! I listened to worship songs. There was a time when I reached a new PR (personal record) for my squat workout. The last rep (repetition) was a make-it-or-break-it moment and I felt like I could have broken myself. With the lack of a spotter, I had an inaudible pep talk with myself. Obviously, I made it. I had to make it. When I did, I asked myself—is this how Jesus felt when He carried His cross? I know His situation was excruciatingly worse than mine. He was wounded and deformed even before He was finally crucified. But He had to make it. He needed to reach the point of crucifixion to complete His mission here on earth. So now, I have to do the same…except in a more spiritual way. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, ““ Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me””(NIV). Weightlifting has given me a concrete image of how much I need to struggle and fight for what I stand. I have to struggle. I have to fight. I have to stand for what my God proclaims Himself as. It is an honorable burden I am willing to carry.
As I start this lifestyle again, I now only see the weights of grief after the passing of my brother, Rene. Yes, I am still grieving. It will never go away…at least, not for a while. My brother gave me my first vinyl dumbbell set for Christmas. I didn’t need them and he knew that. What made them very special to me was he carried the 40 lbs box of weights from Walmart to our house which is approximately 1.3 miles. He could have taken the bus—I’m sure. But he didn’t. It is not special because he chose to carry them all the way home. He chose to buy them for me even though I didn’t ask and knowing he didn’t have much money then. Carrying them all the way home reveals how far and how much he will do to show he cares. That’s what love looks like to me. Which points me back to when Jesus carried the weight of the cross because of His love for us.
I will start again in hopes that whatever weight I have to carry this year, I will not let it weigh me down. I will call upon the name of the Lord! I will cast all my worries on Him because I know He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). I will take up my cross and I will follow Him until the end. So what about you?