I bet you didn’t know this, but when I was younger I was teased for having muscles. Yup…it used to make me so self-conscious. I felt weird. Odd. Different. Kids would pinch my arms in the school hallway and say, “Are those real? Are you part man?” Heck…that still happens. Until I reached my young adult years, when I figured out that these muscles of mine got me good attention too. So I worked that attention for all it was worth. I competed. Strutted. Earned prizes and trophies. The only thing that kept me from pursuing it on a professional level, was the obstacle of not being able to perform a back hand-spring (and various gymnastic skills).
I competed in Fitness shows. The fitness division required you to be physically proportioned with muscle, but not freaky muscular. It also required you to perform a 3-minute high energy fitness routine. They measured strength, agility, flexibility, and of course spunk and enthusiasm during that three minutes. Think ripped Texas cheerleader. You get the picture. I could do it all with great ease…except for one thing…except for that flipping back hand spring that set up all the other ninja skills. I couldn’t do one as hard as I tried and tried and tried.
When I was younger, my parents refused to put me into gymnastics, no matter how hard I begged them. I later resented them for this. (Clearly…just look at my body. It kind of screams gymnast.)
Looking back I now see that was God’s provision for my life.
Thank God I never learned how! (And who knows what other injuries I may have encountered along the way?)
Had I known how to do a back handspring, and all those crazy ninja-like moves, I would have gone on a hardcore pursuit of as many fitness titles as possible. Even though, secretly…I kind of hated it. I was grumpy when it was time to get “show ready” and do the fitness competition diet. I saw how destructive it was behind the scenes. I knew it was fleeting. I couldn’t do it forever. I knew I was facing eminent death. But the attention seemed worth it.
Because I was a broken, sad, afraid, and lonely little girl.
Then love came down and rescued me.
He redeemed all of me. My muscles included. My muscles don’t define me, they just happened to come with me, from birth. And now I can see they are fit for the purpose and call on my life: making much of Jesus who makes us whole in mind, body, and Spirit. He is the only true source of lasting fitness, wellness, and well-being.
I no longer spend hours in the gym. I do not obsess over what I eat. What you see now is truly a result of me just being who I was created to be – living healthy, whole, and free in Christ.
I eat God’s word first. Real food second.
I move my body because if I hear a good tune, and have any type of training apparatus near by, I turn into a kid on the playground at recess time.
The enemy still tries to “tease” me and tell me that now I am too much. Too much muscle for the faith world. But to not be this, would be to fade away and not be me. That’s precisely what the enemy would like me to do.
“To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
I am a contender for the Gospel. I have taken one in the teeth from time to time by those who call me crazy or too much Jesus, or too much muscle, or not enough this or that. And it won’t be the last time.
If only they could see my heart.
Cut me and I bleed Jesus.
I train because love is heavy!
It’s time to start contending, and quit neglecting or obsessing.