I recognize it’s been quite a while since I wrote. I’m trying to breathe and take a bit of time to quietly work through some things. You know, for months, I’ve been working towards a sermon (but, you know, before you can communicate something, it has to settle into your soul) that I was thinking would be helpful for others… Then, a few weeks ago, I was assaulted by this same message (everything I heard & saw, every conversation, soundbite, dream, EVERY THING) and I realize now that it is not only for others;) I’m going to start what has transmogrified from a single message into a series this Sunday, and we’ll see what we can see.
I have this thought, for today.
I like to lift weights, for a lot of reasons, but the most important has nothing to do with how much weight is on a bar or if my belt is smaller or my back is bigger or if I can win at arm-wrestling. They’re all sort of cool, but I go to they gym because life can be hard, and has a lot of walls built-in. We all, to some extent, fight these automatic, involuntary negative thoughts that attack any time we begin anything new, or are pushed farther than is comfortable. Who do you think you are? You can’t do whatever, you are just a whatever, you’ll never be more than whatever. Any time we try to choose a different path, and change course towards becoming a healthier person (in any area – relationships, work, destructive habits, etc. You understand), the lies start, the chains tighten, we lose focus and figure that, probably, today is just an extension of yesterday and what’s the use anyway?
And I used to not be able to do 1 pull-up. I used to not be able to bench press the bar.
But now I can. And now, when I get scared of change, of becoming (I was going to write, ‘of failure,’ but Marianne Williamson writes, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us,” and I think that’s pretty true. I’m not that afraid of failing, I’m more afraid of success. I’m not too afraid of being not enough, I’m much more afraid that what God says about me is true and what that would mean.) So, now, when I get scared, I think about the time I thought the weight would crush me. Only, it didn’t then, and it won’t now, and neither will this. Today wasn’t yesterday, who I was is not who I am. And I keep moving forward.
One more thing about growth and the gym. Those times when I thought the bar would flatten me, I asked somebody for ‘a spot.’ This just means they would stand behind you and help you if you couldn’t do 1 (or 1 more.) They would encourage you when you didn’t want to, or didn’t think it was possible. When you couldn’t see the end, when all you could see was yesterday or the heavy weight in front of you.
I know the cool, modern thing to say is that the local church is outdated and unnecessary, but I’m not so sure that’s true. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed with sadness, or rage, or loneliness, and I think it’s all hopeless, that the world is falling apart, my imagination is disappearing, and what’s the use anyway? It’s these times when I need a fresh word, a different perspective, another’s hands on the bar so I don’t get smushed. It’s those times when I need a spot.