Saturday, July 19, 2008

sweat equity

I'm learning that there are many life and faith applications to my gym/personal trainer experience. I'm growing as a leader and teacher by becoming more skillful at using personal experience to drive home a point. I was able to do that in the jail this morning. It turned out that we only had about 20 minutes to meet together. For whatever reason the guard I handed off the list to did not call the ladies out. So my partner and I waited, and waited....and waited. For 40 minutes. Very thankfully this is the first time this has happened-at least to where we waited this long. I was agitated by the time the group started, and we simply had to make the most of what we had. It's situations like these that test my resolve to stay on point.

We were working on the 4th Step, hashing out the beginning thought process. Many things that happened this week challenged me to wonder why some people enter into recovery and seem to immediately respond to everything that its about, and other struggle so much. Is a person who struggles not serious? Or are they, and somehow don't have the capacity to understand or internalize and use the information? It's a very individual process, and I respect that. My example to them was going into the gym for the first time. I'm not ready for the clover fields yet by any stretch but neither am I dewy fresh! Looking around at all the people huffing and puffing, pushing and pulling various metal weight stacks made me think I'm the weakest human being on the planet. And then compared to my trainer, who is an Adonis stand-in, a professional body builder, merely having stand next to him in front of a mirror was rather deflating. He told me the most important thing was, I made it through the door. Next most important thing is, keep coming through the door. So he would patiently stand next to a piece of equipment I was trying out, dink the pin into the 10 pound block, and watch me sweat, watch my arms shake and my face put on something akin to sucking lemons or eating raw eggs. And once again, I felt like the weakest person in the world. But only someone who has been there and done that could truly say, good form, great job, it'll be better next week. The only way to build those muscles I want is to meet with resistance.

In the very same way, the recovery process is meeting our resistance, coming face to face with weaknesses and habits inside, and dinking in the 10 pound pin. I would never berate myself for not lifting 90 pounds my first week. That's ridiculous. Then why beat ourselves into the ground for relapses or finding it difficult to pull character weeks out with root systems the size of an oak tree in our minds? You might not get it on the second or third tug, but by the 100 you know just where to plant your feet and how to pull. And how to use truth to stop other weeds from taking root. It is in meeting that very resistance that makes us strong. A rose strewn path will not do that for us. Of course everyone wants no trouble in life. But trouble in life grows character, hope, faith, strength-if we rise to meet it. If for a while that just means coming through the door and pushing one metal block. The ladies liked my imitation of the funny face. If it helps them remember to be strong, my humiliation is worth it!


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