Sat 1/18: Do Something Saturdays are Cancelled and will be rescheduled. Saturday Only Campuses are Closed. See You Sunday.

3 Lessons from the gym in January

I went back to the gym today. After what I calculated to be an appropriate delay to allow the new years rush to subside I packed my bag this morning and made good on my intention on the way home from work. I underestimated the persistence of the newbies. I’m not passing judgment on anyone who has taken steps towards change. Even though I had to wait a few minutes for a treadmill I learned some valuable lessons.

Judge not, lest you be judged.
I know its in the Bible but I learned it at the gym. Without knowing how far someone has come or how far they have to go any judgment I make is completely arbitrary and self serving. I can feel really good about how many more pushups or curls I can do than the younger guy beside me until I find out that he’s on his 10th set and I’m on my first, and he has 10 more to go! This translates to most life situations. I’m afraid many of us are far to quick to judge someone without knowing where their journey started, how far they’ve come and certainly not knowing how far they have to go.

There’s a difference between training and trying.
This is a principle I first heard from John Ortberg and have experienced first hand at the gym. It is one thing to try your best (although I’m not really sure what my best is and I doubt I reach that level very often). It is quite another thing to train over time to accomplish something you could never do simply by trying harder. This is as true about running a race as it is growing in grace. When I become aware of how far I have to go in terms of patience or compassion simply trying harder doesn’t get me very far, but training will. Just like training the progress is sometimes hard to see at first. If my soul had a time lapse feature it might be more motivating. But over time (Henry Cloud would add grace plus truth over time) I can change.

Showing up is 90% of success.
(Ok it might not be 90% but its really high and I wanted to make a point) There are so many days where I find so many excuses not to show up. I’m too busy or I’m too tired. I will go three days in a row next week. I deserve a break. (I could keep going but you know the drill) As long as I show up I’ve got every chance to succeed. I may not always see that possibility realized but I have a chance. Not long ago a friend said to me as he was finishing a workout “that one goes in the loss column.” My response was “at least you showed up. In the rest of my life there are countless opportunities to just not show up. In my marriage, I’m too busy. With my kids, I’m too tired. With my faith, I’ll pray three days in a row next week. Showing up doesn’t guarantee success in any of those areas. But not showing up guarantees failure.

So I will head back to the gym this week, even though I may have to wait for a treadmill and I will continue learning from the people who show up.

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