Lessons From Weightlifting

I’ve lived a few years, and still, life still surprises me. It just doesn’t feel that long ago when I really wondered if my prayers were only getting as far as my ceiling and bouncing back to Earth. The past several years have been very frustrating, to say the least. I’d like to say that in the tough times that I always had a great attitude, but I can’t honestly say that. There were times I handled it well, and other times when I let the heavy weight of life overwhelm me.

I’m human. Sue me.

This year has been a tough one. If you’ve taken time to read my blog since I started it back on July 8, 2008, you’ll see that even the good things were laced with tough decisions. What inspired me to even start this blog was that I was moving from a town, a church, and from friends I loved very much. I even named this thing “Crossing Paths” because I wanted to be sure that no matter where I went, my paths would always be crossable with the people I’ve come to know through the years.

I’ve been laid off from a few jobs in that time, lost my mom, struggled to start over in a new town, a new church, and with new people. But I really don’t want to dwell on those things. Sure, they happened. What’s more important, though, is that I’m a stronger and better man for going through them and remaining faithful in my faith and character. Think about this. When you lift weights, what are you actually doing? You’re trying to push, pull or lift something that is very heavy in the opposite direction that gravity would naturally take it. By using proper techniques, we grow stronger as we persist in our efforts to push back against the weight which would otherwise crush us.

The trials I’ve been through are no worse or heavier than things you’ve gone through, or will go through. But when we persevere and become stronger, we develop the ability to resist and overcome pressures which previously would have injured, if not killed us.

A spotter in weightlifting is someone who literally is there to protect you from injury, and even shout out encouragement to empower you to lift that weight. They often have their hands on the bar just in case you lose your grip or buckle under the weight. They don’t necessarily lift the weight for you, because that would defeat the purpose. They simply are there until you’ve gone as far as you can, then they help you finish your workout.

God is our spotter in life. God allows things to happen in our lives which serve to make us grow stronger and more mature. In doing so, we also become qualified to assist others through life. He is not necessarily going to lift the bar for us when it is in our best interest to lift the weight on our own. However, that doesn’t mean He has turned His back on us. He is right there. He’s there when we need His help. Sometimes, He takes the weight fully and removes it from hanging over our head. Other times, he just applies a little assistance, in cooperation with our own efforts so that we don’t lose out on the benefit of the exercise.

A good trainer in a gym is someone who challenges you to push beyond the limitations you had when you first walked in the room. Often times, our limitations aren’t physical, but psychological. We look at the bar, add up the plates to determine how heavy it is, and we get intimidated. But the trainer will never put us in a situation for the purpose of hurting us. They’re not going to give us an impossible task which would completely defeat us.

In this season of my life, I have been able to lift weights I never thought I could handle. And even in those days, weeks and months in which I didn’t see any evidence of progress, I kept coming back to The Trainer for my workout. In remaining faithful in my commitment to my workout in life, The Trainer remained faithful to watch out for me and prepare a regimen for me which would ultimately prepare me for the challenges and calling which lay ahead.

Right now, I’m on a winning streak. Every single day is just full of blessings and good things. But I know that as sure as the sun will rise in the east, difficulties will come. I must remain faithful to my workouts so that when they do, I will be prepared and fit to face them. They will not crush me. They will not defeat me. They will not drive me away from my faith.

My Spotter, my Trainer is there for me. He is watching over me, His hands at the ready to keep me from injury. The key is understanding that I can’t lift the weight on my own. I can’t survive the workout on my own. I can’t reach my fullest potential on my own. I can’t grow on my own.

My strength is made perfect and sufficient only when I submit myself to Him, and rely on Him to see me through.

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