Friday, February 27, 2009

Power Comes with Motion

I wasn't there because I wanted to be. I was forced there by a combo of a higher than expected cholesterol count, the panting of my mother on the stairs, my favorite jeans feeling like my daughter's misplaced laundry, and my all too healthy husband's urging. The gym. Right from the start, I'm sure it was obvious that I didn't belong there. I even had trouble getting the door open, but once inside, I tried to look like I was at least as comfortable as a day old peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a brown bag. I thought that my matching gray exercise pants and t-shirt, coordinating with the stripes on my running shoes (not that I was going to run, mind you) would give me some confidence. That faded when I noticed that no one else inside matched or seemed to care.

After putting my things in a square cubby (and wishing I could just climb in), I did what anyone seeking elusive fitness would do … I went to the equipment closest to the cubbies and farthest from all the panting people. I looked at it from every angle and couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how to start the thing. So I did the only reasonable thing; I went to the next apparatus closest to it. I stared some more and even pushed a few buttons. Nothing. Even the exercise bike seemed to know I didn't belong and wanted me to leave. I was one drop of sweat away from giving up and leaving. I can live with a "relatively" high cholesterol level … really. I noticed that, a few bikes down, two gray heads were bobbing up and down. That was it. I had to conquer the bike. If they could do it, I could at least look like I was doing it.

I decided that I should approach it more naturally, so I started stretching. I stretched every muscle I was aware of, all the while watching the woman beside me, as she dominated her piece of equipment, with her head in the "ipod zone". All the while, I was watching her out of the corner of my eye, trying to solve my power problem. Nothing. It was still a mystery. I'm sure she thought something really impressive was about to happen, considering all the stretching that was going on prior to my mounting the bike. I straddled the seat and started pushing buttons. The woman beside me was too intent, so it seemed, to notice how paralyzed my bike was. Right. I think that it's "exercise etiquette" to pretend we don't watch other people, but I think we all really do. I know she was watching from under her sweat band, because she finally turned to me in sympathy and smiled. She read my lips as I finally begged, "Is there something I'm missing? I can't get any power." Then she said something that may turn out to be a turning point for me: "You have to be in motion. Then you'll have power."

So I did. And I did. Miss Fitness beside me was so true. I didn't break any records that day. I think I burned all of 50 calories, but remember, the machine didn't like me, so I'm not sure if it told the truth. It felt like it was a lot more! But the truth was unmistakable. How often do we stand in our faith, staring at the Christian life, even watching strong people around us as they "run the race?" We wonder why we can't seem to make it work. So we stand there. Still. Staring. We may look the part. We even go through some of the motions that make it seem like we're about to get in the game. We may even take a seat. But then we just wait for something to happen.

I've heard it said that ships weren't meant to be anchored in the harbor; direction is set when they sail. We have to be in motion to turn on the power of God in our lives. We can't just stand there next to God's Word and His people and the invitation to call out to Him. We have to be actively engaged and in motion, and when we move spiritually, the Power of the Holy Spirit kicks in, and we grow strong. God makes His power available, and He just waits for us to get in motion. The guarantee of God's power is better than anything I saw posted in attempts to motivate me on the gym walls. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness," 2 Peter 1:3. That's power that is guaranteed to produce. Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

4 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

DevoLink said...

Deb and I joined the Rush this week. We feel the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have a gift at communication and writing.

No, go show Jeff up!

Kevin

LuvtheWord said...

Remember, when in doubt ... stretch. :)

Kristi said...

Oh, this made me smile - I have so been there! I hate going to gyms - and as you said, knowing that everyone is watching you as you don't know what you're doing! ;)

What a great spiritual application. Thanks!

Kristi said...

Just wanted to let you know that I had a chance to share this illustration with a friend who needed the encouragement last night - thanks for sharing your thoughts!