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Don’t give up because someone else is rude, mean, or discouraging. And keep in mind, to every person you meet–you are every church, every Christian..you are Jesus to them. Don’t you be the reason someone else wants to give up.
When your wife gets home and you ask how it went and her reply is, “Terrible, I cried the whole way home.” … the right thing to do is hug her. Thank you, God, that I have a husband who knows this.
Have you ever stepped out to do something that was out of your comfort zone, hoping that you’d be rewarded for your courage only to be shot down? Yeah. That. I’m not talking about outright personal rejection, just something going in a generally sucky way.
We all have areas we are self-conscious of, and for me it’s always been my weight. After being motivated by my sister’s commitment to working out, I decided to jump in and join a gym that had just opened up about 3 minutes from our house. I saved up and had enough to pay for 4 months as a motivator to not give up.
I’m not a ‘gym’ kind of person. There was a season, about 15 years ago, that I worked with a trainer and felt strong and healthy and great. But it’s been awhile.
So I called and made an appointment to go in. I walked in feeling unsure and pretty nervous, but encouraged that I was doing something to better my health. I left (less than 5 minutes later) with every feeling of ‘this is not a place for me’ reinforced tenfold in my mind.
I was greeted at the door by a friendly young lady who knew my name and escorted me back to the office. She introduced me to another lady, who pulled out a chair and slid a membership form across the desk to me.
“I’ll need your driver’s license and insurance card,” she said, pushing a pen over at me to get started on the form. No “What can I tell you about the gym?” or, “What are your fitness goals?” She was about the business of adding a member.
My heart sank immediately, as I had been hoping to experience some of the encouragement I’d been reading about as I spent the last few weeks reading success stories and motivating trainers talk about their gym transformations. But I consciously told myself that I was not going to let it deter me from my goal, so I smiled and looked in my purse.
As I was opening my wallet to pull them out, I asked what the cost was. (I had an idea, but there was nothing listed on their site officially, so I thought it a good idea to ask…financial responsibility and all that).
She told me the monthly cost and added, “…and that’s with a 12 month contract.” Surprised, I said that I thought it was a month to month payment, and told her that I’d saved up enough for 4 months.
Her reply: “Well I can do that, but then you have to pay a $50 enrollment fee.”
That’s when I decided that it was time to go.
Above All, Love
I’ve written before about the church being like a gym, and that came to mind as I drove home. I still believe that both an actual gym and the church need to push us to be better and achieve fitness (physical or spiritual). But man, can I see clearly the draw of Planet Fitness and its ‘No Judgement Zones’. They were made for people walking out of experiences like this. Marketing genius.
I began to think about people who’ve had bad experiences with churches. Even though my kind husband was trying to encourage me, his suggestion that I try another gym felt like an invitation to subject myself to further pain.
At that moment, that lady was every gym to me.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
To every person you meet – you are every church, every Christian …you are Jesus to them.
And we can either leave people feeling like they are just a notch on our spiritual belt so that they go off in search of a ‘no-judgement church’, or we can love them. I truly believe that Christians (even salty ones) are some of the most genuinely loving people on earth.
But I just as strongly believe that we need to be a bit more intentional in making people feel that love, especially in the church.
“Above all, love each other deeply..” (1 Peter 4:8) Above all.
Don’t Give Up
I will try another gym. Maybe. Maybe I’ll invest my money in some home exercise equipment. Maybe my kids will have to be on the alert for mom dancing more. I’m not giving up because ultimately, my health is my choice. I could blame a rude, mean lady at the gym, but she isn’t going to pay the consequence of me being overweight, I am.
I shared this image on our Facebook page recently, and I’m reminded of it as I think about the kind of person I want to be.
I would love to know…How have you made fitness a part of your life?