My experience with strength training has been one of empowerment and a desire to connect and encourage like-minded people. If that’s the part of my story that you relate to and you’ve connected with other people like you, then I’m psyched. However, there is another layer to this story, and that is a different connection to my faith life. I know not everyone wants to talk about faith; somehow faith has become divisive in our country and in our time. That’s why I’ve made this part of the story a separate tab. If you’re also interested in this aspect of the story you can take it. If not, you can leave it. Up to you. It will be here later if you change your mind.
That initial conversation that I had with myself on the spin bike, the one that got me started in this direction, the one where I walked away possessing a little of my husband’s faith in me, wasn’t a conversation. It was a prayer. I was slogged down with all those feelings I described of being “not enough”, but the new questions I asked were based on a lesson I had recently taught my 5th & 6th grade Sunday School class. The questions were phrased like this: “God, what gifts and talents have you given me? What have you made special in me that I’m supposed to be using better?”
Initially, the answers I came up with did not seem particularly compelling. In fact, they seemed somewhat lame: I love to workout and that’s when I’m happiest; I’m am bothered by injustice and poverty and exploitation and war; I’m a decent writer. Big whoop. The only one of those items I’d consistently acted on was the exercise piece, and if you’ve read around on this blog, you know it wasn’t always like that was coming from a good place in my mind. In fact, what I had done in comparison to what I hadn’t done made me feel selfish. I had exercised because I liked it; I did it for me. Maybe, I thought, there was a way I could use exercise to help other people. Maybe I could get my personal trainers certification and run boot camps or classes as fundraisers to support organizations that did a better job of addressing the big issues like injustice. The idea seemed impractical, illogical, weird.
But then, louder than the self-criticism, uncertainty, and second guessing, I heard a different thought – bold and confident. “Faith is acting even when you can’t see the outcome.” The voice was so authoritative and commanding, definitely not my usual way of thinking. It caught my attention. The result was that I walked out of the spin room that day, fairly confident that my next step was to pursue certification as a personal trainer, a step that seemed relatively manageable and frankly pretty fun, but beyond that … not much.
Some people love uncertainty and adventure. They dive straight into the deep end in a bikini. Me? Maybe not so much. I like to test the water, and be a little more sure of what to expect. I like to know where I’m going. Somehow, that day though, it didn’t matter that the final destination was uncertain. Somehow that day, my husband’s faith in me allowed me to put a little more trust in God. A baby step, … but that’s ok. Pastor Earl tells us that initially God asks us just to take those small, tentative steps: “The way out of the darkness that fills our lives is not to have the perfect love, the absolute confidence, the great and powerful faith. It starts with hesitation but trusting enough to follow the instruction to care for those who are easiest.” Start with what’s easy, what we’re good at, by using the gifts God has given us. Just a baby step, an “imperfect trust”. The next steps will follow.