Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ode to Canon City Community Fitness

It's been going on for almost a year now, this obsession of mine, and I guess it's time I say something about it. It started casually enough. I was just gonna try it and see what it was like. All my friends were doing it. But once became twice and twice became four times a week and it's been going on like this for months.

I'm talking about Canon City Community Fitness. My friend, Ian, started this gym last year. I was skeptical at first because Ian is one of those guys that we normal people call "fitness crazy." He LOVES to work out. He LOVES to run for pete's sake. And he LOVES to talk about working out and running. Um...just so you don't get the wrong idea...he's also a really super cool guy who loves Jesus and loves on kids as a young life leader. And he happens to be married to one of my very best friends, and he is one of Loren's very best friends, so you know he's totally rad.

Anyway...he started this crossfit type gym. Don't worry if you don't know what that means. We can't all be like Ian. The general idea is that you come, during any of the 7 classes offered every day (or all of them if you're crazy), and are personally coached through a 15-20 minute workout (sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little shorter) that is different every day. One day you might be lifting weights and doing pull ups. Another day you might be running and doing push ups. One day you might be doing all of those things in a dreaded 20 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible). But EVERYDAY, you are guaranteed to be working your butt off.

I don't look like a completely different person. I have lost some inches and a pants size (or 2) and gained some muscle definition that I'm proud of (I do look a little different!). But, here's why I'm crazy about it. All of the sudden, I love to exercise. I look forward to working out hard and collapsing at the end of it. And that, my friends, is kind of a miracle. Because I was always that girl who felt the pressure to exercise and ALWAYS hated it. And because somehow, Ian has taken something that I needed to do but didn't want to do and made it something that I love to do.

Wanna hear another miracle? I don't blink an eye anymore when Ian tells me we have to do 150 burpees or double unders. I just go to work. And I leave there sweaty and gross and barely able to breath and also a little smiley and proud of the way my new, more fit body can endure such torture.

So...I'll say it. I LOVE TO EXERCISE! Oh my.....I've become one of those girls.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sugar...And Missing It

Loren is gone to Canada this week, training at a Young Life camp called Malibu, for our upcoming assignment there this summer. And I've learned something while he's gone. It turns out that, especially when Loren is away, I tend to reward myself with sugar (preferably chocolate, but I’m generally not picky) when I am productive with my time. And, let me just say that I'm fairly generous with the definition of productive. For instance, getting all three kids through the day and then to bed at a reasonable hour counts as "productive." I've learned this about myself because I've given up sugar for Lent this year and it is especially hard right now. I'm dreaming about Cadbury Mini Eggs all through the day. Oh Lent…how you expose us.

Actually, God is using this whole experience to expose more than just my addiction to sugar. We are a people obsessed with productivity. And it has creeped in to how we live out our faith as well. Last week, in my Lenten devotional, I read the story of the woman who anoints Jesus' feet with expensive oil. It captivated me and I read it again, twice. Walter Wangerin Jr. says this about it, "The disciples were offended by an act that produced nothing, accomplished nothing, fed no poor, served no need....but Jesus called it 'beautiful'." This act, which had nothing to offer except it's wonderfulness, was beautiful to him.

The thought of that has been running through my mind for the last week. See, I don't really struggle with how much Jesus loves me (right now). I know it's true. But I do struggle sometimes with the notion that I am not doing enough for him as a stay at home mom. Surely, the Lord wants me to do more than get my kids another snack or put them in timeout again. Surely he even wants more than my attempts to love them well and teach them about him. Am I really as valuable to his Kingdom in this season where I feel sidelined in a lot of ways? That's why I was so drawn to this story. The woman offered nothing reasonably productive but her love, but Jesus honored her, so much so that he declared that "wherever the gospel is preached what she has done will be told in memory of her."

In the midst of (skeptically) thinking through what it means that I am valuable regardless of my rate of productivity, and that I create beauty every day just by loving him, I met with a sweet college friend of mine yesterday. We've been friends since she was a freshman in high school and I adore her. Actually, adore might not be a strong enough word. She is home from college on Spring Break and she called me up and brought me coffee and came over to chat. She sat on my couch and shared her beautiful heart with me and in my rush to be an encouraging, productive voice in her life, I missed it. What I gave her in return was a lot of mumbo jumbo christian stuff that was a lot more about me than it was about her. I recognized it the instant she left and I told her so. She sweetly texted back, "It's alright." Part of me had hoped she didn't notice. She definitely did.

Way to bring your point home, God. Props for creativity and timing. But I'm grateful for your tender mercy in exposing me. It always brings me back to you. To beauty.

What I should have done yesterday was just love Jesus and love Lindsay. What could be more encouraging than that? What could be more beautiful? My desire to produce always gets in the way. Not because it's wrong to want to be used by God, but because it is always about me. I've missed countless moments of beauty because of my desire to make myself valuable to the Kingdom. And I'm much more comfortable selling my oil and producing a tangible result from the profits, so to speak. But, I'm learning about the simple beauty of just loving Jesus, too. Of just sitting with him and offering him whatever I have. And actually, I do believe he can use that to produce something quite lovely. Even if that something is only me.