I played a lot of sports when I was a kid. Even in high school I tried playing some things. Mostly I had given up on trying.
In college somehow I decided to start working out at the gym across my dorm. I did really well. Lost some weight. But by second semester my enthusiasm was gone. I hated how I looked. So I gave up. I let myself go completely. I was in horrible health. For another 6 or 7 years I struggled with my weight.
My first job out of college had a gym before you leave the office. So I stopped by every day on my way out to do a light workout. Soon I was able to join the lunch time crew who worked out way better than I could ever have done on my own. And then I started Kung fu. And life was amazing. I felt great. I was fit. I had to buy new clothes. It was pretty cool.
Fast forward a couple of years. I end up in Fort Worth with my parents and with no job. So I found a Muay Thai gym. Earlier when I thought I was fit, I was delusional. Kicking, punching, elbowing, kneeing… and then CrossFit on top of that. Then I can safely say that I was fit. And that I looked like I was fit. But in my own skin I couldn’t see it. I still felt like I was heavy.
New job prevented me from working out so much. This has been the theme for the last five years. Every year I put on more weight. Sure, I do things every now and then, but I’m not fit, and I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been.
So. With all of that running through my past. I joined a CrossFit gym. I’ve been going since August. Five days a week. I haven’t seen a weight change because of my medicine, but I know that I’m getting fitter! All the people are awesome. Every day is different but it’s always challenging. I finally feel like I can actually reach my goals this time and sustain them.
The last couple of days have been especially rough. I could not see any break of light. I was trapped in the black thicket of my mind. I asked my parents to take me to the hospital because I didn’t feel safe from myself. I couldn’t go to work. My mom had to drive me to work, and I still couldn’t go in. Again I said I needed to go to the hospital. I feel ashamed of that. I feel like I should have been able to get a hold of myself. But I couldn’t. Did I not have enough courage? Did I not have enough strength? Was I not trying hard enough? How I must have let them down. They must have lost respect for me. As a business, how can they trust me? I’m not reliable. If I can’t work, how can I do anything else? These thoughts are plaguing me. How can I express these feelings to my employer? Should I even disclose it? These questions go unanswered.
But. I’m doing better. We didn’t go to the hospital. I’ve been continuing to go to the gym. It’s so hard, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I’ve lounged in my pajamas for half the day, but haven’t succumbed to sleeping. Went out for coffee, went errand shopping. Laid down and read a book. Essentially I’ve been avoiding stress. Not sure if that’s good, or? I haven’t confronted my negative feelings. I can think about it now though. My parents’ love over the last few days shows me how much my parents so care for me. They’ve dropped everything to help me feel better. My mom made me breakfast. She took me out to lunch. She bought me some office supplies (which I secretly love). I’ve been bombarded with love.
I’m avoiding writing about how God fits into this picture. Anything I can think to say is so cliché. But it doesn’t make it any less true. I’m trying to come up with a better way to say this. God has been like clear mountain air. You’re hiking through the mountains, enjoying the scenery and all the beautiful trees, and peaks out in the distance. You’re breathing the air and it’s beautiful. On the trail you see some bear scat. And you get scared. It’s fresh. It stinks, it’s in the middle of the path. There’s a bear nearby. So you proceed with caution. Maybe you even see the bear. But all around you is still the mountain air. You can count on it. It has never left you. So you keep going. Soon enough the air is fresh again. The pine trees and the mountain laurels are perfume. You realize how satisfying the air is to your lungs. You breathe it in and feel full of joy. And you keep going on your journey trusting that the air will always be with you. He is the breath of life. A that’s just one piece of God.
All this week, and especially today, I’ve been dreading going to work tomorrow. But I just thought to myself moments ago, that it’s just another thing that I’m doing. It’s no big deal! And I like doing things. It’s nice to get out of the house and have something to do. I need responsibilities in my life. So this is good! I meet with a cohort to talk about Bible study material. I also meet with a group of ladies to discuss the story of Exodus and how it relates to us today. I have a group that meets weekly for fellowship and catch up in our lives. I go to the gym regularly. So, work! It’s just another thing that I’m doing. And I get paid for it. Pretty sweet deal.
Wow. I feel so much better thinking this way. Being positive is refreshing. I’ve been feeling sick all day today with a headache and a stomach ache. I took medicine but eventually it wore off. I took a second dose and it actually kicked in and kept the headache away. I went to hang out with my mom in the kitchen while she was cooking, and I got a phone call from a friend. We were going to meet for coffee but instead I invited her over to dinner with our family. We all had a wonderful time. Dinner was amazing. I was finally feeling better, and we got to have great conversation. I love impromptu nights like this!
Tonight I’m feeling pretty good. Against the odds from last night and this morning, the day and evening went rather well! Can’t wait till work tomorrow!
This story begins with an idea that started with a thought. The idea was that we go on this backpacking trip. We get all our gear together. We gotta plan the routes. Find out our water cache locations. And then hit the trail. Shouldn’t have been a big problem. And in the end it wasn’t a big problem at all. We arrived Thursday night at 1 or 2 AM and slept in the car. In the morning we looked for the water cache locations but it was taking a long time. We decided to give up on trying to find the water cache locations an instead get some campsites for the rest of the length of our stay. We arranged that quite easily. Two of us went on a short 3 mile hike,. While I stayed at camp and rested after the relative chaos of the past few weeks. Saturday we hiked 8 miles. 2.5 to the Potato Hill Vista. Then we continued on to our 4 mile marker. We ate our lunch and then head back just in the nick of time before it got completely dark. It was a great hike, getting us right back to our campsite. So much fun! Sunday we did a shorter hike. Three miles around the lake. Leisurely. But we were still tired. And glad that we only did 3, anymore it would have been excessive. From there we drove out to Panorama Vista to see the sunset. It was beautiful and worth it.
We talked about our journeys through life. We made sarcastic jokes. We got along well. We talked about Jesus. It was a good time to connect and learn about our group. It wasn’t the trip that I had planned. But it was the trip that we needed to do. And I still want to go backpacking with these girls sometime in the future. God always knows his plan, and God is always putting his plan into action. We just have to go along with it. The next trip will be different, but it’s going to be wonderful.
I am so selfish. I am very self centered. And I’m very possessive. I know this about myself. I’m always trying to find what’s best for me in any situation. I want to know how I can be benefitted by doing different tasks for activities. Going out with friends will benefit me because I get out of the house, and perhaps learn a few more things about my friends because I like to collect information about people. What’s in it for me? Acquiring knowledge just to have, to make myself feel smarter and impress those people later with the trivia I remembered. I have things that are mine and mine alone. Anyone else using my things must use them with caution and must put it back exactly where they got it from. You can use my pen, but you must recap it properly, it must not have leaked, and you must put it back in the same pencil case from where I got it out from. I’m particular with my things. Food is mine too. You can’t have my food, because it’s mine. I saved that piece. This is my road. Why are you driving on it? You are allowed to drive on this road if you drive the same speed as me. Otherwise get off my road. Man, I could go on.
I’m a very selfish person. Everything has to be about me. Conversations with my parents are always about me. Conversations with my brother are always about me. Conversations inevitably turn into something about me. And generally I accept it and go on because I have a listener. I enjoy telling people about myself. But I don’t like this about me.
I’m trying to get better. I’m doing my best to turn my attention to the person I’m talking to and ask them questions about themselves. And only give brief anecdotes about myself, keeping the focus on them. People feel comfortable speaking about themselves. Gaining insight about who they are helps me to pray to God on their behalf.
I’m starting to come around to letting people share some of my stuff. I can’t think of an example right now, but I’m sure there was something. I’m trying to make sure my relationships revolve around who God is and what He’s doing in their lives so that we can praise Him and not ourselves.
All these changes have happened because of the grace that Jesus has given me. It’s repentance. I’m beginning to turn away from my old ways to turn to Jesus’s way. His way is loving, generous, good, kind, humble, beautiful & without selfish ambition. Since this is way, I must conform to it. And what a wonderful set of qualities to conform to. These are things that bring us true joy and delight in God and His grace. What else do you need to ask for? God is good.
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. He died. He was God’s only son. The one and only. God sent him to live a life of suffering. He suffered so much. All of those things you’ve been through, Jesus has gone through as well. He was rejected. He was bullied. He was ostracized. He was laughed at. He was called a drunkard. People said he was a lunatic. People did not believe him. He was betrayed. He was tested in the wilderness by all the things that frequently lead us astray, but he endured it. He endured it all until the very end. His death was prolonged agony, the epitome of suffering. It was horrific. But he endured it. Until is life gave out, he cried out “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:48 ESV). Fully man, separated from God the Father. This was God’s sacrifice of his only son for one purpose. The purpose of Jesus on the cross was while Jesus was perfect, he took on the sins of the people of the world as his own sin. And he put them to death. In the most terrifying way possible. So sin is put to death. Woo hoo! Then Christ is miraculously retuned. He came back . He stripped off all our sins. So that we can live a life forgiven and free. We are no longer slaves to our sins. We no longer have to be ashamed. Jesus took our shame for us. We no longer have to feel abandoned. We are God’s children. We are no longer hopeless. Jesus IS our hope, “For in this hope we were saved” (Romans 8:24 ESV).