Thursday, February 05, 2009

Why I Don't Do "Trainers"

Several of my friends are currently involved in a Boot Camp right now. This is the third of four weeks and I'm so proud of them for all of their hard work. This is the same boot camp John did, however, it's been modified to just meet once a day instead of twice - and is set in the middle of the day to work out best for "Stay-at-Home" moms.

I've been encouraged on a number of occasions to participate in one of the versions of these camps - especially this one. But, my answer is an adamant "No - it's not for me"*. And, I truly believe that. It's not that I think I couldn't do it, it's more of what it would take for me to do it. Not only physically, but emotionally. I think I would constantly be beating myself up that I wasn't able or willing to run faster, didn't study hard enough for the written tests, or pull myself up enough repetitions in the sit-ups. I'd like to think otherwise, but I know I would be continuously scanning my "competition" - wishing them well with my lips, but constantly wondering if I had enough in me to run faster, lift more, or test higher. I can say all of this with quite a bit of certainty because that's what high school was like. And, more than likely, why I still have weekly dreams of not measuring up.

And, along with that - if there is a standard set before me - an expectation - I will generally try to prove that I can achieve it, but unfortunately do it with a great deal of resentment - and thus, false motives. If a coach yells at me, wanting more, you can bet I'd deliver, but it would kill me that I hadn't been able to deliver prior to her asking, thus not being good enough.

So, I can guarantee, if I were to work with a trainer, I'd be in better physical shape than I am now. But, emotionally - very doubtful.

As you can guess, the motivation of this post has nothing to do with exercise. I recently went through a circumstance with someone where it was suggested I "could have been doing more" in the past. I won't go into details, and trust me when I say that this person has a tremendous love for me and only wants what is best. But, hearing that - Oh man, it put me in a tailspin. "How dare they suggest that?" "Who do they think they are?" "Did I ask for them to be my ______ "trainer"?" Bottom line, I will learn SO much better if a person walks their life in demonstration of success..... whether that be their exercise regime and the way they feel about their body and health, whether that be the kind of family unit they have and how their children/husband responds to them, whether that be the way they walk their Christian walk - or serve others..... than I will ever learn if someone orders me to "task". Sure, that diet, work-out, Quiet Time, or whatever else might happen - but at what cost?

This all makes me so thankful for the discovery of God's abundant grace that I really came to realize in college. I grew up with a Grandma that I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with. Grandpa was around too, but Grandma did a lot more of the talking.....! Although she was a very strong Christian she did not do a very good job sharing the concept of grace. She loved me unconditionally (almost in a smothering way), but always wanted more-of and for me. If there's any adult scarring I have in my life, that occurred as a child - I would have to say this would be it. I don't handle well folks who ask for more than I'm willing to give of my own volition. I get very defensive when folks point out my faults. And, I ache inside when I feel like I've let folks down - and they tell me that. (Who doesn't?).

The change that happened when I realized God loves me through grace completely transformed my view of my Heavenly Father. You mean, it doesn't matter how much I do, how many people I witness to, how often I'm in my Bible, how often I screw matter what - if I've invited Him into my heart and accepted His gift.....I'm GUARANTEED a place in Heaven?! That is SO NOT the message I understood growing up. I realized I instantly wanted to give even more of myself to Jesus - to serve Him even more - to spend time with Him even more..... NOT BECAUSE I HAD TO, but because I WANTED TO. What a concept!

So, to pull it full circle - I'm so glad I have a Heavenly Father that I can turn to as my ultimate "Trainer". His Holy Spirit does a fantastic job nudging me when I'm not where I'm supposed to be, reminding me of God's love, but not letting me be content unless I'm striving for where He wants me to be. With God as my "Trainer" - I no longer feel like the bar is so high, I'll never reach it, or I will always fall no matter how many times I jump for it. I also know that what my "Trainer" wants for me is SO UNIQUE, SO PERSONAL, that there is no way I can look around to others and make comparisons. He knows me INSIDE AND OUT and therefore knows exactly the precise place he has for me - in ministry, as a wife, as a mother, or through any other role. If my place doesn't look like everyone else's - as long as I'm confident I'm in God's place - I'm okay with that.

So, now, if only I can take that confidence to beat down all of those old belief systems....sigh. But until I get there.... I don't do "trainers".**

* If you ever hear of me signing up for some kind of boot camp and think I've become a hypocrite - I'm not ruling all of these sorts of things out - I'm just not a big fan of the way this one is structured - there's always a "winner declared" - points that are recorded, and this trainer is a little "strong" in his personalities and opinions....not for me.

**I'm also not saying that there's not a place for teachers, mentors, pastors, Bible Study leaders, etc. in my life - I'm just saying that they won't be invited to act as my "Holy Spirit".


Of course, I laid in bed thinking about this last night (wrote it yesterday) - and ON THE FLIPSIDE......... Challenge is a wonderful thing! Just knowing these ladies are doing great things for their bodies is making me want to do the same for me..... and the comradarie that they are all feeling as they go through this together - I'd be loving that!

So, don't get me wrong, here - in general - to be encouraged, held accountable, motivated, even corrected, challenged, etc..... ALL GOOD STUFF........... (I hope this post makes sense, don't be surprised if it ends up deleted!)


Growin' with it! said...

grace....means everything to me. awesome post steph!

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! Tahnks for laying it all out there - you are so on target.

Anonymous said...

I go through a lot of this stuff too. As an employee who sometimes has to hear constructive criticism I amaze myself with how I instantly get all defensive and angry inside...I mean, I do believe we're all human and make mistakes, but that's not how I respond internally. Which means I still have some maturing to do! So many of the Proverbs hit home on issues like this, like how it's better to be wounded by a friend than an enemy....And certainly many biblical figures had to come to a place where their security as followers of Yahweh/Christ was "enough." Slowly, slowly I feel I'm getting to that place and starting to filter everything others say and do to me through God's grace, which means letting not only myself but also THEM off the hook. Great post, Steph.

Beverly said...

I think your post makes perfect sense. I can completely relate to what you said and believe we sometimes have to grow into our own skins so we can know what is right for others might just not be right for us. AND...that is OK!! God always meets us where we are right now.

Thanks for sharing your heart!