This may sound a little odd, coming from a fitness class instructor, but I haven’t been to the gym in quite a while. Other than my own class that meets at the park, I tend to work out at home because it fits my schedule better. Lately, I’ve been hitting the gym here and there, but it tends to be during the slow period in the late afternoon so I’ve pretty much got the place to myself. This past weekend was different. I was out of town so I went to the hotel’s gym and spa. There were quite a few people there but what I noticed the most were the grimaces on the faces of almost everyone in the gym. Just about everyone, including myself, had their headphones on and were in their own little worlds. Most barely made eye contact with anyone else. Everyone just seemed so serious.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I was judging these people at the gym. I wasn’t. I promise. I don’t know the struggles each one of those strangers were facing that day. But God knew, and I lifted each one of them up to Him in prayer. I really felt like each one of them were in chains that morning—whether they were self-imposed chains, like they felt like they had to look cool or tough while in the gym with a whole bunch of strangers, or they felt chained down by their circumstances. I just felt that they needed FREEDOM, the freedom that only Jesus Christ can bring. And when you truly embrace that freedom and give your entire self to Christ, you feel free in ALL aspects of your life, including your fitness life.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”—Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
When I looked around at all these strangers at the gym, my mind immediately recalled our previous park workout during which we were singing the theme song to the old TV show, “Laverne and Shirley” (long story but it had us cracking up!). Later in the workout, we did a killer core set, but it wasn’t quite so bad since we were using our “drumsticks” to distract from the real work our ab muscles were putting in. We had some good laughs that day!
The point is working out can actually be FUN! Yes, you may be doing uncomfortable things. Yes, you will be working your muscles in ways that they may not normally be used. And yes, there is a high probability that you will be sore afterwards. However, it can still be fun. You can laugh (even at yourself), you can play, you can be goofy, and you can do all of that while you are sweating and moving your body. And it can be freeing when you view it as a “get to” instead of a “have to”–a way to praise our heavenly Father by moving your body the way it was designed to be moved, and giving Him all of your life, not holding back any aspect, part, or relationship from Him.
I pray that today is the day you embrace your freedom in Christ. I pray that today is the day that you leave the chains that have kept you bound behind you. And once those chains are off, I encourage to run into the arms of our heavenly Father so that you remain free indeed.