At 4:30 a.m. the alarm clock shatters my deep slumber. I know I cannot press the snooze button (there's not a minute to spare), so I force my body out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom to find the pile of workout clothes that were set out the night before.
It's Day 3 of Fitness BOOT CAMP and every muscle in my body is aching. If I consider the hour of "FUN" in store for me today, I might seriously talk myself out of going. So, instead I check the weather to see how many layers I need to wear.
Thirty-seven degrees. Perfect. So... about 37 layers should do the trick. (I'm pretty sure that I could not survive living any place where precipitation comes down in some form other than rain drops).
After running several laps of warm-ups, my lungs are making some serious complaints and my legs have reason to be upset, too. But my instructor's orders are drowning out my objections, so I move quickly to the next activities.
I think it's ironic that I have such fond memories of jumping jacks, jumping rope and relay races from my childhood. Because these same activites are torturous punishment for a 30-something year old, "moderately fit" woman who happens to be carrying around an extra ten pounds.
I'm concentrating hard on the instructor's commands because I don't want to be called out like the girl next to me ("ARE YOU BRINGING IN AN AIRPLANE OVER THERE - WATCH YOUR HANDS!!"), but my balance is off and I think I might fall over if I "STOP LOOKING AT THE GROUND!"
I'm thinking about how uncomfortable I am. Actually, I'm wallowing in it.
And then he says, "YOU KNOW, IT'S O.K. TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE!" (He talks in ALL CAPS!! Most good drill sargeants do.)
It seems like a simple statement at first, but I begin to wonder if I truly believe that. For instance, when my heater doesn't kick on instantly to ensure my house stays at a comfortable 72 degrees, do I remember that it's o.k. to be uncomfortable?
When a friend is indifferent or rude, do I feel like I deserve better treatment, or do I remember that it's o.k. to be uncomfortable every once in a while?
When I'm waiting in line, when I encounter poor customer service, when I'm hungry, when I face adversity, when my three-year old is crawling up my painfully sore quads to get a little closer, when the bank account dictates that I reprioritize my "necessities"...
Do I really believe that it's o.k. to be uncomfortable every once in a while?
Bootcamp Man is promising that we'll reap the benefits of a little discomfort. Leaner. Firmer. Disciplined. Healthy.
As I contort my weary body on the damp workout mat, I'm reminded of some of Christ's earliest followers. Their stories are filled with examples of suffering and discomfort, but always with the promise of God's faithfulness attached. They knew that there would be many trials in this world. The promise to take heart because He has already overcome the world is a promise we can still claim today (See John 16:33).
And I'm realizing that it's not really about this physical discomfort at all right now, but about my general willingness to be uncomfortable... especially in my faith.
I love the way that the Message relates the opening verses of I Peter 4:
(1-2) Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want
Right now, I want a soft warm bed and a licensed massage therapist. But that won't make me leaner, firmer, more disclipined OR healthier - in my physique or in my faith.
So... the alarm's set for 4:30 a.m. Three days down. Seven days to go!
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