Gym Class. I’m not talking about third hour gym class where you play dodgeball and try not to sweat in hopes you won’t have to take a shower afterwards, I’m talking big girl gym class. Gym class that can make the most confident of adults feel like they want to hide under a rock. We either love them or hate them, I happen to love and hate them.
My commitment to the gym has, to put it nicely, “fluctuated” over the past year and a half. I pretty much took a six month hiatus…..times two. But now I’m back. And today, as I walk into the gym, I am warmly greeted by a young man asking me if I’m here for the 11 o’clock class. “mmmm….nope. Definately not here for the class.” I hear myself say in response. “Are you sure? You should take the class.” He retorts. All of a sudden my life is on pause and I get into my head. Maybe he thinks you need the class because your “jelly” is not quite up to par with Beyonce’. Maybe the trainers have been watching you and told him to suggest a class so you can lose a little weight. Maybe he gets a bonus for how many people he signs up for class,.. Seriously, my mind. Unpause. I again decline the class and walk back to the locker room.
As I’m lacing up my Brooks, I start thinking back to the “good ole days”, when I used to do gym classes all the time, so why was I so opposed today? I really want to just get on my elliptical, 4th one from the wall in front of t.v. number 10 and watch the cooking channel so I can virtually pacify my cravings. 30 minutes, 250 calories, totally predictable and totally non-threatening. But nope, that little nagging voice keeps encouraging me to take the class.
So it’s eleven o’clock and I’m standing around with 5 other brave souls as our “coach” sets up and explains our 8 stations. Back in the day, this class would have been a piece of cake, but now it felt like American Ninja Warrior. My heart starts pounding a little harder and I can feel the pits of my arms starting to perspire, and we haven’t even started the class yet. There was the fear of failure, the fear of doing something wrong, the fear of someone I knew seeing me looking like a complete idiot.
“Ok, here we go!” coach shouted. As I made it through each station I started gaining confidence, and as much as I wanted to laugh every time coach yelled “yeah! you got it, nice form!” there was something encouraging about it. Something that made me want to try harder, push myself further. I watched as each one of my team mates pushed themselves to the point of exhaustion and it inspired me to do my part. We were able to push ourselves further than we thought we were capable of because of the pressure, because of the eyes watching, because of the commitment.
I think it’s easy for us to stay in our comfort zone. To isolate ourselves from community because it’s safe and predictable, but this isn’t how God intended us to thrive. Community keeps us accountable. It encourages us to keep going when we want to quit. It sees our potential and doesn’t allow us to settle for something that is less than our best. Community can also be scary because it means you have to be vulnerable. It means that when you try, you might fail and there will be people there watching. But true community will surprise you because they won’t laugh and scoff, they’ll help you up, applaud your effort and encourage you to keep going.
My prayer for today is that we have the courage to seek out and become part of a community. If you are already part of a strong community then my prayer for you is that you would seek out those who need one and invite them in.
What holds you back from engaging in a community?
Think of a time when you connected with a group of people. How did it make you feel?
True or False: The key to community is relationship.