A few years ago I participated in a health and wellness group with some friends from church. For 12 weeks we worked out together and learned about food and sleep. We studied God’s Word to understand more of what the Scriptures say about stewarding our bodies for our good and His glory. We met at 6am, three mornings a week, and the workouts were intense. They included plenty of jump rope, push-ups and sit-ups, and a ridiculous amount of burpies. I definitely had a love-hate relationship with this group.
Thirty-five other men and women participated in the group. The age range went from young 20’s to late 50’s, and included a few people who hadn’t worked out much in years alongside former college athletes. I was in my mid-40’s when I went through the group, and definitely fell on the “less fit” side of the wellness spectrum. I hustled, worked hard, and committed 100% to the process. As I’ve written before, I need all the help I can get when it comes to wellness.
I joined this group because I needed some help getting healthier. My father died of heart disease at a young age, and I’ve struggled with high blood pressure and high cholesterol for as far back as I can remember. Yes, I wanted to learn what God wants for my wellness, but honestly, more than anything, I just wanted to get more fit and lose some weight.
I Hate You, Burpies
One morning we had a particularly hard workout. We had to do a large number of wall ball exercises mixed in with some burpies. From the start of the workout I knew I would struggle with this one. About 7-8 minutes into the workout, a few people finished their reps. As the seconds ticked by, more of my teammates finished until I was the only one left. I had completed about 75% of the workout, but everyone else finished their exercises.
At this point, my teammates did a great job of encouraging me and cheering me on to finish well. I didn’t receive their encouragement. Instead I started dropping four-letter words under my breath, and a handful of words not so under my breath. I hated the workout and I let my language reflect my anger. Even recounting this story, I’m so embarrassed by my temper tantrum.
We always gathered together after our workout. I apologized to my teammates and asked for their forgiveness for my language and anger. They all forgave me and encouraged me for taking the step to apologize and seek forgiveness. I left the workout group discouraged about my time, but encouraged by the grace and forgiveness of my workout partners.
About 20 minutes later, my friend Bobby (the leader of our group) came to my office and knocked on my door. Here’s what went down in my office that day.
Bobby (frustrated): “I don’t know what to do with you!”
Me: “I know. I’m sorry Bobby. My times were terrible and I don’t seem like I’m making progress.”
Bobby: “I’m not worried about your time and progress, Scott.”
Me: “OK. I already apologized for my language. Is that what you’re mad about?”
Bobby: “No, it’s not your times and it’s not even your language. It’s your pride problem. You’re prideful and you worry way too much about what others think of you.”
Me: “My pride problem? Seriously? Pride? I’m worried about being overweight and dying. I need to lose some weight and get better scores and times. I’m concerned about my language, but more worried about my lack of wellness. I don’t have a pride problem!!”
If someone says they don’t have a pride problem, they have a pride problem. The problem was I didn’t sign-up for this workout group to work on my pride. I signed up to get healthier.
I’ve Got A Problem
But isn’t it just like God to lovingly use something like a workout group to help us not get more fit, but to address issues like pride and approval of others. God used that nasty workout to help me understand that I worried way too much about what others thought of me. I cussed and got angry because I was embarrassed about a poor workout in front of my peers. I was way too concerned about what they thought of me and how I was perceived.
Instead, I want to submit myself to the Lord (James 4:7) and humble myself before Him (James 4:10). This experience was so humbling to me—I came in last in the workout, but more than anything, God used my friend to sharpen me (Proverbs 27:17) and help me address my struggle with pride.
A few weeks ago I told my friend Bobby that I loved him and that I would never forget the way he challenged me that day. I’ll never forget the courage it took for him to come into my office and sharpen me. Give me many more friends like Bobby who loved me enough to have the hard conversation with me.
I won’t even for a second to pretend to know what He’s going on in you or through you. But it does bear pausing and asking how God might be at work right now in your life. In the same way he used my wellness struggles to teach me about pride, He might be up to something in the midst of today’s biggest battle in your life.
- What is God currently doing in your life? I’ve found myself asking a similar question many times over the past year.
- What is God doing in the midst of the pandemic?
- What is God doing in your marriage struggles?
- What is God doing in your loneliness?
- What is God doing when He won’t answer your prayers in your addictions and struggles?
- What is God doing as you seek to parent your children?
- What is God doing in your infertility? In your miscarriage? In your depression? In your unemployment?
Feel free to share today what God is doing in your life. I’d love to pray with you and encourage you.