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Spiritual Training Cycle: Perspective (wk. 12/13)

As I awoke Monday morning, I casually glanced at my gym’s WOD. Suddenly my weary eyes sharpened with rapid focus. Staring right back at me was this – 75 Double-Unders. And not just one round, we were looking at close to three rounds. My heart began beating as if I was already jumping rope. Later, when I arrived at the gym, I did my usual warm-up, knocked out a little jump rope progression, and had a small set of double-unders to cap it off. I laid my rope out in a nice little rainbow shape ready for the workout. As the last beep on the clock sounded, we took off on a quick run to prime the heartrate. Jogging back in the door, I walked to my rope, took a deep breath, and prepared to rip off 75 doubles. Before the very first spin could even happen, chaos ensued. The left handle went flying off my rope and landed in a sea of kettlebells. The microscopic nut which held it in place gave a brief reflection in the light before it disappeared. As I stood there holding one handle staring at my half-limp rope, I knew I was about to be humbled.

I’ve been humbled by plenty of workouts. I’ve been humbled by plenty of races. But I don’t know that I’ve ever been humbled by a rope malfunction. It was one of those things I just couldn’t hide. I was closest to the clock which meant most of my buddies were staring in my direction. I could feel the collective sigh in the gym, like they were all thinking, “poor guy.” At least that’s how it felt. But I kept it together. I walked over and grabbed one of the ropes available for any athlete that doesn’t have their own, which was currently me. The rope didn’t spin like mine did. It wasn’t as long as mine was. I went from getting double-unders to practicing double-unders to failing double-unders to ultimately single-unders. My state of humbled was disintegrating into humiliation.

Humiliation means, “to cause a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity.” Sometimes in our own lives, we find ourselves in situations which can do just this. And it’s our choice to some extent. Had I gone with pride and committed to 75 double-unders no matter what, the result would have been about 10 minutes of complete jump rope disaster. I’m pretty sure I would have had some nice fresh rope lashes on the skin to go with it. As you know, humiliation also has feelings associated with it. I would have been embarrassed and probably somewhat ashamed. I would have felt dumb that I couldn’t muster up the courage to swallow my ego and just do something else. And that would have led to regret which can take a long time to let go of.

But I chose humility, not humiliation. Humility is meekness, lowliness, and absence of self. It is an inward heart attitude that expresses itself outwardly in how we treat others and view ourselves. Humility is how we approach God. When we recognize that our selfishness and self-centered ways can’t be resolved on our own, we begin the journey of humility. I knew I was no longer going with plan A. During the rest of the workout, I just kept thanking God for the opportunity to move my body. I reminded myself that I was getting a great workout, no matter what I was doing. And I got to enjoy the fitness show going on all around me. The attitudes or actions preceding a potential moment of humiliation are great teachers for the future. As we become more aware of how what we’re doing is leading us in an unhealthy direction, the better we can humble ourselves. We can choose humility, not humiliation. This is what it means to be humbled.

Questions for Reflection:

Can you recall a humiliating event in your life? What were you able to learn from it?

What does Luke 14:11 mean to you?

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