Spiritual Training Cycle: Surrender (wk. 13/13)
As I stepped outside this morning, I was greeted by the fragrance of a mountain laurel tree. For those of you not in Texas, mountain laurels produce these beautiful purple flowers that smell better than any boutique hotel you’ve ever walked into. Blooming mountain laurels can only mean one thing – Spring. And they’re not the only thing in bloom. Trees, flowers, grasses are all beginning to come alive as a demonstration of God’s restorative power. I’ve also began to see the early emergence of another kind of bloom – the weighted vest. If you’re a veteran CrossFitter, you know we’re on the eight-week runway to Murph. And for many athletes this time of year, including me, the focus is weight loss.
The definition of CrossFit is increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. As we grow in our fitness, we’re able to move larger loads across longer distances. But if you really want to maximize all your work in the gym, consider being the lightest load moving the largest load. Weight loss can have a huge impact not just on performance, but stamina in general. Let’s take a hypothetical athlete named Trey.
Let’s say Trey weighs 243 pounds. He shows up Monday for a mixture of burpees and farmer carry. Over the course of five rounds, Trey’s going to fall to the ground and get up 100 times and he’s going to carry two 50-pound dumbbells a total distance of 1,000 meters. If we do some quick math factoring in Trey’s bodyweight, he’s going to move a total of 24,300 pounds in the burpees (243 X 100), and he’s going to carry 343 pounds for 1,000 meters.
Now let’s say Trey breaks the carb addiction, dials the alcohol back, and loses 20 pounds. Just in the burpees alone, he’ll move 2,000 fewer pounds over the same workout. And his farmer carry is going to be easier as well, meaning he’ll go faster or expend less energy to move at the same pace he did when he was 20 pounds heavier. When weight loss is in your training plan, the goal should not be a specific weight. Rather, the goal is to “feel light.” If you know, you know.
When it comes to spiritual fitness, weight matters as well. Spiritual fitness is the development and consistent practice of exercises that connect you to God. Spiritually speaking, your fitness also helps you move large loads long distances. And you need that fitness because life brings load. Unlike the gym, we often don’t know when the difficulties we face will come to an end. But you know what makes it easier? Being the lightest load moving the largest load. And you may be carrying some unnecessary weight with the burden of self-forgiveness. The English Preacher Charles Spurgeon, a.k.a. your spiritual fitness coach, says it like this:
“If Christ has taken your sins upon Himself, - and He has truly done so if you have truly trusted Him, then your sins have ceased to be; they are blotted out forever.”
Blotted out forever. So, while God has forgiven you for the thing you said or the thing you did or the way you treated that person, you’re still carrying the shame or guilt or condemnation and it’s weighing you down. It’s time to forgive yourself. When I say that forgiveness is freedom, I mean it. It’s incredibly freeing, and I know from first-hand experience. In the past, I’ve said some mean and hurtful things to my wife. Things that I regret and wished I had never said. But she’s forgiven me. God’s forgiven me. And until I learned to start forgiving myself, I didn’t realize how heavy my life had been. Even when things were good, I was still walking around with the weight of shame and embarrassment. It was time to let go. It was time for weight loss.
Questions for Reflection:
Do you or anyone you know struggle with forgiving themselves? Why do you think it’s a struggle?
What has God forgiven you for that you’re still holding on to?