Crossfit vs. Comfort Idol. Game On. (Part Two)

Crossfit Day One:
The anxiety started as soon as I woke up. My stomach felt sick. My heart was racing. In just a few short hours, I would be miserable. Please. I was already miserable. Didn’t this anxiety count as a calorie burner? My heart was racing like I had just run a mile.

I shelved all of my excuses that were flooding my mind to get out of this upcoming awfulness and drove the very long 3 miles to “the box”.

I was right, it was awful. It was hard. I’m not coordinated. Nothing in my body or mind was prepared for that kind of difficulty. I was sweating profusely. And then he said those awful words – alright guys, let’s get started. Wait, we’re not done? That wasn’t the work out? Nope. Just the warm up.

I looked around me in panic thinking I would find the rest of the crew collapsed over with pain in their sides. Surely they feel as awful as I do. No one else was sweating. No one else was breathing hard. Nope, just me.

For the next hour, everything in my body hated me. It was stretched and pulled and asked to lift heavy things (well, okay, it was just a PVC pipe, but still). My heart was about to explode in my body, my sides were screaming in pain. I nearly threw up during the cool down. This is no cool down. This is extended torture. How is this supposed to feel good?

I collapsed when I got home. I was dreading climbing the stairs to take a shower, dreading having to stand up in the shower, dreading having to pull my arms over my head, dreading even laying here. Nothing could hurt more.

Until it did…

Crossfit Day Two:
I woke myself up with a painful groan. What in the world? Oh, I was just trying to roll over, no big deal. Except that it was a big deal. My insides were tearing. I put my feet down on the ground and used every bit of furniture around me to help me get out of bed.

No way will I be able to work out again. Here comes the anxiety…

I spent all day at work complaining to anyone who would listen. You would have thought that I had been tortured against my will instead of the reality that I went on my own volition. Typing has never been so grueling in all of my life.

I brought my bag of workout clothes with me so I could leave straight from the office. I didn’t trust myself to make any stops.

The coach took us through several movements. All of which I thought would kill me. But I didn’t die. I didn’t fall down. My skin didn’t tear and my “muscles” didn’t fall out.

I made it. I couldn’t believe it. I worked out two days in a row. I was feeling great about myself. I was feeling like I had really accomplished something…

Crossfit Day Three:
Until I tried to get out of bed. Oh my heavens. I couldn’t do it. I had to have assistance to get up today. Kyle helped pull me up and I grunted with every move I made.

In all of these negatives, I found a positive: I planned and thought a whole lot more than I normally do. I drank less coffee because I didn’t want to have to walk to the restroom that many times. I thought through everything I needed before I got up. It masqueraded as efficiency, but it was really just fear. Fear of how awful I would feel when I had to use any muscle in my body.

This is me…

Image

Just to clarify – this is PRE-workout. I am entirely too prideful to post a post-workout pic.

I actually had fun this night.
I know. I can’t believe I just typed that either.

But I did. Because it was true. It was also true that I was getting excited that my body didn’t own me. (Let’s be real, I was also feeling pretty grateful that I was still alive.)

It had been a really long time since I had worked that hard. It had been forever since I had pushed myself past what felt at least okay, or not that bad. I looked around me at the end of the workout, fist bumped my new crossfit friends, and shakily walked back to my car.

What in the world was happening? Where did I find the energy to smile at the end of this awful session? How did I just enjoy that?

And then it hit me. I knew what was happening.

Crossfit vs. Comfort Idol. Game On.

{I have entirely too many thoughts on this subject for one post…so here come a few!}

I love this definition of an idol: a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.

This is my comfort idol. Incredibly real, yet unseen.

My comfort idol is ginormous, happy buddha ginormous. Merry when appeased, vicious when denied. I have spent a good portion of my life making sure this guy is content. You want more food? Sure. You want more drink? No problem? You want to be lazy? You deserve it. You want to be angry, sad, mean, selfish, rude? You can’t help how you feel. You want to quit? I get it. Do it. It wasn’t meant for you to do.

On and on. It gets anything and everything it wants. I keep it happy, it keeps me happy.

Or does it?

There are so many things in life I want to do, but don’t because it feels awful. I hate to feel awful. I hate to eat healthy, because let’s face it, that is not the Southern way. I hate to get up early and read, because I don’t like to feel tired the rest of the day. I hate to do things I am not good at, because I hate to feel incompetent.
But the truth is, I want to be healthy, I want to be a reader, I want to try new things. But with my hungry, hungry hippo comfort idol, I will never be or do these things. Something has to go. I can’t have both.

But how will I ever be these things I so desperately want to be? How will I ever face my fears of doing anything uncomfortable or new? How will I ever grow if I am not willing to face pain? I can’t spend the rest of my life dodging anything and everything that feels the slightest bit awful.

Even right now. I am feeling uncomfortable about writing these things. Did I mention that it’s a little too cold in here and my eyes are getting a little tired, my stomach is rumbling a little bit and I can’t figure out what word is next? Ugh. I want to quit this right now.

This guy needs a serious stab in the gut.

So, I joined Crossfit. If you know me, you know this is the most insane thing you have read today. I don’t work out. I definitely don’t work out with actual weights. I don’t spend money on a class that someone else has full control and tells me when it begins and ends and what kind of movements to do and how much harder I need to push myself.

This is how I feel when I work out: click here. Because this is shamefully true (and embarrassingly accurate), I knew it was exactly what I needed.

Delight!

For months, I looked forward to this day. I told everyone who cared and many who didn’t that I was going to see whales. We boarded the boat and headed 30 miles out into the Atlantic ocean. I searched and searched, my eyes darting back and forth over the expanse of blue in front of me. All of a sudden, this giant beast emerges from the water with such great power – and I jumped! I squealed! I grabbed Kyle’s arm and squeezed it as tight as I could. I danced around never once taking my eyes from this impressive showing of one of the largest mammals in existence.

Delight. Absolute delight.

There are many things I delight in.

I delight in new things; new clothes, new pieces of furniture, new kitchen canisters.
I delight in a clean house. I delight in every piece of laundry in the house being clean at the exact same time.
I delight in a cup of hot Folgers in the morning.
I delight in a porch swing on a cool night.
I delight in great conversations that make my mind buzz with questions and challenges and wakefulness.
I delight in all things Kyle. I delight in his music. I delight in our conversations. I delight in his wisdom. I delight in his kisses. (I’ll stop there and keep this G-rated.)

I know I delight in these things because I think about them – all.the.time.
I think about our house an embarrassing amount of time. I think about how I could design my mantle, I think about how I could keep the house cleaner on a daily basis. I have been shopping for the perfect porch swing for about five months. I plan parties and invite people over in hopes that a conversation will strike a chord and energize my imagination.

I think about Kyle all the time. I think about how he’s feeling and what he’s thinking about. I get excited about the moment he texts me when he’s leaving the studio and headed home to me. I carve out time in my schedule to see him, hang with him, be with him.

And I tell him these things. I tell him how much I love him. I tell him how I think he is the most talented man I know. I tell him how thankful I am for his wisdom. I thank him for leading our family with the gospel. I tell him how beautiful he is and how much I love his giant beard.

C.S. Lewis said:
“We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”

In Psalm One, David compares a person who delights in and meditates on the law of the Lord with a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit. And then again, in the longest chapter in the Bible, David spends 176 verses expressing his absolute delight in the word of God.

The imagery of this is beautiful. As trees by the river are the most healthy, full of life and blooms and fruit, so I will be full of life as I delight in the law of the Lord. As I meditate on Scripture, I will become a person of love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

Yet, when I sit down to read my Bible, I must admit it is not often that I delight in these moments. Understanding scripture is often hard-won. Fighting distraction is exhausting. Feeling dry and bored and uninspired makes me feel weary and guilty. I do not often delight in the instructions of God.

David and Lewis reminded me of something this morning, it is not merely the reading of the words, it is praising the One whom they are about. The bible is this incredible book that tells me who God is. I think I often read it like a self-help book. I open it and think – How will this help me suck less today?

I often separate his instructions from him. I turn the Bible into a list of things to do and not do. When in truth, the scriptures are a love letter of the consuming delight passed back and forth between lovers. I read his words through a lens of guilt and “shoulds” instead of a lens of love and grace. I read, forgetting that in God’s great delight he sent his Son, who perfectly fulfilled the law so that God would see the perfection of His Son instead of the imperfections of me.

I desire to delight in God. Not just obey him or do what is right, but I desire to delight in a God who cares so deeply for me that he would give me a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path so I will know exactly how to get to Him.