Cool water streams down my bright red face. This refreshing shower? I earned it, by sweat and almost tears.
I try not to cry in front of the other ladies, but sometimes, I do.
About 3 months ago, my husband followed some ladies with yoga mats, and coerced me into following with him. My 11-year-old joined in the fun, and we felt like a gang of creepers tailing the “fit” ladies. A block and a half down the road they stopped at an outdoor gym area, while my husband, daughter and I attempted to stroll nonchalantly past the gate.
It took me another week to get the courage to ask at the gate if I could be a part of the exercising ladies. It was another two weeks until I actually went, paid, and was a part of the working out.
The philosophy of the gym is “make every workout burn.” I have to be honest: this is not what my workout mantra would be. I like to work until it seems too hard, to workout until it is no longer fun.
This place is the stark opposite of all of these desires. The head of the gym gives us an exercise and a number of times to do it. I am now in my sixth week of doing it in this manner. The first day I didn’t think I would be able to walk home (I believe that was a “leg day”).
I live in Belize, where sweat is part of our routine. In the heat of the summer (dry season) I take at least 3 showers a day. The gym is an outdoor patio, situated on concrete. There is no chance of air conditioning, not even a fan, so I attempt to arrive early, to have the privilege of standing in the shade while completing the workout.
Today my sweat dripped as I ran with weights. When I got home, my husband asked me to look in the mirror. Apparently crimson is a color I wear well, and my face betrayed what I had been doing for the past hour.
When I read the verses about becoming a new creation, renewing my mind, and getting a new spirit, I had this idea that it is passive.
Have you ever watched a caterpillar become a butterfly? It isn’t a simple endeavor. It must eat a lot, create the cocoon, and emerge. I am willing to volunteer for the first job, not the other two. Likewise, chicks that are helped in their struggle to exit an egg don’t survive.
That shower was worth the work. I have to convince myself of that every day. I get tempted to do less reps, or “cheat” on my workout. In the end, I am the only one who suffers from the cheating.
I am becoming a new creation, both inside and out. I am also learning to embrace the “work” of it all. But the credit needs to be given where credit is due. I put in the time, but it is he who does the transforming.
I am excited to see what the end of the story is as I struggle to make and get out of the cocoon. I am so thankful for the one who continues to provide a fresh perspective. I run the race, knowing the goal but not reaching it yet.
For now, I will enjoy my sweaty days and the refreshing showers that follow.
What can you do to change your perspective? How is God calling you to renew your mind?