Last spring my son was training with his school’s running club for a 5k in a city near our home. As part of the preparation, his coach composed a grid with recommended activities and offered “extra credit” for students who completed them with a parent.
Being the over-achiever that I am (ahem) Wanting to bless my son by spending extra time together, I offered to run with him whenever he wanted. I even called his grandparents and got them involved in our running with the hopes of encouraging our budding pavement-pounder.
Here’s where it gets ugly: I started to feel pretty proud of myself for getting off the couch and hitting the road. I gave myself a pat on the back with every turn and winked at the grandparents as we blew by them…
…because they were grandparents. Not because I’m fast.
But still — my heart was quick to dole out kudos — as though running a mile or two was some kind of never-been-done-before feat.
Despite the donuts hiding beneath my belt, I had convinced myself that I was at the top of my late-30’s game.
That was last spring.
This week I dove headlong into what seems to be Navy Seals training for women without the sleep deprivation. I started interval training at a local lady’s home gym, and OH. MY. WORD. PEOPLE.
I came home and puked on the first day.
I could barely sit on the toilet without wincing in pain. Or grabbing the sink for stability.
I cried when my husband rubbed my legs with Ben Gay. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I lay in silent anguish while sore muscles strangled my comfort.
This week I realized the sad, sad truth: I AM A WUSS.
I cannot keep up with the ripped women in my class.
Nothing about this work is easy for me.
I do not wear spandex. Ever. Under any circumstance.
I cannot do lunges and burpees in smooth succession or with grace.
No, friends — I was the most uncoordinated, weak person there. And it reminded me of God’s holiness.
What working out is teaching me about God’s holiness
When I measured my fitness against the grandparents last spring, I was looking pretty good. And don’t we Christians do the same when we measure ourselves against “those people” in our culture? We think we’re living right. We feel like we’re checking off all the right boxes. We certainly are being “good Christians.”
But we’re fooling ourselves! We’re not called to measure ourselves against culture or other people.
We’re called to measure ourselves against a holy and perfect God.
When I started my interval training this week and compared myself to the strong, disciplined women in the class next to me, I felt like a peon. There was a stark chasm between us and it could not be denied. I realized that my perception of myself as being fit and healthy was totally distorted.
The same is true in my faith walk…and yours. When we hold ourselves next to God, we realize that even our best is nowhere near his glory. Yes, we might “look good” compared to the mugshots on the nightly news, but next to the Creator of the universe we are no better!
Even our best cannot bridge the gap between our weak humanity and His powerful perfection.
That’s why we need Jesus, friends.
Not merely to model “good living”, but to bridge the gap and give us access to the throne of the Father. To present us spotless when we are not. To forgive and save us. To cover us in his perfect love.
Working out is teaching me is that I desperately need a Savior. God’s holiness demands it.
If you have questions about Christ, I’d love to talk with you! Please leave a comment or contact me privately.