Friday marks a milestone...Haven is 3 months old and I can take her with me to the gym! Woohoo...I've been back at it for months now but squeezing it in just here and there. Personally I love exercising. I feel like a better person after exercising, not in physical appearance, but in every way. I'm nicer. A way of getting aggression out possibly? Haha, who knows...but a good sweat (which isn't hard for me to work up...embarrassingly my sweatiness could rival that of a man)...well it's just therapeutic. A few days ago I was biking and a previous encounter I had came to mind and I started THINKING...and here's what it lead me to.
Call it competitiveness, drive, a go get-um spirit, any of them will do...but when I step onto a treadmill beside some innocent gym member just trying to get a little workout in, I feel this need to jump on, crank up the speed at least one MPH more and resolve within myself to stay on at least a minute longer. It's not a race or competition with that person. Remember they have no idea of my motive, rather it's a way to push myself further and faster to the "finish line" of ending the workout than if it had been just me against the treadmill. It's a way for me, all by myself, to call forth the winner. You should try it sometime.
So with my ear buds in place, lungs heaving oxygen in and out, I assumed this little "race" I was running was going unnoticed. But on this particular Tuesday morning a little old man in his New Balance sneaks tapped my sweaty shoulder. As I glanced over I noticed his lips moving but rather than hearing the old man's voice...I heard Ne-Yo. Oh that's right I had music blaring in my ears to keep my pace. I quickly pulled out my left ear bud and suddenly the voice matched up to his moving lips.
All I could muster up through the inhale and exhale was, "Hi".
"I don't know how you do it." he murmured.
"Do what?" I panted.
"Run like that."
I kind of chuckled.
"You run really funny. It looks uncomfortable."
Now leave it to an elderly man to notice and COMMENT on the fact that I'm severely pigeon toed and that my stride is less like a gazelle and more like a giraffe. I'm sure it did look uncomfortable to him. When I see myself in a mirror walking or running it looks uncomfortable to me. But I answered his question with the only honest answer I knew to give.
"Sir, I don't know any other way of doing it."
He starred back, looking quite perplexed. He thought for a moment.
"That makes sense." he smiled. I suppose he was satisfied with this answer because with the last swipe of his forehead, he stepped off the treadmill and walked away.
It's not untypical for my mind to wander when I run because it's just me, the road or the moving belt, and my thoughts. After this brief conversation from one treadmill to the next I knew the Lord had something to speak to me.
Let's face it we are all keenly aware of our imperfections whether they be something most people can't see or something as apparent as my crooked legs. Robert, a kid in my 8th grade section made sure I knew about mine. I remember him asking me why I walked the way I did and as a mean hearted middle school boy might do he proceeded to imitate me as we walked the crowded halls of our middle school. So what was I going to do? Stop walking? Stop running? Not a real good option. No, of course not. Instead I was going to be thankful I had 2 legs, 2 feet, pigeon toed or not and realize this was all I knew. I only knew how to walk and run this way. This was me and it was OK. There are things that we can work on in ourselves and change, but then there are those things that are unique to us, that have to be realized rather than rejected; those things that have to be embraced rather than eliminated.
Like I mentioned maybe it's a physical attribute. Don't let that stop you- run anyway. Be confident anyway. Sing anyway. Dance anyway. Love yourself anyway. Maybe it's your past, your history. It's one of failure, remorse or regret. Succeed anyway and in spite of. It's the only way you know how to do it because it's something you can't change...but remember your past, while you can't change it, does NOT determine your future. Maybe it's your family. It's one of dysfunction, pain or rejection. Move forward in life anyway. Start a new legacy...choose love anyway.
Just as the old man was perplexed by my stride, there will be those that notice your imperfections, your past, your struggle and they'll question you...but remember Christ used some very ordinary, misfits if you will to do the extraordinary. I researched a few. Remember Rahab, the prostitute that decided to believe God and hide His spies? Or Sarah who was barren, but despite her old age and barrenness believed and gave birth to Isaac. How about Joseph, just a regular teenager sold into slavery, hated by his brother later to become in charge of all of Egypt. I'm sure you remember Moses, a Hebrew baby floating in a basket, pulled from the river to eventually deliver his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh. The list could go on and on.
Christ himself was born in a manger to a simple carpenter and his teenage bride. So why in the world would we expect him to only use "special" people that are completely rid of any faults, history or imperfection. He doesn't!
1 Corinthians 1:27 says, "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty." His very own disciples, whom HE CHOSE were a few stinky fisherman and a crooked tax collector.
So if you are writing yourself out of the line up because of your "long list" of faults...think again. You're exactly who He wants to use. He loves to use the imperfect because that's when He shines through most clearly. When it seems impossible that anything amazing could come from someone so dysfunctional, physically, emotionally or mentally that's when our Father in Heaven shows up, the curtain open and the world gasps in awe of His love, mercy and grace. They are astonished by His ability to use anyone, anytime, anywhere. We must choose to do the impossible or uncomfortble through faith in Him because it's the only way we know how to do it!
So go forth...cling to and believe His words in John 15:16 that say, "God has chosen me."