Gym & Grudgery

I woke up this morning and, like many mornings, asked myself the question, Do I really have to go to the gym?

Then there’s the go-to answer in my head: It’s cold outside, I’m tired.

But I have already paid for a year long gym membership, and I have to go 12 times a month to get full reimbursement from my insurance.

I’m kinda bad about waiting until I know I have to start getting in my 12 times.  The first week of the month is vacation.  The second week . . sometimes ends up being vacation, too.  The third week: no fun week.

I am in no fun week.

I prayed for help to drag myself out of bed.  I have to get in my 12 times.  I am not going to go through all this grudgery and pay for it, too.

I drag to the refrigerator to get a glass of milk.  Then I longingly browse my computer for a few minutes, thinking If only I could stay.

If only I could stay.  I can think of a zillion things I could do if I stayed home and kept that extra 45 minutes in the morning.  I could eat a warm breakfast of oatmeal and brown sugar.  I could start my own business on Etsy and make hundreds.  (I could crotchet octopuses.)  I could watch my favorite children’s puppet show.

Never mind that I never did any of those things when I wasn’t working out at the gym (well, except for watching my favorite children’s puppet show).  Never mind that I mostly slept in.

I had to find my shoes to wear to work.

I couldn’t find them.

Yesterday, I forgot about them altogether and wore neon green tennis shoes to work with my professional attire (it’s a true story).

I found them under my chair.  It made me a bit less happy to find them, because then I had one less thing to complain about.

I got in the car.  I was only 45 minutes behind schedule for arriving at the fitness center.  No problem.  Great.

It was dark outside.  These winter mornings, it’s like the sky is telling me to go back to bed right now.  But I got out of my car.  I couldn’t zip my coat because I was too busy holding my gym bag and my shoes and my scarf and my outfit for the day and my keys.

I dragged myself into the center and dropped a shoe while checking myself in.  Should the lady behind the counter have found me humorous or given me a blanket and pillow so I could take a nap on one of the treadmills?

Well, I didn’t get offered any blanket or pillow.  I went into the main room only to discover that my workout bike was already taken.  I had to use the pushing skiing machine that I only see seniors and people with bad knees using.

Well, I do have bad knees.  But still.  I do not like that machine.  There are these long ski poles that you have to hold onto as your feet move up and down in what seems to me like very unmeaningful movements.  The ski poles bob up and down like snakes trying to get apples out of a bucket.  (I never was good at that game).

I’m not coordinated enough to do this.  Every time, I struggle to place my Bible in the tray that has clearly not been thoughtfully designed for people who want to read their Bible.  I can never see the bottom lines of each page, and so I have to pick up my Bible and let the bobbing ski poles swing back and forth by themselves while I finish each page.  Then I have to carefully place my Bible back in the tray.

My bike opens up about 2 minutes after I start on the ski machine.  But at this point, I don’t have the energy or the will or the time to switch machines.

When I have served my time at the bobbing ski poles, I get the spray bottle and blue towel to wipe my machine off.  Since everyone sees me openly reading my Bible in the mornings, I don’t think I can leave my machine sweaty, no matter how pressed for time I may be.  I also have to watch the expression on my face, hoping I look pleasant, despite that I have probably not brushed my hair and certainly not placed a hint of makeup on my face.

I go into the locker room.  Sometimes I drop clothes on the wet floor.

I am so, so, so, so, so not into doing that.

But today is one of those days.

That’s nice.  No, really.  It gives me something more to complain about.

There’s a bad place in my knitted sock.  Now that was already there, but somehow it seems like I can blame that on the gym’s fault.  The velcro on my shoe (yes, I wear real classy shoes) sticks to my new scarf that I have not even worn once.  That definitely seems like the gym’s fault.

I walk out of the gym, get out to my car, and have a sinking feeling as I drive away that I threw one of my favorite hair clippies down the laundry chute with my towels.

Oh, boy. Now I’m really mad at the gym.  My beautiful $3 white flower clippie that my mom got me because I was too cheap to buy it is probably down a laundry chute.  My poor, poor hair clippie.

$3 I am not going to be reimbursed for by my insurance company.  I know it.  I’m not ever going to try to file the claim.

And on the way to work, do you know what I thought about?

I am so glad following Jesus isn’t like this.

There was a time when I thought Christianity was like this.  That I had to “make” myself go to church (occasionally).   That I had to “make” myself not do really bad stuff.  That I had to “make” myself pray to God.  That I had to “make” myself do things Christians were supposed to do.

Now that I have seen the Christ in the Christianity, following Him is pure joy to me.  Pure joy.

I am so thankful that I don’t carry around a burden of trying-to-be-Christian-and-not-really-wanting-to-be-but-not-wanting-to-go-to-Hell anymore.  I am so thankful that to live for Christ is joy.  It’s not something I have to brace myself to do when I wake up.  It’s not something I have to dread and mope about all day.  And, although I have lapses in sin, when I’m really honest, there is nothing I can complain about with following Jesus, unless it’s that I don’t deserve the privilege.  But I’m not complaining about that.

Maybe one day, I’ll like going to the gym.  Maybe I’ll even look forward to it.  But my 24/7/365 is the pure joy of Jesus Christ.  I fall short of it, I get distracted, and I go down bad detours sometimes, but it is the journey of my life, it is what I want to write home about, it is the delight of my heart, it is the one thing in my life I never have to dread, and it is the one thing in my life that consumes everything else I do.

So tomorrow, I think I’ll go to the gym with a happy face.

Because I have Jesus, and no bobbing ski pole machine can ever take away from that.

And I should have remembered that.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:9-11, NIV)

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Published in: on January 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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