Be the Change You Want To See

I love the gym. Not the floofy classes or the cushy easy-glide equipment, but the plate weights and the dumbbells and the free bars. I love the ‘real’ stuff – the stuff that I grew up with. The stuff that I know… that I understand… that I am comfortable with.

I got out of bed early this morning and hit the gym for the first time in weeks. The reality of my life is this: if I don’t steal the time for myself before the house wakes, I don’t make it happen.

I get tired.

I get lazy.

The ‘things’ of the day begin to suck at my skin and I just can’t get my mind right to put for the energy for a workout.

So, when a morning begins like it did today… me awake, the house asleep, iPod full of the best tunes, lots of sweat, 64 ounces of water before 7:30am, and tingling in my muscles, I am sooo thankful for my early years:

  • I’m thankful that working out wasn’t an option – it just was.
  • I’m thankful that my dad didn’t talk fitness… he lived fitness.
  • I’m thankful that my parents raised me so my body would never be a burden; I was raised to be in control of my physical being.
  • I am thankful the gym was home to me and, no matter how much time passes between my visits, I always return with comfort and ease.

That’s what growing up in bodybuilding did for me: it built a foundation of health. No, I’m not a bodybuilder – and, no, I have no desire to spend four hours a day in the gym… even if I had that kind of time in my day. BUT – growing up in bodybuilding grew a foundational desire in me to never let my body get away from me.

I learned from eating and breathing bodybuilding, day in and day out, that my body will be exactly what I feed it and train it to be. Period.

The funny thing is I’m positive my dad wasn’t intentionally training me all those years. He never pulled out a notebook with goals and milestones and ‘things I must teach my daughter before she’s 18’. He never sat me down and delivered bodybuilding sermons, or pontificated on the value of multiple reps and sets for each muscle group. No – my dad just was who he was and I learned by simply walking through life by his side.

Proverbs 22:6 promises that what we teach our children in their youth is what will stay with them:

“Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.” (The Message Bible)

Or, another way it’s said is: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (NIV)

Today, just as I am reminded of the importance of the example I am living for my kids, I hope you’re reminded of the same.

Who WE are is who are children will become.

  • Our view of food will be their view of food.
  • How we handle trials will be how they handle trials.
  • How we value our bodies will be how they value their bodies.
  • How we love our spouse will be how they love their spouse.
  • How we respect ourselves will be how they respect themselves.

What WE do and who WE are matters far more than what we say.

  • We can’t preach ‘be kind’ if we ourselves are unkind.
  • We can’t preach ‘be healthy’ if we ourselves are unhealthy.
  • We can’t preach ‘be modest’ if we ourselves are immodest.
  • We can’t preach ‘be humble’ if we ourselves are full of ourselves and puffed up with pride.
  • We can’t preach ‘have faith’ if we ourselves are faith-less.

So today, mamas, let’s walk strong with eyes wide open. Let’s be the women we hope our girls will become.

Let’s be kind so they will learn kindness.

Let’s be generous so they will learn generosity.

Let’s be forgiving so they will learn forgiveness.

Let’s be patient so they will learn patience.

Let’s be bold so they will learn boldness.

Let’s be joyful so they will learn joy.

Let’s be thankful so they will learn thankfulness.

May our homes be where our children eat and breathe life and love and Truth, day in and day out…. so when they grow old, they will not depart from it.

A Year for Walkin’

Growing up in a gym was an interesting place – especially back in the golden days of bodybuilding. Yes, you had your “novices” that would come and pump iron. But, for the most part, the guys (and I say guys because there weren’t many women that came to my dad’s gym) that came to our place were at the top of their game. They were all super buff, super cut, super in love with the sport.

The thing about bodybuilders that I find most intriguing, however, is their willingness to help others improve. If you had a question about a particular exercise, or if you wanted to train a particular body part a little harder, you just had to ask. There was no judgement, no snobbery, no holding tips and tricks close to the chest. Nope – the truly great bodybuilders wanted to share their wisdom… and they were always eager to encourage you to be your best.

YOUR best.

See -that’s the thing: you have your best, I have my best. Your best will never be my best, and vice versa. This is why I think the guys in the gym never hesitated to give each other a helping hand.

The key for all of us should simply be finding our personal best – the utmost of who we can be.

Our utmost is something only we can discover for ourselves. We can take cues from others and find ideals we’d like to mimic… but we are still who we are. Our natural physique, our habits, our preferences, the season of life we are in all influence who we are at this very moment. Let’s not forget that. Yes, it may be nice to look like J-Lo or a Victorias Secret model or (fill in the blank) – but WE ARE NOT THEM! We are US.

So, with the new year let’s be rebellious together. Let stop looking at others and measuring our “success” (or lack thereof) by them – and let’s simply look at ourselves with honesty and say, “Is this my utmost?”

If you say “yes”, amen! I hope that you’ll email me and share you story with me. Seriously – I could use the encouragement!

But if you answer “no”, which is my answer – then it’s time to do some soul searching, set some goals, and start walking… start doing whatever it takes to create the lives for ourselves (and our families) that we’ve been talking and dreaming about.

One foot in front of the other – walk, walk, walk.

One of my favorite movie quotes if from a movie most people have never seen called Hustle and Flow and it says:

There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don’t talk at all, cause they walkin’

Let’s make this a year of walkin’ and not talkin’. Let’s not talk about how we want to eat better, let’s eat better! Let’s not talk about how we want a better marriage, let’s do the work and make it better! Let’s not talk about how we wish we had more time to read, let’s turn off the TV and get to reading! Let’s not talk about how we need to declutter, let’s declutter one shelf at a time!

Walkin’… that’s it. Today – the first Monday of a brand new year. It’s a perfect day for a walk, isn’t it?