I was in the gym the other day. I began working with a new trainer and he has me exercising in spaces I typically avoid. At this age, I’m not intimidated about working outside of the “women’s workout room,” (although it’s my happy place), I’m just not here for the people that take up a lot of space and over dramatize gym behavior. So, when my trainer said, “Let’s go upstairs,” I went, albeit while rolling my eyes. Upon arriving to an area that I avoid as though there is police tape around it, I saw one person pick up one 50 pound handheld weight and began to do reps. The entire time, he watched himself in the mirror and began grunting each time he pulled the weight to him. He was loud. He was straining. He was overextended. Another person close to him, looked at me and rolled his eyes, similarly as I did a few moments earlier. I shook my head at the fact that it was clear that the person was on the struggle bus. My trainer said, “The weight is too heavy for him.” I agreed, and wondered internally, why the person was struggling senselessly. It’s been a few days and I’ve been reflecting about the “strainer.” But then conviction stepped in. On many occasions, and more pronouncedly as I consider being on this earth for nearly 50 years, I too have attempted to lift 50 lbs, morphed into what was never intended for me to carry. So, why I was being “judgy?” Turns out the barbell doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Each time I listen to Maranda Curtis’ version of “You are my strength” there is a place that I am rendered silent, just like her. She is singing to God reminding herself that she can do nothing without His strength. When I have attempted to carry that which I should not, perhaps I succeeded, but the toil that it has taken on me and those around me is insurmountable. Even more, the damage that it did may very well be irreversible. You see, sometimes, I got that Philippians 4:13 twisted, focusing on the “I can do all things,” all while neglecting the “Through Christ.” It is only when I come face to face with my weakness that I can authentically benefit from His strength (II Corinthians 12:9).
While we complain about being tested and trialed, those are actually the experiences that build our strength in Christ. We learn resilience and dependence, in ways that would not otherwise manifest. We learn how to handle the weight, and we learn that we need God! We need Jesus! As I near my 50th birthday, I understand and genuflect to those revelations much more today than ever before. I have lived just long enough on this earth to realize that I cannot do anything in my own strength. Everything I desire, I don’t want to go it alone. I don’t want to be the lone ranger in life, lifting that which is more than I can bare. Alone, I am limited, but with God, the possibilities are endless. The only noise I desire to make is “Hallelujah,” and that is wherever I find myself, on the street, in the sanctuary, on my job, and even in the gym.