Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lessons learned from the sports world - The Gym

In my last blog I mentioned the different places where the coach bring's all the players together in order to create and develop the team.
Each room/area has its own function and all are important in different ways. For a player to exclude themselves from one will hinder their growth and the teams effectiveness.

One of those rooms is the gym.
I hate the gym. as far as I am concerned running on a revolving piece of rubber is for hamsters. Exercising is not my issue - it is the mind numbingly boring repetition of lifting something that over and over but it never goes anywhere. Or running for miles but you never see anything other than the drywall 2 feet from your nose - or even worse the image in the wall to wall mirrors of your hot and sweaty self struggling to stay upright on the revolving piece of rubber.

However, I know that the gym is very important if I want to stay fit and healthy. For an athlete it is not just important, it is absolutely vital if they are to stay competetive at the highest level. How they feel about lifting weights or jogging on a machine is immaterial. They need to do it or they will soon lose their edge and quickly become ineffective as a team member. In reality it is the discipline of hours spent alone in the gym training, stretching each muscle and pushing it to its limits that help keep the athlete an athlete. It increases their core strength, fitness and endurance.

As followers of Christ we must not neglect the gym. Our gym prepares us for the race God has called us to. This gym is not rubber belts or iron weights. However it involves no less discipline. This gym is the place where we spend extended times alone developing our faith muscles. The place where we listen to God, read His word, converse with Him. The place where we can find what we need to grow in strength and endurance in the race we have been called to. Although it is a personal time between us and God it impacts the team we serve with. If we are neglecting it then it will mean we are not as ready in the race. Our faith muscles are not as developed or in tune as they need to be. Therefore we become a week link in the team.

Just as an athlete has individual responsibility to the team to keep himself physically fit so we as co workers have an individual responsibility to our team to stay spritiually fit. No one can do this for us - it is our choice and our choice will play out in the life of the team.

I have watched some famous soccer stars who began to rest on their 'laurels' from the past and neglect their physical fitness. For the first 20 minutes or so of the match everything seems fine. They are able to hide it. By 30 minutes in it becomes increasingly obvious that they are struggling and their performance now becomes a liability rather than an asset. A less skillful player who is fit would be much better than this one with trophies, skills and abilities galore who cannot longer run to get the ball.

Often we need help in the gym. There is such a thing as plateauing in your fitness level. In otherwords you reach a certain level of fitness or weight loss where you cannot seem to go further. Getting a qualified instructor, someone who has more experience than us, to give help and advice enables us to find new exercises or technics to go to the next level.

Let's make sure we do not become complacent when it comes to the gym. Let's not rest on past successes. Let's ask for help on how we can grow past where we are right now. Let's try new ways of growing. Let's make sure we chose to discipline ourselves in such a way that we stay spiritually fit and continually stretch our faith muscles so that we are effective team members who are not only positively impacting our team but increasing our effectiveness through stretching our limits in this area.
We can do this by
- reading good books that will stretch our thinking.
- listening to godly men and woman teach (Podcasts, CD, etc)
- increasing our time in the Word.
- making more time to listen and talk to God.
- seek godly advice from godly men and woman around us.
I am sure you can think of many more.

Take some time to reflect on your life and ask -
How am I doing in the gym?
Have I plateaued or am I stretching myself?
What is something that I am doing well and that is helping me grow in my fitness?
What is one thing that I could do to help me grow in my spiritual fitness?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Andrew! Inspiring. Thanks for the spiritual challenge and for the great blog content!