*disclaimer: they are not the same thing exactly. Stick with me here. Don’t think I’m a heretic or idol worshipper just yet.
So, my friends and I were at the gym tonight and it hit me: going to church and going to the gym are basically the same thing. There are so many parallels between the 2 that I think I’m going to start wearing my workout clothes to church! (Don’t tell my Grandma…)
Hear me out:
→It’s hard to go by yourself.
Going to the gym is so much easier when you have people with you, not only to hold you accountable but to be your cheerleader, to push you when you want to stop, to help you along in the process.
Going to church is so much easier when you have people with you, not only to hold you accountable, but to be your cheerleader, to push you when you want to stop, to help you along in the process.
See what I did there?
THEY’RE THE SAME THING.
But seriously. 8 months ago I would’ve told you I never wanted to work out with someone. In fact, I did tell someone that. One of my best friends – someone who knows me well. Someone I shouldn’t be ashamed of working out with. But I was. Mainly because I didn’t want to be held accountable. I didn’t want someone to be responsible with in order to grow in my physical health. I wanted to muster up enough strength on my own to change.
The same went for my church life. When I began to take my relationship with Christ seriously, I wanted to go at it alone. I wanted to have control over the whole thing. I didn’t want someone else stepping in to speak into the process.
I didn’t think, in either scenario, another person would be encouraging. I just knew they would heap judgement upon me.
But you know what happened when I finally let people in? When I finally decided to do both with someone? Change. Growth. Encouragement. Deeper fellowship.
And let’s be honest – it’s way easier to walk in to a gym or a church with a person you know. If for nothing else than to have a witness for a good story – trust me…some of my gym stories HAVE to have a witness or else you’d think I was a liar.
(and if you’re reading this and don’t have a solid church to go to, PLEASE ask me for some help in finding one. I’d love nothing better than to help get you plugged in somewhere!)
→It’s a process.
I’ve written in the past about being done with the quick fix and I’m here to say it again (but after you’re done with this, go read that post). Losing weight, changing eating habits, getting in to shape – it’s all a process. But too often we want to skip the hard work and move straight to the results. We want the reward without the willingness to sacrifice something for it.
“Well, I’d really love to lose 10 pounds, but I’mma go eat this whole pizza by myself real quick…”
Sanctification is like that too. We desire closeness to the Lord, but aren’t willing to let Him discipline us and lead us into holiness. We want all of the fluffy feel-goods immediately, not willing to repent and turn from our sin that separates us from our Creator.
There is so much freedom in submitting to the process – both in getting in shape & growing closer to the Lord. To know that I don’t have to have a summer bod by Friday (which, let’s be honest, is totally unrealistic because it’s 8pm on Wednesday night…) is so freeing! Summer doesn’t end until like September or something, so I’ve got some time!
To know that I have a lifetime to allow the Lord to remove sin, draw me close to Him, continually renew my heart, and grow me in holiness is, again, so freeing! Knowing that I don’t have to have all the things figured out tonight gives me sweet relief.
→Jumping around is hard.
This one was maybe my favorite to dissect while on the stationary bike tonight.
Earlier in our workout, my little buddy decided to up the weights by 15 pounds at a time. When she got to the top weight, desiring to “see progress! See it go up!”, she hobbled off the machine and said, “Umm, I don’t think I should have done that.”
My level-headed, super wise response was, “You know, sometimes you need to stay where you’re at and build your muscle up before you move the weights…”
How does this apply to church? Don’t hop around (“like a bunny…because it’s Easter…”-Whitney). There’s no such thing as a perfect church, so don’t give up on it quite yet. Stay put and allow God to work in you. Allow Him to build up your muscle where you’re at. Get in community and stay put to see what He does for a bit.
So, there you have it. Church & getting swole. Same thing. Kinda.