During college, my small band of training brothers was a tight-knit, crazy group. Whenever someone new would ask to train with us, we'd place bets on how long they'd last. Actually, I remember the non-verbal looks of recognition of knowing "this one won't last." We just went too heavy, too hard. We were too ferocious, asked too much, went too far. Mind you, I'm not smiling. This is not a moment of pride for me. I thought of that today as I was doing my bodyweight stuff. I'm doing push-ups and planks now, a few prescribed yoga stretches for my hips, as well as dumbbell work from the floor. I'm coming along, guys. And my workouts are as much worship as work. I get so into my music and praise that I often have to stop and talk to the Lord and love Him for His grace. Yeah, I train alone, but I'm not. Not that getting into "the zone" is wrong, but I've been so far in the zone in my life that you'd think I tuned out the Lord. Funny, after college, and the boys went our separate ways, I became the guy in the gym with his head down, music in, cap covering his eyes - leave me alone - I'm in the Jimmy zone. (Adding "Jimmy" right there just makes it sound even more silly.)
Call me crazy, but if we're going to evangelize our local gym and the fitness industry in general, we have to have the kinds of conversations - and asking the kinds of questions - that run the risk of sounding crazy. We have to speak to people. Train diligently, sure, but we are Christians - first and last - and that needs to be our resolve as we train. Reminds me, my grandmother had a great way of witnessing to people in public. She was a master at it. Whether to a waiter at a restaurant or to someone working at a grocery store, inevitably she'd ask them, "Are you a Christian?" And if they said yes, she'd say, "I knew it. You're so sweet." And if they said no, she'd say, "Oh you'd make a WONDERFUL Christian." (Always with an emphasis on the word "wonderful.") In either case, they felt great that someone noticed something in them that reminded her of Jesus. That's what we need to be doing wherever we train. Call me crazy, but love just makes us do crazy stuff. Jimmy Peña
For Discussion: What would Paul do if you took him to the gym with you? He'd talk to everyone, right? A captive audience. :-) Will you commit to training outside your comfort zone this week and get to know those around you? Maybe steal my grandmother's line? It works, and it will help break the ice as you witness to others. Just remember, you're not alone.