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Devout

Twenty-plus years ago, fitness was a god. I worshipped it. Maybe not on Sunday (after all, I had been a Christian for years and I wanted to please God and serve Him), but Monday thru Saturday, I was the gym's most devout follower. Daily gratification, success, and even my self-worth were gauged by my body's tightness from yesterday's workout. Ahhh, yes, I longed for it. Soon the delayed onset of muscle soreness would reveal itself, and eventually growth and repair would fill my shirts and jeans, along with my ego.

The overnight fast was devastating to my hopes of growth, so I'd gobble my quick-digesting protein along with both my fast and slow-digesting carbs faster than you can say 'high-intensity interval.' Following that meal, I'd become the judge and jury of an argument in my brain; a paranoid clash between my metabolism and my catabolism. In truth, the relentless balance between growth and leanness circled my brain like vultures. Keep the fire going but don't burn too quickly. Hold your pump, but keep your vascularity. Stay big, but don't spill over. To say nothing about the workout of the day.

The blood, sweat and tears of each gym session were like rain to the Sahara. This is what I was made for; to train, to lift, to grow, to show, to drive, to grit my teeth and push my limits. And of course, then came the day's last meal, and of course the planning, the hoping, the measuring, the needed rest and the deep sleep required to unlock the necessary rebuilding hormones to do their thing. The sun couldn't rise quick enough. ZZZZzzzzzzzz. Tic-toc, tic-toc. And....repeat.

When we seek first the kingdom of muscle, we're subject to everything it requires. We're consumed, blinded, loyal subjects. Healthy? Yep. Ripped? Uh-huh. Strong? One of the strongest. But I wasn't loving God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I was loving me with all of those things. And of course, I'd try and give God the glory on Sunday (hoping my shoulders filled my dress shirt.) Give God the glory each day? I wasn't giving him 5 minutes. Saved? Yes. Spirit-filled? Beyond a doubt. Honoring God with my body? .............. 
Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I loved training. I miss it. But I would do it differently if I could go back. I spent so much time honoring my body that I failed to honor God with it. Forgive the free-flow entry today. If my experience is at all helpful or speaks to the lifters among you, I'm grateful. (And oh, if I could still train today, I'd be training with you guys; a little old school and a lot of grace.) :-)