This morning, I wasn’t sure if I would actually go through with it until I got there — the gym, that is. Not the gym at our apartment complex, but a “real” gym with an introductory free pass and — eventually — paid membership. First, let me tell you about my love-hate relationship with gyms.
In March, when my doctor informed me that my blood pressure was “a little high”, my EKG was abnormal, and I needed to exercise 30 minutes a day. An appointment with a cardiologist loomed ahead. I had always felt too intimidated to go to a gym, but I didn’t want to take medication. Well, I thought, we have a free gym at our apartment complex, so I had no excuse to skip workouts. I worked up to using the elliptical machine for 30 minutes, five times a week, and did abdominal crunches at home.
Within the next two months, my blood pressure, stress test, ultrasound and Holter monitor results were all normal. The power of exercise and a healthy diet truly impressed me, and I wanted to learn more. In fact, I enrolled in a personal trainer certification course to keep myself moving forward and to learn how to take better care of my family. Today, however, was a major step forward — I activated a free pass to a “real” gym, and plan to join after my free pass expires.
As a shy person, I had to talk 50-year-old, postmenopausal me into stepping through that gym door and risk looking stupid. I sent up an assortment of prayers this morning:
- I prayed that I would not go to the wrong gym (my sense of direction — not good).
- I prayed that when I went into a store after my workout, people wouldn’t see my bag and think I was shoplifting.
- I prayed that my fellow exercisers wouldn’t stare at me and wonder why I wasn’t using the equipment right.
- I prayed that …well, you get the idea…
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I had forgotten that plans are already in motion for my good, and that God wants me to have hope and a future. I remembered, as I rode the bus to the gym, that scary steps take me to that “good work” and promised future. Actually, the morning at the gym turned out quite well. I didn’t get arrested for shoplifting, the gym manager was helpful, and no one else even knew I was there as I pedaled the sleek elliptical with the personal TV screen. When I left the gym, I picked up a free magazine about running, sat outside in the cool breeze and waited for the bus.
This afternoon and evening, my husband said several times, “I’m proud of you”, and my self-esteem is still increasing! My scary step may not look so bad to someone else, but I’m patting myself on the back and thanking God for keeping me going. Let me add another prayer — that this step will lead me to better health and help me encourage you to take a positive step that intimidates you — whatever it is!