The Blame Game

Last week, a friend of mine pointed out that my car registration had expired.  I immediately got on the phone to find out why I didn't get a renewal notice in the mail.  I was told that this may happen from time to time and to come by the DMV with my insurance card and get one.  On my way to get this taken care of, I was pulled over by a police officer.  I couldn't help but laugh at the circumstances.  I wasn't too concerned and knew that I would just get a warning.  I am an honest man.  I was just leaving my respectable workplace where I am a teacher and friend to many of the local police officers.  I haven't had a ticket in almost 20 years.  I even remember praying for God's favor.  Well, that warning I was expecting came in the form of a ticket and I found myself very frustrated.  However, I couldn't deny the fact that I was ultimately responsible for getting that ticket.

I heard a preacher say something very profound the other day relating to this.  He said, "Don't expect God to do something for you that you can do for yourself."  Many people today are quick to blame others for circumstances that are under their control.  We blame our work for the time constraints that keep us from working out.  We blame the fast food industry for making us fat.  We blame Hostess for making cupcakes  that are just too hard to turn down.

One thing I have learned as an adult is that excuses never lead to success.  We have more control over many of life's circumstances than we probably want to admit.  Many of us are looking for a miracle whether it be from God or sitting on the shelf at the GNC.  I can pray for Divine intervention to help me lose weight but I can't expect God to knock the pizza out of my hand as it heads for my mouth.  I have to do that one myself.  That is the way it works with fitness.  It doesn't care about your busy schedule, your finances, or how delicious hot chocolate chip cookies really are.  You are responsible.  Not your thyroid condition, slow metabolism, or family history of diabetes.  You are still responsible to do the best with what you have.

Take ownership.  If you take a spill showing off your skateboarding skills to the teenagers down the street, don't blame the skateboard manufacturer for the bone sticking out of your leg.  Similarly, if you are not leading the confident life you had hoped or if you are having a tough time seeing whether your shoes match, take ownership and make the necessary changes to remedy the problem.  Doing your part shows that you have released your faith.  The Bible says in James 2 that faith without actions is dead.  So I ask you, what are your actions?  Your answer could possibly move the hands of God.


My Fitness Journey Part 3

It was the Spring of 8th grade.  My junior high days were coming to an end.  I had just finished track season and had a rare couple of months with no scheduled sport or activity.  I remember the number one song on the radio was Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson.  I remember being at a crossroads in my own life.  I was in the middle of the boy-to-man transition.  This is a tough time for any adolescent.  It is a time of self discovery.  Really, for me it was a time in my life when I had to decide who I was going to be, what I was going to stand for and ultimately a chance to build my self-esteem.  Spiritually I was strong but needed to match that strength physically.

I would like to say that it was all about this deep physical and spiritual journey.  But like I said, this was a transition from boy-to-man and girls played a significant role in this process.  I decided that I wanted to get stronger and more muscular.  I wanted a better physique.  So in mid April, me and a couple of friends joined the local gym about a half a mile down the street from the school.  We would change after school in the locker room and walk to the gym everyday.  We strutted down the street like we were made of nothing but 300 lbs of pure, rock hard muscle.  We suffered with severe cases of what I call "imaginary lat syndrome."  This is disease that strikes many young men when they first start working out.  It is when you walk around with your arms puffed out like you are too muscular to hold them at your side.

We didn't have a clue as to what we should be doing that first week or so.  We would just do some bench press, leg extensions, bicep curls, or anything else that made us look cool.  One of the trainers there finally had enough and wrote us out a program.  You know the classic 3 x 10 split body part routine.  None of the movements we were doing had any functionality to them but we didn't know the difference.  As far as we were concerned, we were getting bigger, stronger and were going to impress the girls that much more.  We felt like we were separating ourselves from the average. 

That is what that experience was all about.  Don't get me wrong, we were getting stronger and more muscular but the physical transition paled in comparison to the change we were really making.  We trained to build our bodies but the strength we built was our self-esteem.  I went from being slightly insecure and unsure of myself to walking a little taller and being more confident to stand up for the person I was and was becoming.  I guess that song fit perfectly into what I was going through at the time.  For me to be happy and become the person I wanted to be, I had to first start with the "Man in the Mirror."

My Fitness Journey Part 1 & 2