I have been a member of Anytime Fitness since January and have been there doing cardio or lifting a few times a week. Fitness and motivational speeches go together like coffee and doughnuts! And sometimes I roll my eyes and find the posters and “you can do it, rah, rah” type stuff a bit cheesy. I cannot remember the last time I got out of bed early to work out because I remembered a motivational quip on a poster.
But something caught my attention at the gym that caused me to consider why I work out. They have a huge dry erase board at the entrance and often leave a question there with markers allowing members to write a response. Last month the board just simply said, “I work out so that . . .”
Many of the answers were tongue in cheek, but betrayed a lack of ability to really explain why everyone gathers in a confined area and lifts stuff while gazing, flexing, sweating and making faces in the mirror.
Some recurring themes on the answer board . . . “So I can be the sexiest!” “So I can eat/drink more” (real answer) “To make my ex jealous!” “Increase athletic ability” (this was not a majority answer . . . But one that I thought was kinda sane.)
But this answer board made me consider two things . . . What group of people have I fallen into? 🙂 But more seriously, why am I here in this gym? I have a conviction that I want to be more useful to God and others. I was always impressed by Jim Elliot, the missionary martyr who died in Ecuador trying to bring the gospel to the Auca Indians.
In his biography it is clear that Jim Elliot began wrestling in college so that with his body he would be better able to serve God. He knew that his calling would be rigorous and he wanted to be useful to God and others.
There are a multitude of reasons to get in shape. And I would suggest that not all of them are beneficial. Some might be moved to think that whatever it takes to get your body in shape is good motivation, but I disagree. I think there are some downright sinful reasons to be at the gym.
But I know that as I age, it will take a more concerted effort to remain healthy and keep my body functioning well in the service of my God, my family, and my community. My motivation is not found on any of the posters at the gym. I am not going to just keep winning, to just keep crushing the opposition, or to just keep turning heads. But I want to be in shape in the service of my King! I want to be ready to do whatever this body may be called to do to serve God by serving others, and that most often looks like moving furniture for others or boxes of food at the food pantry.