Sunday, August 10, 2014

What I've Learned Through CrossFit

My clean and jerk max is 175 lbs.
My snatch max is 150.
My dead lift max is 350.
My back squat max is 315.
My best Fran time is 7:15.

None of these figures actually matter. They’re not all that impressive compared to Olympic lifters and CrossFitters. I’m not getting paid to improve my lifts. (It’s actually the opposite). But those numbers represent the greater story of my life over the last year and a half. 

My story is one of learning to hide. As a chubby, awkward teenager that grew into an awkward, slender adult, I became a master at hiding my true self. I just wanted to make everyone happy, so I became whatever the particular crowd I was with wanted me to be. So rather than pursue my own dreams I lived thorough my friends accomplishments, and I avoided conflict like the plague. I saw myself as helpless and weak.

I understood the Gospel in that Jesus loved me, but I didn’t understand how that made me into a powerful man of a God. In my eyes, Jesus loved me but I had to convince everyone else. My Young Life leader in high school told me I was a chameleon, changing my stripes to fit whichever crowd I was, but I saw it as self preservation. If they saw who I really was, there was no way they’d like me or accept me.

This way of life worked for a while. I was popular in high school. I made close friends and had amazing experiences in college. I fell in love and married an amazing woman.

After a few years, however, the charade had worn thin. Working to make everyone happy no longer worked, and my wife grew tired of living with a shell. I was a 29 year old man with no spine, no conviction, and no heart. I was the accumulation of years of becoming what everyone wanted. My Young Life leader’s words finally made sense. I was a chameleon who was no longer fooling anyone.

It was at this low point that my wife encouraged me to start going to CrossFit. (And by encouraged I mean she yelled at me to go out and do something.) I was terrified to walk into a room of strangers so exposed. I’d been scared of weights for a long time. Most of my life actually. On the surface, I’d tell you it was because I didn’t know anything about how to use them and that I didn’t care about being some muscle bound dude. But in reality, weights intimidated me. They only know truth. I could either lift them or I couldn’t, regardless of what I wanted people to think of me. I was going to be exposed. 

To my surprise, however, no one kicked me out. The weights exposed me and I was brought into the open, but to my surprise no one abandoned me. Instead, I realized how much I was holding back.

Progressively, my daily reconstructive process worked its way into other parts of my life. I stopped believing the lie that I was weak and started knowing that I was strong. I stopped believing the lie that I was inadequate and started knowing that I was capable. I started living my life knowing that God had made me into a man that had what it takes. 

Challenging WOD’s still makes me nervous, in the same way talking to people I admire turns me into a ball of nerves. But the difference I’ve learned through CrossFit is that I can accept who I am because at my core I’m capable enough to meet a challenge. The numbers I wrote in the beginning are more than records to impress other people. They tell the story of God building me into a man.

I’ve grown over the last year and half from an awkward, slender adult into an awkward, muscular man. 

And I wouldn’t have it any other way...

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