Today, I sulked in a bathroom stall at the gym.
I couldn’t bear another moment of feeling my arms buckle as I struggled to finish that measly fifth rep on the dip machine. Exasperated, I crawled down and took a walk around the track, talking to myself.
“I can’t believe I’m still so weak.”
“I was such a beast!”
“I hope no one saw me struggling!”
Avoiding eye contact, I walked past two female personal trainers and I silently reminded myself that I was once like them.
I was once fit and powerful, throwing at least seven sets of 12-15 reps on just about any machine I wanted to, continually increasing the weight as needed.
Privately, I joked that one day I’d put together a video compilation of proof—footage from the various storage unit surveillance cameras that have recorded me over the years, moving heavy furniture and equipment by myself.
That’s who I was.
Ever since the miscarriage before my divorce nearly a decade ago, my muscles weakened beyond recognition. I felt like Sampson after Delilah cut his hair: betrayed, powerless.
While loitering the toilet this morning, I dabbed tears from my eyes. As I thought about all the yesterdays, I felt my powerless body prolonging the betrayal.
In shame, I started planning the quickest exit from the building.
Then I remembered the simple “good morning” note from my boyfriend claiming goodness over my day. It reminded me that I have control over my thoughts, my perspective. I could “woe is me” in the locker room or I could do something with this day in my life.
Yet, that something alluded me.
Then, a quote I’d read just before hitting the gym, hit me:
“Do not allow personal issues to distract or divert [you] from accomplishing His purposes.” (Quentin L. Cook)
The personal issue was clear, but what purpose did the Lord have for me that I was being distracted from today?
That’s when I heard my fifteen year old daughter’s voice calling to me from the other side of the door: “Mom, are you coming? I need you to show me how to use one of these machines.”
She had been waiting for me.
In that moment, the purpose became clear. It wasn’t about me anymore. I didn’t have the strength, but I had the know-how and experience to pass along.
Today, I couldn’t do seven-twelves, but…
I could model one nearly flawless chest press for my baby girl.
I could gently correct her form.
I could admire her strength and hereditary muscle definition.
I could celebrate her five-sevens.
Even when your strength is gone in some areas, and you doubt your worth, God can still use you just as you are.
He certainly used me today.
Originally posted on 2/21/2018