Weight tends to be measured by the number of dumbbells in your routine; the pounds on the bench press; or the steps made across a track. Discouragement lingers in the air, leaking from the sweat of a beginner just trying to get through one more pound. Addiction to power as the motivation for the expert. How often are there judgments across the room by who can do what, and how. This is not a gym I am describing, but every day interaction.
I cannot honestly say that I do not judge those weaker than me, nor can I say I do not criticize those stronger. I am a sinner, and comparing myself to others is something I was born with, and constantly learning to pray against. But what’s the standard? On what basis, can I put someone or myself?
There is no pedestal to be reached. There is no timeline to be met. There are zero levels of accomplishment in God’s eyes. Jesus is our standard. He who was no sin, set the tone.
Yet, I have found myself caught in the innate discouraged response, when someone around me seems to have it all together. No one has it all together. We forget how instinctive it is for us to assume our problems are the only problems. That those “experts” lifting 250 pounds have it easy. We peer into their movements yearning to have that supposed bliss, and simplicity; in reality, they are using their strength to run, to hide, and to lull the insecurities that rock their world just as much as the person trying to start from the beginning.
Our imperfections, are wired specifically and earnestly by our God so that what we perceive as “levels” are in fact stepping stones of the journey. Instead of picturing dumbbells, I challenge you to picture that man holding a box of lies; or what about a sick child, an addiction, an empty bank account, a broken heart.
We try to lift those things ourselves, grunting, training, desperately clinging to these arduous aspects of our life and expecting to hold it all together through the blood, sweat and tears.
For the beginner, just trying to start somewhere. What if that girl is staring face first into her enemy, and afraid to take that leap. She wants to make progress, but realizes the strenuous path it’ll take her on.
This thing we call weight, chains us. And instead of judging those around me, not knowing their burdens, their hesitancy, or even triumph; I remember it is not our job to carry it.
Psalms 55: 22 cast your burden to the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
That person trying desperately to lift everything he can, tearing his muscles, straining his back, and still feeling defeated- needs to drop it all, and lift his jaded hands to the Lord.
The one that is new in the room, starring uneasy at the equipment before her, should fall to her knees in prayer. Asking the Lord to be her strength, and carry her through it all.
Psalms 18:6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
You see we are not equipped to handle this life on our own. As inherently stubborn beings we strive to seem strong, independent, reliable- but we are those things through Christ only. On our own, we will always fail. But Jesus bore it all on the cross, so that we may set the weight down, unburdened by sin, and continue in line with Him.