Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the words, wisdom and creativity you have placed in me. Thank you for my faith and all those who you continually put in my life to encourage me and cheer me on as I run towards you. Lord let these words encourage someone today. Let this post turn someone back to you. Bless each reader in some way according to your will.
I can already hear the comments now. Why is she praising God for Crossfit? I thought this was a blog about Jesus. Stick with me because Crossfit led me to a closer walk with Jesus. Before I begin this journey of sharing through my blog I wanted to share the most essential part of my daily walk with Jesus. This routine is simple yet life giving! When I miss this routine I often feel like I spend the rest of my day hanging on to the edge of a cliff by my fingertips. My prayer is that you will in some way adopt this routine as your own.
Almost three years ago a friend of mine from church introduced me to Crossfit. (Thanks a million Josh.) I will never forget walking into the gym on that first day. I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone but too curious to go home. My experience that first day was hard but exhilarating. As I lifted weights I listened to people use words that I had never heard before, like WOD and AMRAP. I also noticed that they were genuinely supportive of one another. They cheered each other on and even encouraged the last athlete to finish. Heck they called each other athletes, which is something that most of us had never been called before in our lives. I loved it! So I went back.
First it was on Fridays when I only had to pay $5.00. You see I didn’t want to make the commitment just yet. I wasn’t sure if I could squeeze one more thing into my already busy life of being a mom, a wife and a teacher, and let’s be honest would it really change my body. I knew things in my schedule would have to change if I ever wanted to make this a priority. I needed to make my health a priority! My body had given birth to three babies and I wasn’t twenty anymore. I felt tired and embarrassed of my body most of the time. I needed a change. So after two months of $5.00 Fridays I signed up for a monthly membership and so I began my daily 5 am trip to this little gym in downtown Newark with a bunch of other people needing a change.
So how did Crossfit help me walk closer with Jesus? The answer to this question is in the details. You may have glanced over the simple detail of time. You see most mornings I wake up and I am to the gym by 5 am. Sometimes I slide in a few minutes late, trust me this no secret. I go at 5 am because this is the one time in the day when I can get away without interruption or prior commitments. So naturally over the last three years, with some breaks here and there due to schedule conflicts and other issues, I have trained myself to get up extremely early, even on summer break!
As my body grew stronger through Crossfit because of my daily routine my spiritual growth only inched along due to a lack of one. You see I was still lacking a consistent routine where I just sat with Christ one on one, prayed and read His word. Please don’t hear me wrong. I read my bible and I prayed constantly but when I did it was never consistent. Sometimes I would use my lunch break or wait until the kids went to bed, but I never made it a priority to set aside uninterrupted time everyday. That was until God convicted me of what I was doing with the first fruits of my day.
Jesus reminded me that He consistently gave the first part of His day to God. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35, NIV). We are told many times throughout the bible that we are to honor God by giving Him the first fruits of our harvest. “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce” (Proverbs 3:9, NLT). The harvest now a day looks more like paychecks and time, rather then wheat, barley or figs. Jesus clearly showed me that I was giving my valuable time, the first hour of my morning away to something else other than Him.
I was at a Crossroads. I had two choices, the cross or Crossfit. I could not have both and trust me I contemplated listening to my bible app while I back squatted and box jumped away the first part of my morning. Eventually after wrestling with God for a while the choice was clear, Jesus needed to come before everyone and everything else. A strong spirit will always be more useful than a strong body.
If you think I gave up Crossfit think again. You see going to Crossfit at 5 am for so long had trained my body to wake up early. Overtime I had changed my internal alarm clock. I decided that if I could get up at 4:40 am and rush out the door than I could train my body to get up just a little earlier at 4:00 am and spend time with the ultimate Cross trainer.
So now the first fruits of my day are spent in the quiet of my living room reading God’s word and letting Him prepare me for the day ahead. You see just like that first Crossfit class where I was out of my comfort zone but too curious to go home, my morning routine with Jesus was uncomfortable yet intriguing. What would happen if I set up a regular time to sit at the feet of Jesus? I needed to make a spiritual change so that I could grow stronger in my faith but was the investment worth it? Would it really change my spirit and draw me closer to Christ? You might laugh but just like my initial drop-ins to the gym on Fridays I did the same thing with my morning time with Jesus. At first I started getting up early three days a week but it wasn’t enough. Much like working out energizes my body, my faith is also empowered and strengthened by setting aside a time to spend with Jesus, and not just anytime but the first fruits of my harvest. For me that just happens to be 4 am. It won’t always be comfortable or welcomed but it is a worthy investment. And there are times when the temptation to hit snooze and roll over is strong but I assure you my God is stronger. If you don’t believe me let me tell you that hearing God say, “Is that extra few minutes of sleep going to do more for you than I can?” is more jarring than an alarm clock! I honor God with my time.
And wouldn’t you know similar to the athletes at Crossfit encouraging each other to finish, Jesus continues to cheer me on in our morning conversations. “… And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV). So with my biggest fan encouraging my faith and calling me one of His own (Isaiah 43:1-2, NIV) I continue to go back each morning.
CHALLENGE: Each time I post I will challenge my readers to try something new (forgive me this teacher enjoys giving homework).
- Your challenge this week is to find a time in your day, even if it’s twenty minutes, to spend on prayer and reading your bible. I encourage you to find a time that is the same each day. If early morning works for you then make it early morning each day. By doing this you will create a routine. I promise this is an investment of your time that will pay you back in eternal rewards! Jesus WILL meet you where you are, no matter what (He kind of specializes in that.)
- Short-term challenge: Try it for a week and see how God moves
- Long-term: challenge: Try it for 21 days and I bet you will be hooked!
TIP: Set an alarm on your phone to remind you it’s time to CROSS train. If you have an iPhone set up your alarm tone to play a worship song.
~~~Next week I will be exploring a Greek word that has brought me some serious joy!~~~