After a long winter’s hibernation (from exercising), this girl has decided it’s time to get serious again. What used to be a piece of cake now leaves me with aches and pains, unfortunately. However, I’m determined to persevere and exercise through the discomfort because I know it’s good for me on so many levels. It’s humbling, though, and this morning exemplified that process.
As I was walking at a slow-moderate pace, and contemplating the extent of my leg and shoulder aches, I heard a rustling noise from behind me. I looked around and saw a jogger about 50 yards away. Very soon after, the jogger was parallel to me on the road. He looked at his stopwatch and realized it was time for a walking break. Since he was a few steps ahead of me, I decided to examine this person a little more closely. He was probably in his 60′s or 70′s. His legs were very strong. He was obviously a pro at this exercise thing. During his walking break, he began focusing on his arm strength. With weights in hand, he contracted over head, he released. Over and over again, this man was working hard towards good health. I, on the other hand, was a good 20-30 years his junior and in nowhere as good of health. Part of me was quick to want to give up. ”I’ll never be back in shape again!” ”This isn’t even fun.” ”How long does it take to get leg muscles like that guy?” On and on, the excuses started pouring out as I compared myself to that guy.
And, there’s the problem. Comparing. After a quick google search, I found that Sir John Fortescue is the author of one of my favorite quotes:
Comparisons are odious.
Odious indeed. Stinky. Pukey. Nasty. Garbage.
When we compare, we either find ourselves out on top or squashed down below like a bug. Both are focused on ourselves, so it’s pride either way. But, when I compare myself with another person, and I’m squashed down below, I want to give up. If she exercises six times a week, and I only manage two times each week? Yep, I just give up. How do you compare yourself with others? Do you ever compare yourself spiritually with other women? I’m prone to do that too. It is completely unproductive and it just ends up with me not liking the other women and me not growing spiritually.
I want this to be an encouragement to all of us women who are “side by side” with someone to whom we are comparing ourselves. Instead of sizing one another up, let’s build one another up. If you’re a stronger exerciser, help your friend who is struggling to maintain any exercise routine. If you’re a more experienced pray-er, help your friend who has never prayed before and doesn’t know how to begin. If you find yourself to be the weaker person, ask the stronger person for help…in whatever area it is. It seems I’ve almost always found that someone else is usually very willing to help me grow when I’m open to it.
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27: 17