Fitness Friday #1

On Fridays, like today, I try to go to the gym after class.

Today, I swam fourteen laps, which is my upper limit right now. Is it great? Nope! Is it much further than I thought I could swim, getting back into shape after years of a sedentary lifestyle? Yep! Is it more than what I swam when I started? Yep! Is it as far as I’ll be able to swim forever? Probably not!

Here was my workout:
2 x 50 yards freestyle
1 x 200 breaststroke
2 x 50 yards freestyle
1 x 200 breaststroke
2 x 50 yards freestyle

I’ve become much, much better at flip-turns the month or so I’ve been working out. That’s nice. They freaked me out when I was a kid.

The reason I try to go to the gym on Fridays, and would ideally like to go to the gym far more frequently, is that I am longing for transformation. Aren’t we all, in some way, shape or form?

It’s been a constant theme this year, for a wide variety of reasons, some of which may make their way onto this blog someday. In March, I absolutely gave up on having any semblance of control in any of this. I thought I had before, but 2019 has been absolutely bonkers, most of it good.

I digress. In preparing a long-term study, in personal devotion, and because of work teaching New Testament on the collegiate level, this passage keeps popping up:

I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. (Galatians 2:19b-20, NRSV)

The Apostle Paul (the genuine Apostle Paul, definitely) has a mystical, mysterious bend in his theology, where the cross does… something and if we’re part of it, if we trust what God has done and is doing and will do, if we’ve let go of control and let Christ in, [if and as and because], everything old passes away. It all becomes new.

I’m ready for transformation. Somedays I avoid it. Other days I ache for it.

I don’t think it has to be physical–in fact, I’d argue most days that it is absolutely, vehemently, without exception not physical–but going to the gym is not just about losing weight (which I ought to do) and building endurance (which I need to do). It is about cultivating space which Christ will inhabit. “I must become less, so that he may become more,” John the Baptist says, pointing to Jesus. Since I hate exercising, and have obviously been finding weighing 235 for ten years, this seems like a good place to unsettle old habits.

This is a prayer of sorts. And prayer is transformative when we let it be. And even sometimes when we don’t.

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