aRRoGANt eNouGh to hUmBLe

Crazy title-but I struggled with how to tag this post so when this came to mind, I knew the Holy Spirit came to my rescue. A few months ago, my Chipper and I headed to Planet Fitness one Saturday morning to get our workout done so we could catch the matinee at Regal Cinemas. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I opt for the matinee because the cheaper ticket price helps justify forking out $13.oo for a small popcorn and a coke. I’m sorry but, Orville’s bags don’t compare to those at the theatre. Anyways, when we arrived, I spotted a treadmill directly beneath a ceiling fan and hurried to claim it because the ones underneath the fans are definitely the coolest.

Once upon a time, I’d outrun you. Granted, it might kill me but, I’d die being the best. I had to be the BEST. Then came a point in my life that erased my chances of ever being the best at many things I had once excelled in-circumstances that GOD allowed to retrain my mind and teach me that being the best and GIVING my best are very different things. I don’t need to be better than everyone else, I just need to be MY best. This day, GOD would use two polar opposites to add a precept to my growing stack of precepts.

untitledTo my right was a man, sweating profusely. His waist extended the width of the treadmill, his ginormous body squished between the rails. I do a brief warm up before hitting my pace for a 5 mile run but, I was honestly so overcome with sympathy for the dude, who at 20 minutes hadn’t made the one mile mark; I didn’t want to make him feel bad & decided to take it easy for the day and jog. I’d keep the speed at my warm up setting and jog….

imagesthen who to my wondering eyes should appear, but the gym hottie with killer abs that shouted-look everybody, I’m here! Suddenly, things changed & I couldn’t bear Ms. THANG thinking that the lady beside her was your average granny. Me being me, I groaned when she started warming up 2 speeds above my endurance pace & then added an insane incline. Really GOD? Is this your idea of funny?  Sandwiching me between FAT ALBERT & JILLIAN MICHAELS and expecting me to choose?  I’ve told you before. GOD must use creativity when getting my attention.  I’ll give you the end of the story before I explain why I left that day feeling ALL THAT.

.imagesCAOYB1H7On first impression, the obese man beside me was another couch slob, who did nothing but gorge all day and collect disability. Then my IGNORANCE hit me like a needle of lightning. What if he had a medical condition that had caused this tremendous weight?  Was he on prednisone or an anti-depressant or suffering with a thyroid problem? My heart ached with the notion that he may have eaten all the way to this size. Had his child died or his wife left him? Had he lost his job? We DON’T know why people are the way they are if we haven’t run in their shoes.  WE JUDGE without having a shred of evidence. PERIOD.

Ms. Fitness. Initial guess? She was training for another marathon so she could hang a shiny gold medal with the rest in her parents’ mansion. Probably a track star at the prestigious university in town since she was pretty enough and running a 7 minute mile. But, as my eyes darted over again, the intense concentration on her face made me wonder if this chick was running to run-or RUNNING from someone or something? Was this her realm of escape? I questioned if she had an eating disorder but then scolded myself for making a premature assumption. Some people are predisposed to be thin no matter how they eat. Was she training for a race to honor a cancer survivor-her mom, sister or friend? For all I knew, she could have been the survivor. I pegged her as a southern belle but, if I’d said hi, she could’ve responded in Russian or German. Instead of Miss Congeniality or prom queen, she may have been in America alone. RUNNING.

IMG_5027I experienced another monumental moment. As I judged them, my guess was they had done the same of me; if that was the case, they’d gotten me ALL wrong! That’s how the title comes in; I’m arrogant enough to admit to you that over the years, GOD has radically refined my LET ME PROVE MYSELF trait. I remain competitive, opinionated, prone to do it my way or bust-but what I’ve learned is; I’m not qualified to criticize or judge another person’s way, especially if I have NO experience doing what they’re doing and no idea what it takes for them to do what they do. Been there, done that. MUCH to MY shame, I regret it. To some, I was able to apologize. But many will never know that I wronged them and that I’m deeply sorry for it.

People think that because I’ve stayed thin all of my life, it’s based on appearance sake. They assume that since I was in pageants, I’m a chicky-chic bling queen. They look at Mom & my sisters and assume that I’m just lucky to have great genes since the women in my family are attractive and youthful. When we’re out to eat and I order salad, NO CROUTONS, NO DRESSING, NO THIS, NO THAT, they presume I obsess over calories-when the truth is, I’m deathly allergic to gluten or wheat-even small amounts make me violently ill, so much so that I only have 6 inches of my large intestine. They don’t know that I was born with a defect in my hips and pelvis that as I age, becomes more debilitating and painful. They don’t know that I’ve had 15 major surgeries in my lifetime or that I was diagnosed with COPD in my mid 40’s, even though I never smoked. Exercise is extremely hard for me but, I push myself to work out because it’s helping me maintain my mobility. I hide my disabilities well just like most people hide theirs.
imagesCA87T247From that day on, I pledged to pray this daily. May I never think so highly of myself to assume that I know everything there is to know about everything or everybody.  Let me live my life everyday more like Jesus.  As long as I do that, I can run MY race at my own pace and enjoy the freedom of allowing others the same privilege.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shauna patrick
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 12:43:01

    Wow. Just wow. Thank you for the link.

    Reply

  2. Sarah
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 12:53:37

    Amazing blog Mama. Such a gifted writer, teacher, and woman of God. Needed to read this today x

    Reply

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