Recently, I began a new venture in my health and fitness journey. As a former gymnast, CrossFit has always intrigued me, but I’ve just never made the plunge. I began my weight loss journey in 2011 and over the next 2 years lost a total of 110 pounds. I did this through good nutrition and falling in love with fitness, but running in particular. I’ve kept the weight off since then, but I just felt myself reaching a point of boredom in my workout, and I thought that adding in CrossFit to my routine might be a good way to break past that feeling and remain committed to my healthy lifestyle.
Fast forward now about a month and a half into my CrossFit classes and all I can say is I. Am. In. Love. I legitimately did not think I would love this as much as I do, but it is seriously amazing. It’s funny though, I’m not a lifter by nature and I don’t love being tortured on the daily, so I kind of did some soul searching to figure out why it is exactly that I love this so much. And I came to this conclusion….it’s the COMMUNITY!
You see, when you start CrossFit classes, automatically you’re in. No matter your level of fitness, your ability to lift heavy, your inexperience in the class, everyone is just a big team! They cheer you on, give you advice, encourage you. It just makes you feel included and like you’re a part of something. No need to prove yourself or get to a certain level. Come as you are and do what you can! And all this got me to thinking, why isn’t the church this way?!
Christians, me included, seem to have the mentality much of the time that those who are new Christians somehow need to “prove” themselves before we’ll accept them in. We say all the right Christianese things and act like we’re accepting. But secretly, down in the deepest parts of us, we’re watching them and seeing where this new found salvation is really gonna go. I have a theory on this and I think it happens for one of two reasons:
1) we’ve been programmed to think people are going to fail. Fact of the matter is, a lot of baby Christians, or even well established Christians for that matter, backslide and make big mistakes at some point. We, ourselves, have maybe even fallen into that at some point as well. When someone is backsliding, being friends with them can be TOUGH. This is when we gotta get in the spiritual trenches with them and be like “HEY!!! I got you. I know you’re struggling hard right now, but you can do this!!!” But that’s a hard job and a lot of us start to re-examine our commitments to people at that point. They’re at the point in the workout where they’ve missed a lift about 4 times and are beyond broken and don’t feel like they can keep going. And you have a choice, you can stick by their side and keep cheering them on and keep encouraging them not to give up, or you can walk away and just assume they can’t do it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people finally get that lift they’re trying for simply because everyone circles up on them and cheers them on HARD. They actually care! They actually wanna see that person succeed! Because when they succeed, we all do. Which brings me to number 2.
2) The other reason I think we are skeptical of new people in the church is we’re territorial of our place. When new people come in, they might be gifted in the same areas as you are. They might even be better. And that might just threaten your position. Are we so wrapped up in us and keeping our status in the church that we are actually holding the church back?? Are we so engrossed in our own promotion that we forget that the church isn’t all about us? I’ve seen so many Christians walk away from a church because they were looked over for a position they thought they deserved. Is your heart in such a solid place with God that no matter what position you hold or don’t hold, that you can still keep your walk with God? In CrossFit, just because someone lifts heavier than me, does more pull-ups than I do, runs faster than me, that doesn’t make my workout any less successful. It doesn’t make my lifts any less impressive. My time was the best I could do. It’s MY workout. It’s MY walk with God. And let’s be real, there will always be someone better. But if we’re doing our very best in whatever position we’re given, we are doing our job! We’re doing what God has asked of us.
So next time someone new walks into your church, walks into your small group, walks into your life, check your heart. Your discomfort from someone may come from your own insecurities and issues. And if we are coming at people from that place, we can never truly be CROSSFIT. We can never truly be FIT for the CROSS.