I’ll say, ‘I strap this yoke on and go up and down and up and down ‘til it hurts and that’s no problem because I throw that freaking weight down when I want to because I am choosing which yokes I put to my service. Because I am free. I belong to Jesus. And his yoke is easy.’
Squats. That’s the exercise I hate. And I don’t say this lightly because I like to stay positive about hard work. In fact, I generally refuse to complain about any single part of bootcamp since I choose to be there and am grateful for the privilege. So even when I feel like complaining, I focus on staying engaged.
But squats. With the bar. With a good amount of weight across my shoulders. At that moment, I hate the smell of the bar. I hate the feeling when I squat and slowly push back up (I enjoy heavy weights in other exercises – just not this one). I get really sore from squats and, most of all, I hate the way the bar feels like a yoke. I feel like an ox being pushed down into the ground by some harsh master. My eyes move to the ground. And it makes me want to quit.
But that can’t be the last word, right? I have to keep doing squats if I am going to stick with this bootcamp and I sure do intend to do that. So the last word can’t be defeat. I can’t let the lie own me.
Paul’s words come to mind from the New Testament: “but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified (1 Cor 9:27).”
I am trying to find a way, now, to approach squats like a willing servant and accept the yoke ever so briefly, only to set it down at will. Doesn’t that kind of negate the “yoke’s” power if I get to choose when to put it down? Doesn’t that kind of put me in charge?
Somewhere in those words of Paul’s, I hear bells ringing. Pealing, even. Ringing loudly and perhaps so loudly in my ears, as I lower myself once again under the weight of steel, that I am not sure what the noise is in my head. Clamouring inside are the words of the defeat and the bells of victory and it’s all so loud and mixed together with groaning. And I see now that I haven’t spoken to the fake yoke peddler loudly enough to claim my position over him regarding what’s bubbling up.
You know who that peddler is, right? That pimp? The fake yoke guy? This is what I am saying to him next time I do those squats: “See this bar?! See these weights?! That’s right liar!” (Try this in the YMCA sometime and see what looks you get.) I’ll say, “I strap this yoke on and go up and down and up and down ‘til it hurts and that’s no problem because I throw that freaking weight down when I want to because I am choosing which yokes I put to my service. Because I am free. I belong to Jesus. And his yoke is easy.”
Yelling at the fake yoke pimp in bootcamp hasn’t happened yet. But if you’re reading this and you workout with me, you’ll know, when it happens, what that’s all about. Just carry on.
Our flesh screams when we push it. Our lies come swarming to the surface. Then we can tell them where to go. It’s pretty old fashioned actually. As if the church has understood this for years.
What’s coming to the surface for you nowadays?