By Kass Fogle
GYMNOS - Fitness Scenarios* For Self-Examination
Gymnos is the Greek origin of our modern-day word Gym. It means “naked.” GYMNOS articles in Faith & Fitness Magazine are designed to help you challenge your thinking. In the literal sense, when you are naked in the locker room there is nothing to hide. That makes most people uncomfortable. Use this scenario to get naked spiritually—be honest, transparent, undisguised and willing to be totally open with yourself and others.
Jill arrived at her gym after a long week of deadlines, bills and kids. She loved the free weight area where she worked out with a personal trainer and the pool where she did laps.
She passed the treadmills and machines, grabbed two towels from the rack and headed to her weekly spin class. Spin was her absolute favorite activity in the gym. She could push herself harder than any other workout and forget about her troubles.
And she needed that break from reality, if only for an hour.
She didn’t worry about the project that didn’t go well at work or the phone call she received from her child’s teacher. During Spin class, she didn’t have the time or energy to think about anything beyond the next rotation or the next breath.
Jill always took the same bike next to the same people each class. Donna, on her right came as often as Jill and made a good riding partner. Kathy, the instructor was at least ten years older, but in great shape. Her routines were fast paced and choreographed to some hardcore electronic music that motivated the class to push harder.
During their warm up, she was more than ready to lose herself in this workout when the instructor called out, “Let’s kick it into gear. Stand and move that gear up! I’ve got mine at 18. You’d better be at least at 16!” Jill set her mind to hold this pace for the next eight minutes.
Jill’s legs burned and her lungs screamed after four minutes of pushing hard. And just when her legs started to quiver the instructor told them to move their gears to 20. She dug deep and adjusted her stances, relaxed her shoulders and pushed harder.
Sweat trickled from her forehead and trailed down her nose. She didn’t want to lose her momentum by stopping to wipe it so she blew all the droplets from the tip of her nose. She thought to herself there couldn’t possibly be much more time left in this routine. She glanced up at the instructor and saw Kathy still going strong and it gave her encouragement to keep peddling.
The instructor called out twenty seconds, then ten, then five more seconds. Jill knew she was pushing herself hard enough when she had to complete the last five with only sheer will.
The music changed tempos for the cool-down. This was peace. This was contentedness. This was the feeling she longed for all week long --- An hour of absolute nothingness.
“Great workout today, Donna. I know I’m going to feel this tomorrow.” Jill hopped off her bike and began stretching.
Donna did the same. “I hear you. No pain, no gain, right?”
Jill feigned a smile, “I guess so. At least I didn’t have to spin my wheels thinking about all my baggage. I’d really love for this feeling to last.”
Donna started to reply then she hesitated – she knew God could give Jill the lasting peace she peddled so hard to find but she couldn’t exactly start preaching to Jill in spin class.
They walked toward the locker room, Donna summoned strength and wisdom from God to say what Jill needed to hear.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- What makes an intense workout a good source for relieving stress? What do you feel are the differences in relying on a workout or looking to God for stress relief?
- Recall a time when you felt you may have had an opportunity to share a faith insight with someone but you didn’t. How can you share a Bible verse with a friend and make it relevant to his or her needs? What causes people to shy away from speaking in the moment with someone about God? What are perceived and actual outcomes of such a conversation?
- What would your response be to Jill? How might a faith insight help her? In what ways might a faith perspective from her friend and her spin instructor benefit Jill differently? Beside the spin class, where else could you point Jill or what other resources could you offer to help her find greater spiritual strength?
*All characters in this scenario are fictional. Any similarity to an actual person is coincidental.
This article appears in the June/July 2017 issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine.