Last week I was at the gym with a dear friend who was ministering at our church for a few days. My friend has been working on his health for more than a year, and gotten quite strong. Having been on a similar journey myself, I was excited to work out with him and compare routines.
That is, until I saw how much weight he could press.
The first machine he used was a tricep press, and he had it set for 200 pounds. Get that…. TWO. HUNDRED. POUNDS. This is not a machine that I typically use, so I’m not sure what I would have pressed normally, but I can say with considerable confidence that it would not have been 200 pounds.
Nonetheless, my male ego was determined that I would not be outdone. So, I sat down at the machine, gazed hesitantly upon the weight settings, and moved the pin to 190 pounds. I took a deep breath, pressed down on the handles….
And completed three sets of 12 reps!
Here’s what I know: I would not have attempted that much weight on my own. Why? Because I was convinced I could not do it. Had I attempted it, I am sure I would have stopped after five or six reps. I would have told myself, “See, it’s just too difficult,” and I would have reset the weight to something much more comfortable.
The difference in this particular workout was that I was not alone. Sure, it may have been my male competitiveness that drove me to push harder, but the fact that someone was there challenging my limitations gave me the necessary motivation to do something I had never done before.
This is exactly why many ministers remain so unhealthy.
Though we are often surrounded by others, ministry tends to be very isolating. Most ministers have few (if any) friends in whom they can confide when they are hurting or struggling. Furthermore, many have no one to encourage or coach them as they work to develop new habits to improve their health or productivity.
In my own experience, I have excelled the most when I have brought someone along with me for the ride.
In ministry: In the first few years after I became a pastor, I had a friend named Glenn that mentored me over the phone. Once a week, we talked about what was happening in my life, my family, and our church. He pushed me to take bold steps that I would never have had the courage to take on my own. He challenged my assumptions and proved to me that I could grow beyond where I was.
In fitness: When I decided I needed to get serious about my health, I knew if I took the same approach as in my previous failed attempts at losing weight, I would not succeed. So, I invested in a personal trainer who not only pushed me to work out harder than I ever thought possible, but also taught me a better way to eat and then held me accountable to it. Forty pounds later, I was a different person!
In my inner life: During periods of my life where I have struggled emotionally and spiritually, I have visited a Christian counselor and sought advice from close friends that had earned my trust. Their wisdom and perspective impacted how I perceived my situation, and helped me make wise decisions.
In each of these areas, I reached out to someone who could give me that extra push.
We are not designed to do life alone. We need one another.
Yes, even ministers need others.
Do you have a goal you are trying to reach? A hurt you don’t know how to heal? An obstacle you are struggling to overcome?
Find someone to help. Find someone that will push you to challenge your limitations, to believe you CAN when you believe you CAN’T. You will become more and accomplish more than you could ever do alone.
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