Something pretty cool happened in my life yesterday. To provide some context as how exciting it was, let’s go back a ways.
Prior to starting CrossFit, I did my own weightlifting routines in the gym. I had been familiar with CrossFit for a while and was aware of some of the movements they emphasized. One of these movements is called a muscle-up. You start by hanging from the bar and end with your torso above the bar (imagine a gymnast effortlessly hoisting themselves up onto the high bar).
I had seen it and wanted to try. After all, how hard could it be? My first attempt was in the gym next to weightlifting equipment. I got on the bar and nothing exciting happened. At the time, I think I was nervous to commit to a full effort in front of the other lifters, so I chalked it up to that and moved on.
In March of last year, my husband and I joined a CrossFit gym. While he had participated in the sport before, I had not. I was excited to shake-up my training and try something new. Plus now, I could learn how to do muscle-ups along with other cool skills.
When I could do pull-ups and dips, the coach was optimistic about my ability to do the muscle-up. He asked me to give it a shot, and I did. My attempt looked like an aggressive pull-up. He gave me tips and coaching, then I tried some more. Nope. I knew inside that I was capable of doing it–a fact that the coach encouraged me of as well–but it was a matter of learning the movement.
It’s interesting how we are all different. Some people are able to successfully do muscle-ups on their first try. For others, it takes practice. I was one of those others. Over the next several months, I practiced here and there. In CrossFit, there’s also a ring muscle-up. Some days, I’d practice on the bar, some days the rings, some days the bars and rings.
By the end of December, I was close to doing a muscle-up on the rings, so I set a goal for myself. Keep in mind too that I thought I was close for a while, so “close” meant “closer than I was before.” My goal was to do a successful ring muscle-up by the end of January.
During the month of January, I focused my extra training. Not only did I incorporate more ring muscle-up drills into my practice, but I did something else that was even more important: I was intentional about involving God in my training. God wants to be part of every aspect of our lives, not just the things we consider “important enough.” He had helped me daily in my track career and helps me in training myself. Seriously, there are times at the gym when I’ll hear His coaching nudge to do “this” or “that.” He is the best coach ever!
God knows my body—He created it. He knows me inside and out, and He knows why I haven’t gotten a muscle-up. Why not ask the one who knows me better than anyone else to help teach me what I need to learn? So, I asked God to teach my body the movement.
There were times during the month that I felt discouraged. It seemed like success was so close, and yet so far. People thought for a while that I’d get it any day now, and I hadn’t. In those moments that I wanted to pack away the goal and open it again later, God gave me the strength and determination to not give up.
When our performance doesn’t live up to our own expectations, or the expectations of others, it’s easy to feel disappointed or discouraged. When those emotions creep in, I challenge you to rise up in faith. Speak faith over the situation, and put your trust in God.
Practice was going well, but I still hadn’t gotten it. Part way through the month, after focusing on ring-muscle ups only, I tried a bar muscle-up again. I don’t remember if it was before or after the switch, but I saw information about ring vs. bar muscle-ups posted by ZOAR Fitness, and I wanted to give one of the bar tips a try. This time, the attempt was better than before, so I decided to keep practicing. I shifted my goal to getting either a ring OR bar muscle-up by the end of the month. Either would be great!
Yesterday was the last day in January. I decided to go in and practice. I had hoped that it would be the day. Before I went inside, I talked to God and asked Him again to teach my body the movement.
Friends, after about 11 months of missed attempts, many that-was-so-close tries, and plenty of that-didn’t-count’s: I jumped toward the bar, leading with my legs together, swung through, and whoosh! I was at the top of the bar. It felt effortless, like God helped me float right up. It happened on the first attempt! I was so excited.
God is good, and He wants to be involved in our lives. No matter what you’re facing, you can persevere knowing that God will never leave you. He will walk with you through every part of your journey, if you let Him. Nothing is too big, or too small, for God.