Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I Don't Want to be a Blessing Hog
I have a somewhat shameful reason for not exercising. I can’t make working out about being healthy. Vanity is my primary motivation. And because no exercise regimen I’ve ever done has actually gotten rid of my cellulite or made my bottom smaller, I have little hope of reaching that goal. The whole time I’m doing my thigh-busting Pilates tape, what I’m thinking -- besides that I wish my toddler would stop sitting on my ankles – is “fat thighs, fat thighs, fat thighs.” And so, since I would rather not think that, I just choose not to exercise.
As I was packing my bags last week to head off to the MOPS convention I made the mistake of telling Hubby that they were having 7 a.m. workouts in the hotel for the moms. “Oh good,” Hubby said. “You can take your work-out clothes.”
“Why in the world would I want to do that?” I asked. “I’ll be on vacation!”
“But you’ll have time to exercise for a change,” he said. Isn’t it sweet that Hubby thinks it’s time keeping me from exercising? I’ve got time – I’m blogging for goodness sake. I sew at least once a week. I read about a novel a week. Do you see what these things have in common? They are all goal-oriented activities that give me a sense of completion. Plus, they’re all done sitting down.
“But what possible good could two workouts do?” I wailed. “It’s not like I’ll keep it up when we get home.” But guilt got the better of me, so I took up a good third of my carry-on suitcase space, packing my monstrous size-10 trainers.
The first morning, attending an exercise class was not a possibility, since the 7 a.m. start time felt like 4 a.m. to my West Coast body. Meanwhile, the rest of the day I got lots of mental and spiritual exercise. I attended a seminar on leadership skills: how to listen, set goals, and inspire your team. I also spent very helpful process time with my friend Maggi, the Coordinator from our church’s Thursday morning MOPS group.
Maggi and I agree that the hardest part of team leading for us is delegating. It takes more organization skills and the willingness to give up control to let the other members of the team do their job, rather than just doing it yourself. (This is also very true in mothering, by the way. It’s much easier to pick up your kids toys for them then to teach them to do it themselves.)
Maggi gave me a great new expression during one of our conversations: “Don’t be a blessing hog.” We experience so many blessings when we serve: learning, humility, a feeling of purpose and competence. The list goes on and on. So if I deprive my sisters and team members of the opportunity to serve, I would be hogging their blessings.
This concept took an amusing turn that evening. Forgetting that Maggi had run three miles on the treadmill that day while I lolled by the pool, I told her about my exercise conversation with Jeff, looking for an, “Amen, sister.” Instead, she insisted with her surprisingly stern mommy look that we both get up for the class in the morning, because "any movement, Amanda, is better than no movement."
I picked up the phone to order a wake-up call. “Oh no,” Maggi said, pointing to the clock radio on the nightstand. “It will so much more soothing to wake up to music.” Two minutes after watching me fumbling lamely with the alarm buttons, took the radio out of my hands, and set it herself. I humbly let her serve me in this way.
It’s really true that letting others serve allows them to experience a blessing. And in this case, it blessed me too. Because at 7:15 (the class began at 7, remember), Maggi and I both woke to the sounds of static, which had apparently been buzzing in our ears for at least 30 minutes.
“Praise God!” I cried, and rolled back over until 8 a.m.
Hang in here, friends, while I pull this all together. Maggi's right. Any movement is better than no movement. It's perfectionism that keeps me from exercising. If I can't do it awesome, I won't do it at all. And the same perfectionism can keep me from letting others around me do things their way. I'm looking forward to putting these revelations to good use, if not on the Pilates mat, then at least in my ministry and my motherhood.