Recently I added a strength training class to my exercise routine. Even though I was told the instructor was very tough, I figured I could make it through the class. I was in the military, so I’ve had experience with tough drill sergeants. I wanted to build my strength so whatever I needed to do I was willing to do. I was told if I took the class that I should not be surprised if the instructor called me out in the classroom. I was told if I was doing something incorrectly she would single me out and that she wasn’t the type to let up. This did not shake me; I actually looked forward to the challenge.
I arrived for the first day of class and found I was the only one in the class that was new. Since I had never taken the class, I wasn’t familiar with the exercises. So naturally I didn’t do them all correctly. And just as I had been told the instructor started calling me out. It seemed like my name was being called every two or three minutes.
One of the exercises I had difficulty completing is called the plank. Basically, you position yourself as if you’re doing a push-up. The only parts of the body touching the floor are your hands and toes. Your body is as stiff as a board, or a plank. If I heard, “Sandra get your rear end out of the air,” once I heard it 1,000 times.
After I left the class, I replayed the class over in my mind and realized that being corrected didn’t bother me. I knew I must do the exercise accurately or I could hurt myself or not get the full benefit. The problem that I had was her attitude during the correction. Each time I was off the mark, she seemed to become more and more aggravated. Huffing, puffing, or slamming her hand down on the ground and stomping over to my mat. “No, like this!” Color me embarrassed!
As she became more and more aggravated, I could tell the other students in the class were beginning to feel uncomfortable and a little sorry for me. Several of them chimed in, “Don’t worry Sandra, you’ll get it!” or “Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t do them when I first started either.” After the first day, I felt defeated and embarrassed, but I refuse to give up. As I arrived for class over the next few days, she continued the verbal assault.
By the time I reached my fourth day of class my attitude was beginning to really sink. I was dreading going to the class. But in order to improve my strength, I had to go and not quit. On the fourth morning, I laid in bed struggling to get the courage to get up and go. I was trying to talk myself into being happy. Then I prayed, Lord please don’t let her yell at me today. And then to my surprise, the Lord said, “You’re not praying for her.” That hit me like a ton of bricks. He was right! I was so miserable and living in my own pity party I forgot to pray. So, I stopped right then and said a prayer for the instructor that she would be more encouraging and that I could do a better job with accurately completing the exercises.
Well color me happy! I showed up for class on the fourth day, and she welcomed me with open arms. For the first time, while in class, she was encouraging and said, “Good job Sandra! You’re getting it. I knew you would.” Now I can hold a plank for 20 to 30 seconds! What a great reminder to lift every situation up to prayer.
27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:27-28