Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Your Hoodie? (Or, what happens when a chubby, Jesus-loving girl joins CrossFit)

Yep. That's me. Deadlifting 190 pounds.
I joined Five Forks CrossFit in November.
I know. I’m surprised, too.

My husband’s been doing CrossFit for years, but when a new box (that’s what a CrossFit facility is called) opened a few miles away, he finally convinced me to give it a try.
I love it.

Well, except for the 8-20 minutes of the WOD (workout of the day). During the WOD, I hate it with every twitching muscle fiber that is begging me for mercy.

But other than that, I love it and I keep going back. All through our renovation, even one day in the snow, I’ve dragged myself out of bed well before dawn, pulled on my compression pants and my dry-wick shirt, laced up my CrossFit nano 3.0 shoes, and walked through those doors.

My sweat has dripped on the mats, my shins have the scrapes, my collarbones have the bruises, and my hands have the callouses that come from Olympic lifts, and my body has changed enough that people have noticed.

So why is it that every time I pull on my Five Forks CrossFit hoodie, I have to remind myself of all of that? I have to talk myself into putting it on and wearing it out the door?

Because there’s a part of me—the deepest, most insecure part of me—that wonders if I have any business portraying myself as a CrossFitter, because I don’t look like a “CrossFit Woman.”

Have you seen these images on Pinterest or your Facebook feed? The pictures are almost always of women in sports bras and boy shorts, with knee socks and chalk on their thighs. They’re doing pull-ups and one-armed handstands and no one can question that they are physically elite.

I just can’t compete with that.

I look like a woman who has three children and a serious sweet tooth. I can’t do a pull-up or a handstand, much less with one arm. And I try to keep as much of my skin covered as possible, because no one wants to see me in boy shorts.

With that said, there is another part of me that knows that I’m just as much a CrossFit Woman as those elite athletes are. Not because I can do what they can, but because I’m in the game. I’m learning. I’m using muscles I never knew I had and I’m not the same woman I was four months ago.

So I remind myself of that, put on my hoodie, and walk out the door. And when someone says, “You do CrossFit?” I look look them straight in the eye and say, “Yes! And I love it!”

I’m wondering if you feel the same way about your Christian walk? I know I do.

Sometimes I’m terrified to speak truth into a situation. I feel sick to my stomach in the first few hours after I post a blog. And when I’m with friends, sometimes I know I should say, “Let’s stop talking about it and start praying about it,” but I rarely do.


Because I don’t look like an elite Christian Woman. Have you heard of these women? They always do the right thing. They never yell at their kids, their husband, or dog. They don’t cuss when they burn dinner. They know exactly how to respond to every parenting dilemma or family crisis.

I just can’t compete with that.

I’m a woman who has a temper. Who likes things done the “right” way—by my definition of “right” thank you very much. I fight my pride, my fear, and my tongue.

Satan loves to whisper in my ear that I have no business claiming I love Jesus, especially after that fiasco of a morning we just had.
But the Holy Spirit says different.

He reminds me that while I have a long way to go, I’m in the game. I’ve been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. My sins are forgiven. By His grace, I’m not the same woman I was ten years ago, or even ten months ago. I’m learning, changing, becoming more and more like Him every day.

I know when I wear my FFC hoodie, there may be a few people who look at me and think, “There’s no way that chubby thing does CrossFit,” but what I’ve discovered is that most of the time, it opens a door. Someone who might be nervous about trying it looks at me and thinks, “If Lynn can do it maybe I can, too.”

My FFC Hoodie
Maybe that’s all the Holy Spirit is asking of us.

Just to put it out there. Not because we are elite. Not because we’ve achieved perfection.
Precisely the opposite.

If God can speak to us and through us when we are such a mess, then maybe He can do that for them, too.

I don’t know what your “hoodie” is. Maybe it’s telling a co-worker what God showed you this week or sharing a book you’re reading with that mom who sits beside you at gymnastics. Maybe it’s as “simple” as getting out of your house and meeting your neighbors, asking God for the opportunity to be a light in your cul-de-sac. Whatever it is, God wants you to put it on now.

Be brave enough to let His light shine, and when someone says, “So, you’re a Christian?” you can look them in the eye and say, “Yes! I love Jesus! He’s changing my life.”

Satan just can’t compete with that.


What happens when a chubby, Jesus-loving girl joins CrossFit. (Click to Tweet)

What's your hoodie? (Click to Tweet)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Finishing Is Hard

It’s finished.
Well…for the most part.

Nine weeks and two days after the pipes burst (that’s 65 days folks - not that I've been counting or anything), the construction has been completed. 

I’m ecstatic.

I’m also exhausted, and a bit apprehensive, because there is still so much to do.

Oh, the construction is finished. The tools are put away and the trips to Lowe’s have come to an end slowed to once or twice a week, but that doesn’t mean we are done. Part of me wants to kick back and hang out in the rooms where everything is completed. They look nice and it’s easy to pretend the rest of the house is in the same state.

Trust me, the rest of the house needs work and lots of it.

Last week, I focused on rooms where the payoff was immediate. The half-bath. The laundry room. Small rooms that needed a few hours of effort to be declared “done”. My husband pointed out that I like tackling the smaller jobs because I can finish them and feel like I’ve accomplished something. Which is so true.

It’s the larger jobs—the unpacking of the kitchen and the bedroom—that are harder to tackle. They won’t be done in a few hours, or even a few days, and I need to find the mental fortitude (and my fortitude is too tired to help much with this) to keep at it, even when it feels like I will never finish.

I’ve been thinking a lot about finishing, and it seems to me that finishing is a lost art.

Diets, books, budgets, sports, committees, savings plans, educations, marriages, relationships . . . when the going gets tough, the typical American kicks back in their recliner and watches Netflix. We can’t be bothered to do the hard stuff. We want to be comfortable and we’re willing to ignore a certain amount of chaos if it means we don’t miss an episode of American Idol.


Finishing is hard. It requires discipline, effort, and intentionality. It also requires a healthy dose of love for the people involved. The children who will benefit from that college savings plan, the spouse who needs you to hang in there when they are being a Class A Jerk, the friend who’s desperate to still be welcome in your world, even after you find out about that SUPER HORRIBLE THING he did . . . you get the idea.

It was while I was enjoying the ambiance of a newly finished room that God nudged me.
“I like finishing things, too.”

Ah…yes, I guess He does.

Have you ever thought about this? The millions of works-in-progress God has all over the universe. He manages everything from galaxies to moss, and He continually works in the lives of those He loves. That would be me and you.

Right now, with the desire to quit weighing heavily on me, I’ve found a new appreciation for these words.

Philippians 1:6 ~ And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

I know how much work He has to do in my heart, with my drama, my flaws, my selfishness, my pride. Left up to me, I’d call it. Throw in the towel. Put the whole show on indefinite hiatus.
Thankfully, it’s not up to me.

He won’t quit. He won’t get bored. He won’t decide it’s too hard or too expensive. He won’t bail when everyone else says it’s not worth it or when everything He’s done hasn’t made an obvious difference.

He knows the work is good.
He knows the final result will be spectacular.
He is the Alpha and Omega—the first and the last—the beginning AND the end.

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 ~ Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (ESV)


Saturday, March 8, 2014

It Snowed on My Renovation

It snowed on my renovation.


I live in South Carolina. This kind of winter weather occurs maybe once a decade. But just let my house get torn apart, let me be waiting for paint and granite, let me get to a point where people are watching me for signs of imminent implosion, and then, baby, we will have snow. We will have a storm worthy of a name. Winter Storm Pax. Pax? Doesn’t that mean Peace? Who makes up these names anyway?

In a part of the country where we had ZERO snow days last year, our kids have already had eight. EIGHT! All eight of them, you guessed it, in the middle of my renovation. And that doesn’t include the early dismissals and late starts.

I confess that there have been more than a few times when I’ve lifted my eyes to the heavens with one profound question.


(You need to try to get the full effect. Look at your ceiling. Infuse your voice with annoyance. Roll your eyes. Twice. Then say it with me.)


(Now huff and shake your head. You’ve got it.)

It’s a wonder there were no lightening strikes to go along with the snow because if I’ve learned anything during the past eight weeks, it’s this.

I am addicted to comfort and I am spoiled to convenience.

For weeks, we operated with a make-shift kitchen. The refrigerator was in the garage. The kitchen sink was in a box upstairs awaiting the granite so we used the sink in the laundry room. The dishes were in boxes in the basement, so we used a lot of paper. There was a stretch where the oven was also in the garage, so we used the stovetop, microwave, and we ate out. A lot.

Does anyone else see the problem here?

I’m complaining, because my refrigerator (one of two, I might add) was in the garage. I had power, running water, heat, food . . . And a bad attitude.

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (I Timothy 6:8, ESV)
Do all things without grumbling or questioning. (Philippians 2:14, ESV)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8, ESV)

What I want to call a justifiable annoyance, understandable aggravation, or reasonable frustration, God refuses to condone. So let’s lay it out there with a little less finesse and a whole lot more truth.

It’s called sin.


This renovation exposed more than studs and sub-floor.
It exposed the moldy mess of my heart.

Laid bare, for weeks. Layers of gunk and grime that I’ve never had to deal with before. And every time I tried to short-circuit the process or make it less frustrating, God cut me off. There was no getting around this lesson. No quick fix. No express lane back to comfort and convenience.

I’m sure God had many purposes for Winter Storm Pax, but there’s no question in my mind that part of the plan was the overhaul needed in my heart.

I’m writing these words on one of the final days of the renovation. There are a few rooms that make me smile every time I enter them. There are lamps, rugs, pictures, comfy chairs, and the kitchen island of my dreams. There’s fresh paint and new curtains and a general sense of things being as they should be.

Then there are the other rooms.
Sweet mercy.
Hot mess doesn’t even come close to describing the chaos in my bathroom. Or the laundry situation.

A hot mess, just like me.

I’m pretty sure as God looks around my heart, He sees the rooms that aren’t too bad. The places where He is reflected well. But He sees all the other spaces, too. The filth hidden behind doors, under floors, or covered up with glossy paint. The difference is, that while this girl doesn’t want to see another renovation for a decade, He’s already spotted a space that can’t wait. He can picture it, how it will look when He’s done. How His glory will shine. How He will be put on display in that spot.

The question is, when He gets to work will I fight Him every step of the way, or will I trust that He knows what He’s doing? Will I call sin, sin, and allow His forgiveness and cleansing to wash me clean, or will I wallow in my own muck?

There’s one thing I know for sure.

He’s not done.
Not even close.