The class workout was a tough one. I looked at Wodify (the app listing the programming for our gym) and grimaced because this one was sure to cause pain. I had my own workout to do that day, but my friend Alyssa talked about the effects of the workout while sitting across from me at the kitchen table that night. The workout was 10 rounds for time of 5 burpees over the bar, 6 toes to bar, and 7 power snatches. “I had a really hard time today,” she said, sounding defeated. “I was last today. I know I’m going to be last, and I’m usually o’kay with it, but today was different. It was just really hard. But I didn’t quit.” I sat there staring at her. She continued, “When everyone else was doing toes to bar, I had to scale the workout to knee raises. My hands ripped and I had to modify the knee raises again.” She could have made every excuse not to do that workout … but she didn’t.
If anyone has the “right” to make excuses for why they can’t do the workouts, it’s Alyssa. She has struggled with her weight most of her life. Things that may be easy for you and I … fitting into stadium chairs, walking without feeling winded … are hard for her. She chooses to come to crossfit every day. When an excuse comes into her mind, she tells herself she can do what the person next to her is doing, even if she has to modify the workout. No excuses!
If I were to ask you how willing and able you are to reach your health goals, what would you say? Many people ask me about nutrition, but before I can help them, I have to get to know them. I give them a questionnaire to get some helpful information. Some of the questions ask how willing and able they are to change. The answers range from 1-10 on how willing and how able the client is to put forth the effort required to reach their goals. I’m always in awe at the 9’s and 10’s listed on the form. “Oh, I am so willing!!” they say. Or, “I am completely able to do this!” they’ll proclaim. It’s not that circling 9’s and 10’s is wrong or right. But, writing down your ambitions on paper is easy. It’s what comes next that determines whether what you circled matches your desire for change.
Have you ever considered the difference between the words will and want? To want is a desire to possess or wish for something. To will is a strong desire that promotes deliberate action. I’ve said before, we all want to look good. We want toned muscles and six pack abs. But the will to get them doesn’t just depend on a scale from 1-10. It depends on the action we put forth to get it.
I find a common reason why people say they are willing and able, but cannot make it three weeks into a new fitness/nutrition plan: excuses. Excuses hold us back from everything. Did you know an excuse is putting blame somewhere else? Someone or something has to get blamed for our inaction. When it comes to God and our relationship with Him, we will not be excused for our excuses.
“You reap what you sow.” Most of us have heard that phrase. It means we will face the consequences of our choices. Even inaction is a choice. But that phrase comes from Galations 6:7-8 where it says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” We can sow in excuses and reap the consequences of our inaction.
There’s a common misconception among people who want to do crossfit but are intimidated by it. Many people think you have to be in shape before you step into the gym. That’s just not true. Anyone can do crossfit and anyone can get into shape. Don’t believe me? Ask Alyssa! Anyone can workout and choose to eat right. Anyone! But not everyone will. They will reap the consequences of their inaction, whether it be from health issues or a dissatisfied outlook on what they see in the mirror.
Just like everyone can get into shape but won’t, anyone can have a relationship with God. Anyone! And you don’t have to shape up your life before you call out to Him. In Luke 14, Jesus tells a story about a man who invites people to a wedding feast. He invited the wealthy, the drunks, the outcasts, everyone … but they ALL made excuses as to why they couldn’t come. One bought a piece of land and had to take care of it. Another just got married and wanted to spend time with his wife. Another wanted to tend to his work. Excuses! They wanted the good things God offers, but they didn’t have the will to accept His invitation. The consequence? There was no room at the table once they changed their minds.
Will versus want. We all want good things, but are we willing to do what it takes to get it? Alyssa is willing to come in last, rip her hands, and modify her workouts to get what she wants physically. Do we fight as hard as her when it comes to the things of God?
Do you want to know what God thinks about our excuses? In Romans 1:20, it says, “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities .. His eternal power and divine nature … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made (creation), so that people are without excuse.” When we stand before God one day, we cannot use the excuse of ignorance for our inaction of following Him. Everything He has made is clearly visible. He proves His existence so that we are without excuse.
When it comes down to it, will versus want is determined by our excuses. The difference between action or inaction. I’ll end todays blog with the words of God Himself, when He laid the choice to act before His people. He says, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” Deut 30:19. Every day Alyssa makes it to the gym is a choice to give her physical body a chance to be healthier, to live. When we choose God, we make the same choice for our spiritual welfare. So I ask, how willing are you? How able? Everyone wants blessings and life, but getting it requires a will to act and no excuses. Don’t just want it. I encourage you to take action and choose life!