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Posts tagged ‘failure’

Getting Fit

A few weeks ago I told you that I was going to get P90X and do it. I may not have mentioned it since then, but I have certainly been thinking about it, almost every day, in fact. I’ve also been working hard to get ready for it. Every week I have increased my average workout time by 10-15 minutes, so that this week I am doing 50-60 minute workouts.

There has not been a day in the last 2 1/2 weeks that I have not been sore somewhere. Near the beginning of the month, I got so sore from a half-hour cardio workout that I could barely walk up and down the stairs at church two days later! I haven’t been that sore anywhere since. However, I have been mildly sore in various places–legs, abs, arms, shoulders… the soreness just moves, never leaves. :) And I’m sure it’s only going to get worse starting next Sunday! LOL!

I’ve been watching some of the P90X videos to get an idea of what they will be doing, and I have learned some things from them and also from the videos I have been using on ExerciseTV.tv. I noticed that the trainers would do circuits. They would pick 3 or more sets of exercises, and do either so many reps or so many seconds (30, 45, 60, etc) depending on the exercise, and whether it were strength training or aerobic. Well, I decided to apply that to my strength training at the gym.

Something else I learned was about working to failure, meaning you lift a weight heavy enough that at either 8-10 reps or 12-15 (depending on whether you want to build bulk or lean muscle respectively), you cannot life it one more time. Then you rest that muscle by doing other exercises, then come back and do it again.

This is the machine I was using.

So I took those two things to the gym last week. The first exercise I did was the machine bench press . I picked that and two other machines and did 1 set on each machine 3 times. Then I picked 3 more machines and did the same thing, for a total of 9 machines last Thursday. I was able to benchpress only 22 pounds with that machine.

Now, not only is 22 pounds a very small amount, but considering that when I started in late May, almost exactly 4 months ago, I started out at barely being able to do the 20-pound minimum, that’s really bad. I mean, gaining only 2 pounds in 4 months… But all summer whenever I would use that machine, I would do as many reps as I could, then rest for a minute, then do as many as I could again (usually about 12-14).

Tonight I went again. I started out at 22 pounds, but it was too easy. I got all the way to 15. So on the second round, I put it up to 24. That was still too easy, so I put it up to 26. I should have put it up to 28, because I still got up to 15 reps! So that’s a 4-6 pound gain in just 5 days! I worked the muscle to the max, let it rest, then did it again, and sure enough, I improved!

I also improved how much I could do with the bicep curl machine by a couple of pounds, so I was very happy. :)

That’s what P90X seems to be about. Only much more intense!

I can’t wait to get started. I’ll keep you all posted, probably with video posts. And I’ll post my modest before and after pictures (no guys except my husband will ever get to see the immodest ones I took yesterday) once I get them taken. And I’ll try to talk about other things on this blog other than just exercise. It’s just on my mind right now. Including my recipe for a homemade recovery drink. I need to actually make it first, though, and see how it turns out, before I post the recipe!

So are you planning a workout to get ready for the holidays? Why not share it?

In the last two days I have painted a picture of how I felt during the time that I was, essentially, trying to hide from God. I knew I was lost; I doubted that I could ever make it; I feared that any attempt at surrender was doomed to failure sooner or later. Of course this was denying the power of God, and I knew it. But I had no evidence that this time would be any different. I wasn’t able or even willing to walk by faith.

During this time of struggle, I opened up to one lady from my church, and she encouraged me to read the book Seeing With New Eyes, and loaned me her copy. This book takes a look at Jesus and His love in a way that grips the heart. It presents Christ’s love in a most attractive way. Most of the information was not exactly new to me, but it was still it began to soften my heart.

You see, I had become almost desensitized to the sacrifice of Christ. I had heard the story so many times that it didn’t move me like it had at first. This worried me greatly. I would read things like the following, and I would almost become depressed:

They [referring to the self-centered] forget the Man of Sorrows, who was acquainted with grief. The sufferings of Jesus in Gethsemane, His sweating as it were great drops of blood in the garden, the platted crown of thorns that pierces His holy brow, do not move them. They have become benumbed. Their sensibilities are blunted, and they have lost all sense of the great sacrifice made for them. They can sit and listen to the story of the cross, hear how the cruel nails were driven through the hands and feet of the Son of God, and it does not stir the depths of the soul.” 1T 155.

That statement could not have described me better if it had been written by someone who could read my heart. I knew it, and it terrified me.

But gradually I realized what was the problem. This passage gives a clue:

The sinner may resist this love, may refuse to be drawn to Christ; but if he does not resist he will be drawn to Jesus; a knowledge of the plan of salvation will lead him to the foot of the cross in repentance for his sins, which have caused the sufferings of God’s dear Son. SC 27.

Looking back, I can see that I was resisting. I thought I had a good excuse: I was afraid of failing again. But praise God, Jesus’ love was stronger than my fear. As I read that book Seeing With New Eyes, I began to see something of the beauty of God’s character, the awesomeness of His love, the depth of His sacrifice; and as I made the choice to behold, my heart began to soften.

As I felt my heart softening, I began more and more to feel the drawing of God upon my heart. And little by little I began to yield. One morning I woke up with the sense that God was calling me to come spend time with Him. It was almost an audible voice, speaking to my heart, saying, “Lisa, please come spend some time with Me. I long to spend time with you. Won’t you please get out of bed, get your Bible, and find the blessings I have prepared specially for you?” I was tired, but I couldn’t resist such tender pleadings. So I got up. And I found myself surrendering to the Lord.

I was still afraid of failure, but I simply couldn’t resist any longer. So I took the first step and said that I would let God be in charge of my life.

Tomorrow I will share two of the things that I did to fortify against the failure I so much feared–besides continuing to behold Jesus, of course! I want to continue doing that for the rest of my life!

By SamHastings on Flickr

Yesterday, I shared in part 1 how my life has been a series of spiritual ups and downs, characterized by trying to build walls to make others think I was good, while inside I was a mess.

Well, a few weeks ago I just sort of hit bottom. I had been trying to escape reality with compulsive kinds of actions, like reading for hours on end, playing computer games, etc., while my family deteriorated around me. I didn’t know what to do, and I hated myself for the way I was and the way I had allowed things to become. The bad habits of my youth were now maturing into very nasty character flaws that I could see being mirrored in my children, and I began to realize that I had to make a choice.

But I was loath to do it. Make the choice, I mean. Because I basically had two alternatives. Either surrender to God and let Him change me, or reject God and give up on everything I believed. I just couldn’t stand staying the way I was. The problem was, the latter option was just too horrendous to contemplate. And besides, being a Christian was so ingrained into my identity that I would find myself turning to God automatically when in difficult situations–like when I turned into my driveway too early and almost went over edge of the road into a tree!

But surrender scared me.

Why did it scare me? It wasn’t because I was afraid of surrender itself. I had experienced full surrender in the past–at least, as full as I knew at the time. I remember almost having an accident, and actually not getting an adrenalin rush because I had such peace with God. I longed to have that kind of relationship again. But I was afraid of failure. I had tried so many times, and just as many times I had failed. Turned my back on God. Let go of His hand and basically said, “I’m going to do it my way.”

Then I would read verses like Hebrews 6:4-6 and wonder if maybe I was a hopeless case.  But then I knew that any yearnings in my soul for God meant that I had definitely not committed the unpardonable sin, and that meant there definitely was hope for me. (I have stored up a lot of head knowledge over the years, and in times like this it was both a comfort and a torment.)

But I still feared failure. I didn’t want to turn my life over to God and then take it back once again. I wanted to break the cycle of up and down. After talking to my friend from church that I mentioned yesterday, I got in touch with one of my old friends from several years ago and began to pour out my heart to her. In an email, I wrote this:

I realize that to surrender to the extent that I did as a youth isn’t enough anymore. In proportion to the light that I have I must yield, and I have more light now than I did then. So my surrender now must be deeper than it has ever been.

As you can see, I knew what I needed to do. I needed to surrender. But I was afraid. What if I failed again? I didn’t think I could bear it. All my head knowledge told me that God would accept me just as I was, that He would forgive me and take me back with rejoicing. All the promises of His keeping power that I had memorized kept surfacing into my consciousness; evidence of His love was everywhere I looked if I just chose to see it. I began to sense things coming to a climax. I realized that it was only a matter of time before I did make a surrender. But still I hesitated.

Looking back honestly, I think that it was deeper than just my fear of failure, even though that was a very big issue. I was also unwilling to surrender certain things. It’s a lie of the devil, the idea that if you surrender to God, He will take away the things that make you happy. I know by experience that He only takes away the things that make us miserable. But I didn’t want to let go of some of those things. And some things I wondered if He would make me give them up, when in reality He wasn’t so much interested in my things as just in having me. And as I began to take that reality to heart, I began to soften.

I realize that I may not be communicating my thoughts very well. There were so many levels to my situation that I don’t know how to explain it with words. Maybe if you try to feel with your heart what I am trying to  convey, you will understand. I’m sure if you’ve ever been where I am, you can understand. I hope by the time I finish this series, those of my readers who are in the same situation I was will have some answers. That’s my goal, my reason for opening my heart to you. Not that I have all the answers yet. But I have a few. And maybe one or two of them will help.

Tomorrow I will share some of the steps that helped get me out of this dark hole I was in. So stay tuned.