When you’re at the gym, in focused mode – having a good workout and someone beside you drops their machine weights, does your whole body jump in reflexive reaction? Especially when your back is to them? Maybe it’s just me, at 6:00 am, but my hair on my arms stand on end! One time “bang”! Second time “bang”! I gotta look then. “Who is that dropping their weights?”
To my surprise, it’s a well defined, possibly experienced, 20 something weight lifter! The third time “bang”!? By then my emotions kick in and I want to retaliate! “I ought to just drop my weights so this young lady can experience what I’ve just been through, kinda felt like a walk through a rock query with my eyes blind folded!” Or maybe I should just walk up and say to her in my southern drawl, “Honey, it takes muscles to gently lower your weights too. You’ll make more friends that way.”
As I paused between sets, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit to “let my gentleness be evident to ALL”.(Philippians 4:5)
I decided to ask for gentleness, a part of God’s Spirit promised to me. So I prayed for her instead of retaliating, that the loud weight dropper would consider others when she works out. I realized that my retaliation to “bang” my weights at her would not be the best example. I decided to be a good example, use self control, and gently lower my weights down after my last two sets.
Kind of like tense life issues when we need to pause between the “rep sets”. After the 3rd time when we’ve been misunderstood, blamed, or mistreated, we can choose to pause, pray 1st, respond in love and gentleness, then remember to be an example to spread good not retaliate. Entrusting people’s actions to God in prayer allows the Holy Spirit to give us strength and grace to respond in love.
I hate to confess that I did not come through that encounter “passing the test” completely… she still got the look that my husband taught me!
So next time you’re working out literally, or “wait training” in your difficult conversations or circumstances, and someone drops the weights at the gym say a quick prayer for God’s Spirit to help you “let your gentleness be evident to all…to be an example even to your enemies! And remember do as I say, and not as I do, skip the glare!