By Lindsey Strickler, FAITH RXD Marketing and Media Director, average athlete, and dedicated fitness enthusiast.
Today we’re going to be exploring a counter-cultural view of strength. To physically experience this, we’re going to do work with something many people don’t regularly program into their training- strongman sandbags. This workout is taken from one of our past True Strength Faith + Fitness Training Camp fitness sessions.
It was written by Sarah Loogman, founder of Point One Vision, and Breath and Movement Specialist. She challenges people in three areas:
- Muscle hypertrophy: working to true muscle failure
- Mental resilience: working through the quit-factor
- Postural integrity: understanding how to appropriately hold tension
It will be tempting to quit, and it will be tempting to sacrifice form and postural integrity, but her challenge is to learn the difference between failure and quitting. This can only be found by pushing your comfort zone, and the difference between quitting and failing is a mental game that only you and God know.
If you don’t have a sandbag, you can grab a book bag or pillowcase, fill it with heavy objects (like books or cans), and surround them with a towel.
Remember, the point of this workout is to fail, not quit.
5 sets of:
- 3 sandbag strict press
- 4 sandbag push press
- 5 sandbag front squats
- Sandbag thrusters to muscle failure
- Rest 2+ minutes
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Three years ago I was in a car accident that left me with a broken back and traumatic brain injury. Due to the pain and things going on in my brain, sleep was little, to non-existent, for four months. After a year of trying to recover on my own, and be independent, I had a choice: I either keep drowning, or admit that I needed help and needed to move home to be near people who loved me and could help me heal. At the time, I thought I was weak and a failure, but I now realize it was one of the strongest moments of my life.
Strength has two definitions in our english language, “the quality or state of being physically strong,” and, “the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.” When we talk about strength, especially in the fitness world, we think of these insanely athletic human beings who are capable of moving large loads or putting up the best scores in workouts. In other areas, we think of incredibly resilient human beings who may have been former military operators. Human beings that can “take on anything,” who may be “harder to kill,” who “don’t stop when they’re tired, but stop when they’re done.” We love to study them and learn from them.
There’s incredible acts of strength displayed throughout the Bible, but they’re all tied to God being glorified, or his plan being accomplished. There are verses that call us to physically protect the weak and vulnerable in verses like, Isaiah 1:7, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Or Psalm 82:3, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed.”
The physical gift of strength, and the mental ability of resiliency are amazing things that should be valued and trained. However, there comes a point where our physical and mental capacity will fail us. But it’s in those moments that the Bible flips our western cultural value and understanding of strength upside down.
In 2 Corinthians 12:10 Paul says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” And in 2 Corinthians 11:30, he says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
That’s not normal. We don’t brag about the moments where we are weak. We don’t show off the areas where we need to grow or where qw come up short. Why in the world would Paul take this posture, and why should we, especially when the reigning advice today is, “Fake it till you make it”? Because he wants to show off God and what God is capable of doing. In these same passages, he shares about times he should have been captured for the illegal work he was doing of sharing the message of Jesus, yet God saved him. He tells of shipwrecks that almost killed him, yet God saved him. Story after story where yet, God saved him.
When I decided to move home, the criticisms of “not being tough enough,” of “not being able to handle it,” of “needing to be stronger,” were on full blast in my head. But I was at the end of myself. My physical strength and my mental resilience were failing me.
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
When I moved home, God began doing a healing work not just in my body, but in my heart and family as well. He began changing previously destructive beliefs that I held, because I was removed from certain life environments.
There were desires in my heart that I had prayed over for years that God began to bring to fruition. Because I was closer to my family, relationships I had craved began happening, healing conversations were able to be had, and forgiveness found.
Physically, I began healing at a faster rate because I had the love and support that I needed around me. I no longer had to do everything on my own.
The most personally transformative work God has done in my life has happened in the last two years, when I’ve been my weakest. Through weakness, I have found a deeper strength, and it’s not my own. It’s a strength that’s only possible because I’ve been learning how to actively surrender my own agenda.
It’s really easy to get frustrated at God during these seasons. We have these ideas of what it means to be a tough and strong person. We want life to look a certain way or things to happen at a certain rate. Our comfort, and desires demand these things, but God might have something else in mind.
True strength looks like surrendering it all to him. True strength means accepting his plans and trusting his way of living. True strength means staying the course when it doesn’t make sense. True strength means glorifying and praising him when it’s the last thing you want to do.
The world will tell you that’s crazy, because it goes against everything that “makes sense.” According to them, you’re supposed to “Chart your own course,” “be your own guide.” I can tell you from personal experience that this only leads to destructive places.
This season I’m in right now isn’t perfect, but I’m the most content and the happiest I’ve every been. I’m the calmest and most at peace that I’ve ever been. I laugh more freely, and have less cares than I ever have. Doing it God’s way really is better.
This month, we’ll have the opportunity to learn about men and women in the Bible who exhibited true strength. If you haven’t had an opportunity to sign up to get the FAITH Workout of the Day every morning, you gotta go here and do it. The encouragement and inspiration found in the lives of these men and women will introduce you to that deeper, true strength. It will help you see the areas in your own life where you need to surrender and grow in that true strength.
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:
- What was the workout like for you? Did God reveal anything to you while you did it?
- Was there anything new that stuck out to you today during the message?
- Is there an area of your life you need to surrender, that you need to accept God’s strength to press in to?
- What ways were you challenged by today’s message?