The Gist of It All
On the off chance that you don’t want to read this entire post (although I hope you do) my premise is that your chances of not only being fulfilled emotionally but also financially successful are dramatically greater if you connect your purpose to your vocation. That’s a lot easier if you actually know your purpose for being here. I’m not being metaphysical. I’m being very pragmatic. Countless studies have shown that human beings are more productive when we understand why we’re doing a task. We’d rather work hard for eight hours at something meaningful than five minutes at something pointless. The Apostle Paul understood his purpose which is why he could write, “I do not box as one beating the air, or as a runner who runs aimlessly. Instead I discipline my body and bring it under strict control so after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” Corinthians 9:26-27. Okay? Let’s get to it!
Purpose, Passion and Pinatas
I want to host a party. In fact, I wrote this while listening to the Drifters’ “Come On Over To My Place” so you’ll understand it better if you Google it and let it play while you read my ramblings. Anyway, I don’t want some boring work party where people can’t wait to get out of there. Not a kid’s birthday party either although a piñata is always a great idea. No, I think God has called me to create a large, boisterous festival where high level athletes mingle with busy parents on an Iron Journey towards their perfect physique. Then what if we invited the people who do yoga in their living rooms and maybe the runners who take to the trails and roads before the rooster crows to be alone with their heartbeat and the breath of the world? The garagewodwarriors committed to CrossFit but unwilling to drive across town to the box; the Olympic lifters who can’t find a local club to train with. Oh! Don’t forget the African bodybuilders who train outdoors on home-made equipment and the Pole Athletes who do acroyoga in their spare bedroom. Can’t leave them out! Hmm. Starting to sound like quite a party. What would it look like?
You’d walk in and you see a yogi bend himself into an unlikely shape to show a muscular powerlifter how that flexibility would shorten her range of motion when bench pressing and get her closer to a national record. In another corner, a strongman competitor and a gymnast are discussing the value of core strength to lifting heavy weight and holding the correct position in a handstand. You might catch a snippet of a heated debate between a bodybuilder, Olympic weightlifter and wrestler over whether fasted cardio is the best way to drop water weight quickly and safely. The party is heating up. The music is always everyone’s favorite tune; the camaraderie intensifies as people continue to move from conversation to conversation. They all train at home but at heart these introverts long to be in the company of others who will finally get them, to connect in a safe place where the bouncer denies entry to the scornful, the mockers and the petty. – Look in the corner! – The powerlifter from before is reminding that yogi to brace his core as he squats down into Garland Pose while a kettlebell instructor remarks on how Cossack squats might help the yogi improve his ability to transition from Garland into Lizard and then Pigeon pose. Their debate over, the bodybuilder is explaining to the weightlifter how he considers developing his body to be an act of worship and praise to the Father who created it. The weightlifter agrees; he feels a similar worshipfulness as he lifts weights up towards heaven, a runner reminds them that the great Christian missionary Eric Liddell who won Olympic gold before going to China on mission said, “God made me fast. When I run, I feel His pleasure”.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, the host calls for everyone’s attention. Someone, a mother of four in her forties, is attempting her first unassisted chin up. The crowd quiets except for scattered shouts of encouragement. The mother takes hold of the bar with first one hand then the other, she inhales once shakily, nervous at being in the spotlight. Then she remembers that she’s among friends, and her chin lifts confidently. She squeezes the bar tightly, so tightly the blood leaves them and white spots appear in her finger nails. Her shoulder blades knot and her feet begin to leave the earth. Slowly, so slowly the crowd forgets to breathe, she rises with only the slightest pause just above the halfway point until her chin is level with the bar. Triumphant she drops down and the room erupts with cheers. The strongmen and powerlifters can’t contain themselves, they tend to be an excitable bunch any way and begin chanting her name. The weightlifters and gymnasts hurry over to congratulate her on the smoothness of her technique. And for a moment, that mother is a strength star. The party never ends, guests leave to go to work and simply return each day to see who’s there and celebrate each other’s milestones. What a party that would be.
Summing It Up
I was greatly affected by Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life when I was deployed to Iraq in 2004. In case you’re not familiar with the book, the basic points are:
- We were planned for God’s pleasure
- Our 1st purpose is to offer real worship.
- We were formed for God’s family
- Our 2nd purpose is to enjoy real fellowship.
- We were created to become like Christ,
- Our 3rd purpose is to learn real discipleship.
- We were shaped for serving God
- Our 4th purpose is to practice real ministry.
- We were made for a mission
- Our 5th purpose is to live out real evangelism.
People ask me all of the time why I founded Garage Gym Life. It is that party recreated online. Every time I repost someone’s accomplishment, I help these introverts from around the world enjoy real fellowship. Every time I struggle and reach out for advice or do the same for someone else, I experience real discipleship. With every repetition and every turn of phrase, I present my body a living sacrifice and so offer real worship. I believe that by encouraging others to keep chasing their dreams of fulfilling their bodies’ potential, I’m practicing real ministry and as for evangelism, I think I just did that with this post didn’t I? I’ve never been so fulfilled in my life as I am right now and I know that the best is yet to come.
Hey, come on over to my place. We’re having a party.
John Greaves III has been a wordsmith since boyhood and a student of strength since 1993. He worships God with both, from a garage in North Georgia. John has helped extraordinary people tell their stories since returning from a deployment to Falluja, Iraq. Visit his blog, garagegymlife.net, follow his Facebook page or connect with his online garage gym community @garage.gym.life on Instagram.