There is a normal process of events and attitudes people experience when they start living right and making positive changes. And it can get worse and worse the longer you do it if you aren’t careful.
What do I mean? Well, in both cases, your attitude can draw people in (to what you are doing), or push people away. Basically, you are a witness. You may be a good witness or a bad witness.
Proud vs Pride
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 29:23
The first thing that happens when you start a new workout is that you gain a natural sense of pride. You are proud of yourself – and you should be! However, being proud of yourself can quickly turn into pride, and pride can destroy you and everyone around you.
I am the first to admit I am a lot quicker to do a Facebook post about something I’m doing right, than something I am doing wrong. Every once and a while, I’ll “check in” Calvary Chapel Vero Beach on Facebook and my flesh will rise up with pride as if I’m saying “look at me. I’m a good girl. See me spending time at church?”
Although the reason I post those things is not to show off how great I am, but how great God is, because I want others to see what He’s doing in our life, I still have to check myself. And, we need to check ourself in the same way with how we act along our fitness journey. Are we simply proud of ourself and trying to encourage others that “if we can do it, you can too”? Or, are we allowing a more unhealthy, ugly pride to grow within us?
Right vs Self-Righteous
If you allow your pride to get out of control, you can easily become very self-righteous – and that, my friend, is a very dangerous place to be.
DEFINITION: Self-Righteous – Having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior.
I think everyone knows exercise is beneficial. It’s the “right” thing to do, but doing right and being self-righteous are two different things.
When a person starts working out, they begin to learn a lot. The more things they learn that are right and good, the more they realize what is wrong and unhealthy. Sadly, many people will begin to look down on anyone around them who is not doing what they are doing – when, ironically, it probably wasn’t too long ago they were doing the same thing.
If I were to be completely honest, it’s difficult not to judge an obese person eating a 4 scoop banana split loaded with chocolate syrup and not think “what are you doing?!” We want everyone to discover what we’ve discovered. We want them to feel good as we feel. We want them to experience weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, but we are never going to affect people positively with negative actions and reactions.
Most of us, at some point in our life, were just as blind to healthy living as they were. We may not have gained 100lbs but we have all abused our body before to some degree. We must always extend grace. We can’t compare ourselves to others and continue to lift ourself up above others because we think our “sin” is not as bad as another person’s “sin”. We can’t judge them and look down on them for not knowing what you now know.
As you continue to learn how to eat and workout, I warn you to guard yourself against becoming judgmental to others who haven’t jumped on the fitness train yet. You can’t beat everyone over the head with a dumbbell and food scale every day and expect them to respond positively. You have to quietly lead by example and be patient, waiting for others to be ready for change.
“People will be ready for change when the consequences outlast the pleasure.”
Good Example vs Bad Example
As you continue on your quest for a healthy fit life, you must realize you are a fitness witness whether you like it or not. The same way my life is an example of what a Christian looks like (whether I like it or not, and whether it’s a good one or not), you too are faced with the same fate. You are an example. Are you a turn ON or turn OFF?
Are your social media posts inspiring or annoying? Are you sharing your fitness journey or bragging about it? Are you making a positive impact or a negative one? I think the best way to make sure you are on the right path is to look at your “recruits”.
How many people have you “converted”? How many people were once unbelievers and now a huge believer in fitness? The best way to see if you are doing the right thing is to look for, what a Christian calls, fruit. An apple tree is of no real value unless it grows apples. A fitness witness is of little value unless it grows more fitness.
Who have you helped today? Or are you just helping yourself?
Are you so focused on your own workout you aren’t willing to help someone else?
Are you willing to completely skip your workout altogether to help a total stranger in the gym?
Are you willing to make a healthy meal and share a recipe with a coworker who needs guidance?
Just how much are you willing to sacrifice to help others?
Never forget why you started, and that you too were once as lost as they are. Extend grace, love and support. Decide today to be a good example and not get the big fit head. 🙂