I Couldn’t Bench the Bar in Eighth Grade…
When I first started working out, I was a twig. My squat max was around 80 pounds. That’s the bar and some change on each side. I couldn’t even bench the bar by itself. I had to use a curling bar.
I would look around me, and people were doing much more weight than I was. One day I had had enough. Everyone around me was benching 135 (the bar with a 45), and I was benching 30 (a curling bar with a 2.5). This was the day I would bench 135!
I loaded the bar up and told my friend to spot me. My friend unracked the bar. I barely had the strength to keep my arms locked out!
He asked, “are you sure you got this?”
I, of course, wanting to be like everyone else, said, “yea bro, easy money.” (That, unfortunately, use to be cool to say.)
In my mind, this was the part that I grew superhero strength and blew 135 off my chest, and everyone would induct me into the men’s club. We would high five each other, and I would make fun of all the toothpicks that couldn’t even bench the bar.
However, there was an entirely different reality that played out. What happened you ask? Well, as soon as I unlocked my arms to lower the weight to my chest, my arms gave out, and the bar slammed into my sternum.
My breath got knocked out of me. My feet left the ground and flew in the air. And, the worst part was that, instead of anyone helping, everyone was laughing hysterically as I was suffocating to death.
I could go on all day about how weak I was, but I would rather talk about how strong I have become.
“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step”
I would one day go on to bench 135. But, it didn’t happen overnight. I would go on to be part of a powerlifting team that won a national championship. But, once again, it didn’t happen overnight.
It took a lot of day-to-day workout sessions and discipline to grow into the lifter that I eventually became.
In the same way, we must discipline ourselves and grow day-to-day to become the person that God wants us to be.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
I think this is a beautiful depiction of Christianity. We often find ourselves comparing ourselves to others. We want to read the bible every night like you hear others doing. You want to pray as much as others do. You want to have the faith that you have seen others demonstrate.
But, 2nd Corinthians makes it clear. We become more like God one degree at a time.
God doesn’t ask you to be perfect in a night. God doesn’t ask you to become saved and have a prayer life of a prayer warrior. He doesn’t expect you to be as patient, or as merciful, or as gracious, or as disciplined. But, he does expect you to try.
Becoming Bonsai Minded
So what does this mean for you? And, what on Earth does Bonsai Minded mean?
I was on the phone with my great friend, Austin, the other day and we were talking about this very subject. He made a great connection between 2 Corinthians 3:18, Manna, and the Lords prayer.
In Exodus 16 the Lord tells the Israelites that they are to gather enough Manna for the day. Any more will spoil and less they would starve. The Lord’s prayer asks God to give us today our daily bread. No more, no less.
Did you know it usually takes a minimum of three years for a Bonsai tree to grow enough for you even to start working on it?
This is our duty and this is our task: Learn, Grow, and Pray enough for you every day. And, this is what it means to become Bonsai Minded
Don’t get caught up in the end result. If I got caught up thinking about how I couldn’t lift as much as those around me, then I would have quit a long time ago.
Slowly but steadily I continued and found myself surpassing my original goal.
This is my challenge for you: start.
Do you want to read through the Bible in a year? – Start with a chapter a day.
Do you want to pray to God for an hour a day? – Start with five minutes a day.
Whatever your goal is, just start. You don’t have to get there today or even tomorrow, but one degree at a time.