Monday, April 12, 2010

How much is too much?

Recently, I've been having people come up to me and ask "How much do you bench?" I then usually rattle off a number based upon what I've been doing lately in reps and sets. They then (without fail) respond: "No, what's your max?" And to tell the truth, I don't know. Many people want to know what you max out on. Honestly, I don't max out. I don't want to max out. What gets me is how much people want to max out. I watch people at the gym put a huge amount of weight on the bar and become gathered with two or three people around the bench. They are helped picking up the bar, and then attempt with all their might to push the bar filled with a ginormous amount of weight up into the air above their head. The whole time, the two or three gathered around the bench are yelling out "you can do!" "Push it hard!" And when the person is done maxing out, I look and their face is drained and you can tell they are tired.

Now, don't get me wrong, I push hard when I work out. I want to do my best. But I won't max out. Instead, I push hard and then I rest. I also don't do a large number of exercises. I'd rather push hard on a few and rest and in a few weeks switch things up a bit than max out hard and then be tired or worse yet, hurt myself badly.

There are a lot of places in life where we max out. At work, in our social settings, at church. We want to do as much as possible and as hard as possible. The problem is, is that there is no rest. We max out on time--shuttling from one sports program to another or from one lesson to another, from one job to another, from one event to another, fitting in work, fitting in (fill in the blank). We max out on spending--we want so much and we have so little, we have to have what everyone else is having and have it better and greater. We max out spiritually as well. We push hard to serve at church, we push hard to be good spiritually, we push hard to be that perfect person that is loved by all and hopefully God.

But maxing out leads to burning out. We are a people who were created for rest. We were made to be able to work hard but we are also made to rest. When God finished creating the heavens and the earth, he took a day of rest. He was there, he was alive, he was active, but he rested. He instituted what is called the sabbath--a day of rest (literally means "seven" in Hebrew). On that day no one was to do work. And on that day, you took time to thank God for what He has given you and for what He has done in your life.

When we push hard and don't rest, we burn out. Maxing out leads to burning out. Where in your life are you maxing out? Where in your life are you pushing things to the limit. What do you need to do to rest, regroup, recharge? Jesus said, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened, for my yoke is easy and my burden light and I will give you rest." Are you maxing out? Come to Jesus, come for rest. Make Him the priority and all things will look different along the way. Yes, you can push hard, but come to His rest for He is here for you.

Food, Fitness, Faith--don't max out

Food--Don't max out in dieting. A lot of times we go overboard and cut so much out of our diet that we burn out. And then we taste that one Snickers bar and we over indulge. It is okay to have a solid strong diet, but don't burn yourself out in dieting. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Fitness--Don't max out in exercising. Yes, it's good to see what your personal best is. Yes, it's good to push hard. But you can actually do more bad than good to your body, your muscles, when you max out. Push hard if you need to, but then rest, take time to step back and rest for a bit. Don't work out till you puke, it's not good, healthy or anything else for that matter.

Faith--Don't max out spiritually. Yes, this is possible. Don't over extend yourself. When we max out spiritually we feel it physically and emotionally too. Instead, focus. Add focus to what you are doing, whittle it down to just a few things, be focused in your prayer. You don't have to do everything. Come to God in prayer and ask for His rest, ask for Jesus to give you that rest. Ask for God to give you the focus you need in following Jesus and doing God's will and kingdomwork.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Today we continued working on the demolition/deconstruction on the house. I did realize I had made a slight mistake. I stated that they were going to completely destroy the house to rebuild it on the same spot. Yes and no. We have been gutting it so that the mold could be removed and the wood treated so that they they could rebuild the house on the inside so it would be a healthy home.

Each morning before we went off to the work sites, we would have our host, Mr. Ken, come and talk briefly with us. This morning, he talked about Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a few loves and fish. He talked about how Philip only saw the impossible. Jesus asked Philip where they should eat and Philip said, "we can't afford to feed them all." Andrew then suggested that they could maybe use a sack lunch of a few loaves of bread and some fish. Mr. Ken stated that a lot of times when God asks us to act, we either see the impossible and don't want to do it or we might think of the answer that God wants to hear from us but then not act. But then Mr. Ken stated that the boy gave his food away. He acted. And in him acting on faith, Jesus used his sack lunch to feed 5,000+.

Mr. Ken told us to go out and do the same. Give what we have, it may be small but it's all we have, and allow God to use it. He then ended with a simple prayer. "God, take my bread, take my fish, take my life, do with it as you wish."

In living my life for Christ, that is something I pray. It is something I hope you pray as well.

This has been an amazing trip and I wish I didn't have to leave early for other commitments. My prayers are with the rest of the team as they are heading back to the Chicago area tomorrow afternoon.