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Searching for scary.

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One of the ways I know Crossfit at Guerrilla Fitness is the right workout for me is the absolute terror I feel before I go.  I go two days a week (usually Tuesdays and Saturdays) and when, upon awaking, I realize it’s a Crossfit day, my stomach does a little lurch and for a moment, I want to hide under the covers until I can think of an excuse not to go.

But I go anyway.

The whole drive there I consider turning around.  I walk in and immediately go to the bathroom to try to steel my nerves.  Sometimes, like this morning, I get there with just a minute to spare so I will be forced to jump into the workout without the chance to think about it.

During the warmups, I often wonder why the heck I’m doing this.  Am I insane?  Who pays to go through this torture?  And this is just the warmup.  I’m just getting ready for the hard part.  Why in the world would I continue with this horrific warmup if the hard part hasn’t even started yet?

Then the real workout begins.  It’s usually short (usually) — about 15 minutes.  By minute 5 I am usually looking for the garbage can in case the warnings of imminent vomiting my body is sending me pan out to be true.  This is usually when, inexplicably, I’ll start thinking about the last meal I had and must force my brain to refocus on something — anything — to keep from hurling.

At this point, I am still scared.

Then there always comes a shift in the brain when the body has begun its failure.  It’s at this shift that I begin to talk to myself.  I tell myself I am an elite athlete.  I tell myself I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I might curse.  But then I start talking to myself some more.  And I really do call on the name of Jesus, and I’m not doing it in vain.  Because at that point in time, it’s going to be Him who gets me through it.  It’s gonna take a miracle.

Soon, I find myself on the last round.  There is still fear.  But the blood is pumping and the end is in sight.  From somewhere comes a deep, abiding strength and stamina I didn’t know I had.  And all of a sudden, it’s over.  I collapse on the floor in a sweaty, mushy mess.  I look around.

There are others with me.

So why do I search for this kind of scary?  I realized its because this kind of scary is how I make the changes I want to make.  I see so many people languish in areas of their lives in which they long for something different.  It might be a job, it might be a relationship.  It could be their weight or their finances.  It doesn’t really matter.  The truth is that familiar is comfortable and different is scary.  But living in that fright-fest is the best way to make progress toward your goals.

The truth of the matter is that I have had measurable success with Crossfit that I haven’t had in any boring treadmill run or Zumba class — no offense at all to all the Zumba folks out there.  The truth is that in 3 short months of consistent, fear-inducing workouts, I’ve gained weight but lost a size.  A few weeks ago, I did 96 pull ups and could barely do 3 when I started.  And I’ve taken almost 4 minutes off my mile.

So what’s the point?  The point is that this side of scary is where the sweet spot is.  It might not seem all that fun constantly be dancing along the edge of a death-defying chasm, but if you’re not at least visiting that ledge once in a while, you’re not going to be getting any closer to your success.  Success is in the chasm.  Success is in the fear.  That pit in your stomach tells you you’re on the right track.  And that feeling of “What the heck was I thinking?  I have no idea what I’m doing!” — sometimes THAT is exactly where you need to be.  Because it’s that scary that’s going to force you to use all the resources God gave you that you’ve been happily ignoring.

Yep, that’s what I said.  There’s something God gave you and you’ve chosen not to use it.  Because when you use it, the big-ness of what will happen scares you to death.  You don’t want to be responsible for all those changed lives.  You don’t want to hold the future in your hands.  You don’t want to fail, so you choose to be less-than.  What’s worse, you claim to be perfectly happy about it.

I call bull.

In a workout, the only way to know you’ve given it your all is to fail.  When you push your muscles to the point of exhaustion, and then do one more — THAT’S when a change occurs.  Otherwise you’re just towing the line, doing what you’ve always done.  Change requires discomfort.  Unless you’ve already reached your fullest potential and are living the life of your dreams, you probably need change.  You probably need some good, honest failure the way you need to breathe.  Failure is progress.  It’s growth.  It’s a given on the path to success.  It’s part of the process.  Shut up about it and get it over with.

Go look in the mirror.  Look deep into your own eyes and see if you can find that hidden resource inside yourself — the one God created just for you and placed, lovingly, within you.

Then put on your sneakers (or your workboots or your take-me-seriously 2-inch leather pumps) and go find yourself some scary.


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Sold out Jesus-freak, mom of 2, wife, Christian Life Coach and speaker, friend-in-need-of-grace, writer of stuff.

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