Check Your Ego At the Door

Humility has never been my strong suit.  By all appearances I seem to be put together and confident.  I’m really not.  Oftentimes my appearance of confidence is just overcompensation for my own fear and insecurities.  I have so many that I’m barely aware of them most of the time.  I’ve overcompensated for so many years that is just “what I do.”  Slowly, God has been working with me on this stuff.  Because He loves me and there is simply a better way to live than giving off appearances and hiding insecurities.

I really like lifting weights.  Partly because of what I previously stated, partly because of what I do for a living (oftentimes I deal with violent patients who require hands on restraints) partly because I like to exercise, and partly because it is a coping skill and I feel close to God when the Spirit within me sets a new PR (personal record).  However, about three weeks ago I had to deal with new insecurity.

I’m not as young as I used to be.  Nevertheless, about three months ago I set a goal of benching 305 pounds.  I accomplished this goal for the fist time in my life but it wreaked havoc on my left rotator cuff in my shoulder.  When discussing this with a friend, he told me that my form may be off (flaring my elbow to much to recruit the shoulder muscle) or that I was just using too much weight.  “Couldn’t be either one of those because then I would have to change something.  I would neither be able to repeat nor improve upon this PR.”  I said back to him.  To which he replied, “Your going to hurt yourself.  Check your ego at the door of the weight room, drop the weight and work on your form.”  He told me.  “Sh_____!”  I knew he was right and I knew that God was telling me this through him.  So that’s what I did.  I also remember telling my wife that I would change my workout routine once I hit this PR as she is not a fan of large bulky muscle.  She married the right guy.  So, checking my ego, I dropped thirty pounds of my one rep max and began doing a 5-3-1 workout that a friend had given me based on Jim Wendler’s boring but big program.  And, I feel great.  My shoulder isn’t keeping up all night, I’m not eating Ibuprofen everyday and, believe it or not, by adding reps to this workout I’m actually in better shape.  Yes previously, I could waddle over to the bench and press 300 one time, but after that, I was done and running for medicine cabinet to take the maximum amount of NSAIDS to kill the pain.  This is not healthy but man, did it ever fuel my ego.  I’m beginning to realize that my ego may lead me to do some things that are destructive but really make me feel good about myself.  This is my deception.  Hurting yourself to fuel your ego is not wisdom, it the final result of fear and insecurity having its impact in my life.  I’m grateful to God for my friend and for His patience and Love for me.