Flashback to #FalconsGauntlet Nov. 5, 2014…then my Deep Thoughts:
“FiA is all about being a part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s more than a workout. It’s a community that strengthens and encourages each other to be better than the person we were yesterday. Some of you might have been dragged here by a friend and were not so happy to get out of bed at 5am. Or you might have thought there was no way you would survive the workout. You did!
A big mantra in FiA is #BetterTogether, and that is what we did this morning. We made each other better by getting up and doing this together. I would never get up at 5am and do this on my own. Most of the mornings in the past five months I’ve gotten up because of the ladies in this circle. The workout is just the icing on the cake.
You have worked out and exercised your body before most of the city is even awake: be proud. You have been a part of something bigger than yourself: be proud. YOU made the person next to you better today: be proud. You are FiA: be proud.
Mark chapter 2 tells us about a time that Jesus was preaching in a house, and it was so crowded that people were standing outside the windows to listen. It tells us in verse 3: ‘Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. (4) Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it, and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. (5) When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Mark 2:3-5
It says when Jesus saw their faith, the faith of the FRIENDS, the man’s sins were forgiven. We are called to be those kind of friends to the people in our lives. We are called to put our faith in action not only in our own lives, but in those around us.”
FiAMidlands launched a new AO recently, and this was the devotion I used on the first day. If you would have told me five months ago that not only would I still be involved with FiA, but that I would be a part of launching an AO, I would l have laughed at you. I’m a runner, and most of the time a lone runner. I tried group workouts and gym memberships after having my babies and fell off many steps in step aerobics classes, bumped into complete strangers in cardio classes and you don’t even want to know about the kick boxing classes! Running was me and the road: it was safe, and soon it became my happy place to get away, gather my thoughts and relax. Over the years I became a long distance runner, and enjoyed participating in local races and completed six half marathons. This year I decided to tackle a full marathon. I thought all I needed to do was run more miles, but I kept hearing “cross train, cross train, cross train.” Ugh! I don’t like cross training, and have no idea where to start or what to do. Then FiA came to town.
My husband is involved in F3 and even though these are not my deep thoughts on F3, it is all related. I have seen over the past year how it has changed him. He has always been a great man and my favorite person on the planet, so it hasn’t been that kind of change. It’s a “happy I’ve found my outlet” and “happy I found a place to belong” kind of change. He is a priest, and we have moved a lot in our 17 years of marriage. Our lives are always 100% committed to whatever church we have been at, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But there is a deep need, for both us, for fellowship that is peer to peer and away from the “you’re my priest” or “you’re my priest’s wife” — and it’s not always been easy to find. F3 provided that for him, and the difference has been huge. So when FiA came to town and a friend told me about it, I thought I would give it a try.
I showed up to my first workout with garden gloves, a beach towel and the baggage of past workout failures. I could only do about 3 push ups, and whenever the next exercise was named I had no clue what it was or how to do it. But in true FiA form, the Q (shout out to Spirit Fingers) explained everything, gave modifications and was positive and energetic. She was obviously someone who was in shape but not a professional, and she happened to be leading the workout that morning for the first time. I was so impressed by her and loved the idea that, in this group, anyone who wanted to lead could lead. I also can’t explain the feeling of meeting complete strangers that were happy to see me, encouraging and didn’t care that I could only do 3 push ups. Why did I never feel this all those times I went to the gym? What was different? I believe it’s in the core values that FiA embodies: We are a community of women whose mission is to make each other stronger in all areas of our lives. We were all there to get better together, no matter our skill level, no matter our history, and with that common goal comes bonding. The next morning I ached ALL over, and the idea that I was in good shape because I’d run six half marathons went out the door!
Since that infamous Saturday morning in the heat of July, I have missed very few workouts; brought along neighbors, book club friends, church friends, school friends and coworkers; started a run group; helped launch a new AO; and last month, I completed my first Marathon. I also turned 40 and, thanks to FiA, I’m in the best shape of my life. With all of those “accomplishments” behind me, the new friends and community that I’ve made at FiA are the most important. Every workout I attend, the age ranges from 23-53 and I LOVE that! We laugh, work hard, share life stories and cheer each other on: age doesn’t matter. This morning at #coffeeteria we all shared our “first car accident stories”…except for Chaps, our New Yorker/British friend who has been thrust into our Southern world and doesn’t drive. I think we sealed her commitment to riding her bike with our stories. And come to find out, Capital Bride and I have had the exact same accident…didn’t matter that mine was 25 years ago BEFORE she was even born! (Ouch…that didn’t hurt to type at all.)
Now I feel like I go through my day, thanks to Twitter, with my very own cheerleaders — and it’s great to have cheerleaders! It makes the day easier and more enjoyable. It’s also a great feeling to be someone else’s cheerleader. Those friends in Mark Chapter 2 knew that too. That’s why they went through the effort to lower their friend to see and hear Jesus. They knew what it was like to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In my opinion, they were the definition of #BetterTogether.
FiA came to town, and I haven’t been the same since.