Friday, July 29, 2011

The New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:17  So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

I must admit this whole blogging thing has me a bit torn.  Does anyone really want to hear what i have to say about...anything?  Hard to say.  Maybe only my friends and family.  Maybe not even them since I talk so much about Crossfit already that I get the impression they may be looking forward to my moving to New York.

That being said, this last year has been one of pretty incredible change in my life.  Personally and professionally I have been pushed into some tough changes and more are coming.  In the midst of all this insanity entered a friend who invited me to try Crossfit for the first time.  Ben and I had done Monkey Bar Gym together for about a year but Ben had moved on because of a frequently repeating training schedule and instability of the leadership of our Noon class. 

And so I decided to join him on September 9 of 2010.  You may wonder why in the world I would remember such a date.   While many would find it endearing and inspiring that I remember July, 17 of 1993, the day I decided to become a Christian by my own choice, the thought of remembering when your first Crossfit class seems terribly trivial, if not completely misguided. 

The reason I remember the day I became a Christian is because it signaled a serious departure from life as I knew it and seriously impacted the rest of my life.  It was one of the most important days of my life because it was the day I realized the truth of what Christ had done, was doing and would do in my life.  It was a game changer. 

Some may brand me any number of wonderful awful names for what I am about to say, but the day I tried Crossfit for the first time was similarly life altering.  Is it as important eternally?  Certainly not.  But I am convinced that it was in fact a gift from God in my life.  It has also proven an effective tool of discipleship for me.  I will expand more on that in a later blog...assuming I remember to. 

The Scripture I listed talks about how we are new creations when we finally relent and give Christ control of our lives.  This is what happened on the day at Summer Games camp 18 years ago.  From that point forward, no matter where I went, what I did or did not do and no matter how pleasing or displeasing it was to God, family and friends, Christ had a hold on my life.  I thank God for this fact as often as I can, and not as often as I ought.  I am not the person I was going to be before that day.  I was made new and ushered into a life that, though not without serious hardship, is better than the one I was crafting for myself. 

Prior to Sept 9 of last year, I was building for myself an empire of thinking I knew what I was doing.  I was the Captain of my Fitness and the master of my health.  I was the Titanic steaming toward an iceberg convinced of my invincibility and assured in my course.  I ate what I wanted when I wanted and thought nothing of it.  Monkey Bar Gym had done amazing things for me.  I had lost nearly 50 pounds on this quality training program.  I was satisfied with "good enough" and convinced myself I was where I wanted to be. 

Enter crazy Iron Gutz Ruyle and his invite to Crossfit. 

My first workout was brutal.  Team WOD.  After an 800m run rotate through 5 stations for 20 minutes or a certain number of rounds.  I can't remember which.  First station was Sumo Deadlift HIgh Pulls with a 45 pound bar.  Second station was 24" box jumps, thrid station was dumbbell burpees, chest to deck.  Fourth Station was tire flip jump throughs x 15.  Fifth station was glorious rest.  You would remain at each station, save the tire flips, until the team member doing the tire flips completed his or her reps.  I thought to myself, how bad could this really be?  I was beyond proficient at MBG so this should be okay. 

Then the 800m run happened.  Talk about dragging.  But I hated and sucked at running so the rest would certainly be better.  It wasn't.  Within a few stations I quickly became aware of who I was.  A specialized quasi athlete that was ill prepared for what was about to come.  An athlete that avoided his weaknesses and refused to embrace challenges and pain because doing what I liked was better.  Say hello to the old.   After one round through the stations, the trainers had scaled me back to PVC SDHP, sprawl burpees, and jumping on the steps at Kyle's place.  I also only had to do 9 Tire Flips.  It was all I could do to finish.  But finish I did.

As if a light switch had been flipped, the old was gone and the new had come.  It was horrible from beginning to end but I loved every minute.  Especially the first one after the workout ended as I laid heaving for air on the grass marveling at the sheer amount of work I had just done.  It was all over.  I would never be the same again.  Though I had no idea just how arduous a journey it would be, I didn't care.  I knew that what laid at the end of the journey, and honestly the joys along the way, were better than what I was currently doing. 

My switch to Crossfit was a recognition that I really had no idea what was good for me and I needed my trainers to tell me.  And even more importantly, I had to trust them and actually obey them to get what I was hoping for out of the program.  Does this sound anything like what God asks of those who follow Christ?  I sure hope you see that it does. 

My first love is Christ.   Make no mistake.  And I thank Him daily for what he has done, is doing and will do in my life.  I thank Him for Crossfit, because it has not only brought me closer to the level of fitness I desire but it has brought me closer to my Lord and my God.   The old has gone, the new has come. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 

Thanks for reading. 


  1. This year in ball for LWEFC, Blake, I've had several people say "That's Blake?! He's much thinner!" So people are noticing the change, and knowing you are going to CrossFit Farmland, it's wonderful to be telling them, and yes, this is where he goes! You are a good testament in many areas...the fitness life and faith in Jesus.

  2. Can't wait to follow this, and you, as you move to NY and continue kicking booty in God's name. For real. I think your metaphor is apt, and it is happening to me too. Surrendering to a plan you don't understand is really hard. It means leaving the comfort and security of what you know, being prepared for the doubts, the stumbles, and the getting back up. And the getting back up is always God's favorite. Thanks for your testimony and for being the very first person to say hi and welcome me when I walked in on June 6 :)