Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wrapping up a year of hard work
10:47 p.m. Today's project was to attend our son Steven's final bodybuilding competition for the year, in Culver City's Veterans' Memorial Auditorium. This was a statewide competition, one Steven has been first bulking up and then slimming down for all year. He competed in the Men's Heavyweight and Novice Heavyweight divisions. Last month in Anaheim, Steven placed 2nd in Men's Heavyweight, very respectable considering his competition was older, more seasoned veterans.
There was a lot on our family's "plate" this week, helping and supporting his very lean diet--chicken breast, tilapia, broccoli, asparagus, egg white omelettes, oatmeal and coffee with Splenda. For the last four days, even the oatmeal was eliminated, but an occasional cheeseburger was allowed, go figure! It is the typical, edgy last week of prep, including driving to Hemet daily to consult with his coach Brad Maxwell, a Christian nutritionist and veteran bodybuilding judge. Steven says that the two of them pray and share scripture together, and he looks to Brad as a great mentor, exemplifying I Timothy 5:1 to "treat an older man as a father." Steven was driving down here from Fresno every other weekend to meet with his coach--no let-up in work, obedience to instructions, determination to win.
We had a couple of monkeywrenches thrown into the works this time, though. Steven had had a very bad cold, probably a sinus infection, that had caused him to retain water, and I had been praying for him most of this month. He was still retaining water this week, so that required him to soak in Epsom salt baths late at night--in our bathtub! At least he was quiet. On Wednesday, Steven had a truly relaxing day at the beach, just what the coach ordered.
Thursday, Steven blessed his older teacher sister Heidi, by speaking at 2 assemblies for the 4-6th grades on nutrition and fitness at Granite Hill School. Not exactly relaxing, but he inspired the kids to eat better, much as he does with the mentally retarded adults he runs a fitness program for at his gym in Fresno.
Another challenge came in the form of exciting news: Muscletech, Steven's sponsor, asked him to fly to Toronto, Canada, at their expense, for a photo shoot to advertise their product! (They send him thousands of dollars worth of product). We found out just before he arrived...
I have now experienced the major stress involved in getting an emergency passport! First to the county clerk to verify documents and the need to fly within 5 days. Then, because the 7 a.m. appointment was scheduled for the day before Steven's competition, he couldn't go get the passport himself. He had to stay home, and stay calm. So his dad and I spent the day Friday, from 4:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the road to, and in, the Federal building in Westwood, Los Angeles, not leaving until we had the passport in hand! Another 3 1/2 hours on the road on the way home, and we had completed the task!
Today, his coach and a friend picked Steven up by 6 and drove him to Culver City to prepare for his pre-judging in the morning, get the last coat of Pro-tan applied, along with Mary Kay Bronze 607 foundation, and he was ready to go. When we arrived for the 6:30 evening show, Steve and I only knew that Steven had qualified top 5 in his category. Steven ended up taking number 5, but he is pretty sanguine about it, showing a new-found maturity. Last time, he was offended to get a 2nd place! He'll once again earn 1st place rankings, all in the Lord's timing. There's just a different lesson to learn this time.
Jesus had good counsel for those of us who always expect to earn the highest, first place in our endeavors, whether because of incessant hard work, gifting, or training. We need to take a more humble position, or a series of humble positions as we go through life, and learn to be grateful for those! If we are called by God to excel in our work and be recognized for it, so be it. That day will come. Or, an entirely different path will open up for us. Hear Luke 14:10-11:
When you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes, he may say to you, "Friend, go up higher." Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Are Christians called to be exemplary? Absolutely, doing all things "heartily, as to the Lord." (Colossians 3:23) Teaching and learning? Bodybuilding? "Whatever you do, do it heartily!"
I worked very hard as a teacher and administrator, and went on many principal interviews. But I never was promoted to that position. Why? God had a whole different life planned for me, doing what I truly love, caring for my husband, creating a new ministry, and writing about the Christian life. God gets no argument from me!!!
Steven didn't win tonight. It was certainly not for lack of potential or hard work! He will either work his way up to national rankings as is his goal, or God will do something entirely different with his life. Either way, he'll serve the Lord.
Leaving our outcomes to Him is what makes life in Christ so exciting. He always does what is best for us--and exactly what we wanted all along, but never envisioned!!
What a loving God we serve!!