Well, I'll start by saying that competing in an NPC competition is by far one of the hardest things I have endured physically and mentally.
I've been an athlete my whole life, but nothing compares to what these people put themselves through.
If you're not familiar with the sport, it requires hours in the gym lifting heavy weights, and running sprints. That's the fun part (for me).
The not-so-fun-make-you-want-to-scream-and-throw-two-year-old-fits part is the diet.
When I started to see major results people would ask me what I ate. That's such a loaded, yet simple question. Well, I ate veggies, meat, egg whites, and rice. Oh and I drink 1.5 gallons of water every day. Simple. But I eat 6 times a day. Every three hours. And skipping meals or cheating is not an option. And no, I can't eat fruit. No, I can't just have one cookie. No, I can't loosen up a little. And yes, I have to go to the bathroom twice an hour.
Seriously, there were nights that sucked. Nights I wanted to eat. Nights I did eat (one major brownie and ice cream slip-up).
SO, I did my competition on September 6th. Placed 9th. Woo hoo! Felt pretty good that I did it.
These last two weeks, I've been in the gym regularly. But my diet....let's just say it's been a little relaxed.
Guess what? I no longer have a perfect six pack.
Guess what? I'm five pounds heavier and little fluffier than I was on September 6th.
Guess what? I'm the happiest I've been in weeks.
So, here's where the parallel comes in.
So many of us get into this pattern. We read our Bibles every day, we pray every day. We follow the prescribed "regimen" to be a good little Christian.
But the problem is sometimes, we do it because "we should" or "we have to" not because the Bible IS THE MOST LIFE GIVING LITERATURE IN THE WHOLE WORLD AND IT CAN BRING JOY AND SATISFACTION TO THE CRAPPIEST OF DAYS AND IT CONNECTS YOU WITH THE MOST POWERFUL DUDE IN THE UNIVERSE (JESUS)!
Maybe all the caps were not necessary. I think they were.
We are caught in the routine and our relationship with Jesus is not fulfilling sometimes.
When I was prepping for this competition, I was stuck in a routine. Everyday I ate the same food at the same time every day. I was going to the gym at the same time every week.
Who WANTS to do that? Who WANTS to eat the same food every day? Not me! I loved competing, but it's brutal people. I couldn't prep for a competition like that all the time. I don't care if it means sacrificing my six pack and a couple of pounds.
Guys, when we read and pray because it's part of the routine, it's no longer meaningful. It's no longer WORSHIP. It's just a routine. You're "eating" the same thing every day.
It's time to break out of that. I'm not telling you to stop reading and praying. But remember the PURPOSE--remember the real reason you're doing this. The purpose is to bring forth life and be spiritually "healthy", if you will.
That routine I was in, it got to the point--where it was no longer healthy--at least mentally. I needed some life in me. And I didn't have it! Once, I met my goal--it felt good to break free. (Thanks Berlin for keeping me going in those times I felt crazy)
So these past two weeks, I took a break. No guilt. Just a break. And I allowed myself the freedom to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Go out for dinner with my husband, have my boss take me out for lunch, and enjoy my best friend's bachelorette party.
You know what, I'll go back to making healthy choices next week. I'm not going to stress about what time I'm eating or whether or not my food has any sodium in it. But I'm going to make healthier choices because I feel good when I do, and because it brings me satisfaction and a good healthy lifestyle, and because that's the real PURPOSE.
God wants you to visit with him every day because he gives you life. It's not meant to be regimented, it's not meant to be "every three hours, say this prayer" or "do this and don't do that" type of deal. It's a constant relationship. It's not supposed to be tiring. It's supposed to be life-giving. Don't get caught in the routine. ENJOY your relationship with Jesus. Let him fill you up every day.