Let's All Be Encouragers


At some point in our lives, everyone needs a little encouragement.  

I am not a morning person ... at all.  My daughter, Fallon, jumps out of bed three days a week and is ready to get her day started at the gym before I even hit the “snooze” button.  I crawl out of bed at 6 a.m. (we are supposed to be there by 6:15 a.m.), throw on some clothes (I usually wear the same clothes to the gym all week; yes, I know, gross! but it makes it so much easier than having to decide what clothes to put on when my eyes are barely even open), brush my teeth, grab my Gatorade G2, and head out the door.  It’s not so much the gym that I dread: it’s getting out of bed.  Mornings are not made for me.  That is all there is to it.  

Fallon and I started this early morning gym routine several months ago.  She knew it was going to be hard to get me motivated as I had not stepped foot in the gym for about two years, but I promised her I would go with her. My plan was to do cardio on the bike or treadmill while she weight trains.  

The first month, I did pretty good, then I had an incident that happened at the gym that truly made me want to run for the door.  Two ladies (and I am really working on being an encourager by politely calling them ladies) came up behind me while I was getting a drink of water.  They were discussing how they once were overweight and are now in great shape.  One of them said, “I used to be out of shape like that.”  I am assuming they didn’t realize that the gym is surrounded by mirrors because as she said the word “that,” I saw her finger pointing at me.  After hearing those words, I had two choices: I could easily decide that the gym wasn’t for me, or I could let it add fuel to my fire to keep at it.  Being the stubborn girl that I am, I chose the latter.  

Pondering on that girl’s words later that day, I began to think how the gym should be a place of encouragement, not fat-shaming.  I thought of two places where people go to try to make a lifestyle change and where encouragement should be a given: the gym and church.  I began to try to compare the two, and I came up with this comparison: fat-shaming an overweight person who goes to the gym is like sin-shaming a lost person who goes to church.  It should never be done.  Period.  

I am starting with myself.  My goal this year is to work really hard to be more of an encourager to others.  I mean, gosh, today’s times are hard enough without us belittling each other.  Right?  And there’s one more lesson I learned through this experience: I will always wear ear buds during my entire hour at the gym ... especially at the water cooler.