The end of the 2018 year was fast approaching when a friend contacted me and told me about this great new gym. She was excited to share this information knowing that I had just about given up on trying to find a place to exercise. I had previously shared my frustration with her about not being able to attain considerable gains at the various other locations where I had participated in physical therapy and exercise programs. This is not to say that I didn’t get any value from those programs because I did but at that point on my road to recovery I felt as if I needed something more. But more of what?
I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had in the past to receive physical therapy, no matter how hard I had to fight with my health insurance company in order to do so. Angry and exhausted from self advocating and constantly getting wrangled in the red tape that caused set backs to my progress, I decided that was not what I needed more of either.
I fell into the habit of carrying my bag of potato chips and bottle of Gatorade into the garage to exercise where I’d had parallel bars installed and had strategically set up my balance ball, bands and barbells in order to circuit train. It never failed, however, that after about ten minutes, it was either too hot, too cold or too something and I quit. I transferred myself and my bag of chips to the couch and replaced the Gatorade with the television remote. Eventually, I just stopped going into the garage because once again, that was not what I needed more of.
I began to feel as if I had exhausted all my options. I was so fed up with the clinical approach option offered by my health insurance, the garage thing was an epic fail and I had no desire to go back to the typical gym facility where they just are not set up for people navigating around in a wheelchair. So when I heard about this new facility where the owners; a husband and wife team, were described as knowledgeable, friendly and motivational, I was immediately interested in finding out where this road could possibly lead.
I visited the facility for a consultation and spoke with the owner about how I might be able to participate in a program that he would tailor to accomodate the fact that I use a wheelchair to navigate. I left that consultation hungry for more of what he was offering. I was excited to connect with someone who could also believe with me beyond my boundaries. Someone who inherently believed in inclusivity and did not think of my situation as an inconvenience but was truly excited to step up to the challenge of working my wheels into his program. We decided that it would be best to meet three times on a one on one basis before I joined the group sessions just to work out any kinks in the program. I went home elated and couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities of where this would lead.
Now, fast forward to the night before my first session. I could not sleep but it was not due to the excitement of starting something good and new. I was wide awake with fear! After all this time of whining and complaining about less than ideal physical therapy and no where to work out, I was about to get what I asked for. A place to challenge my physical body. A place to tap into the energy that fuels the brain to push past my limitations and a trainer that was willing to take this journey with me without hesitation but with enthusiasm. So why did I feel afraid? I had to pray away the fear and ask for wisdom to understand the gripping anxiety that would not let me sleep.
It is natural to experience fear. It serves a purpose and often times fear will keep up safe from harm. The key is to determine if the fear is real or imagined. In this instance, my fear was imagined. I imagined myself failing. I imagined not being able to perform the tasks that were being prepared for me. Then what? What would I do then? It terrified me almost to the point of backing out. But then, that small still voice in my mind started to drown out the noise when I leaned into it and away from the noise of my self doubt. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Phillipians 4:13).
So I rolled boldly into my first session a little nervous but not afraid. I was prepared to succeed. I was filled with joy and gratitude, knowing that I may not conquer every single task on my first day and absolutely certain about one thing; that if i did not take the first step that I would never know the success that awaited me on the other side of my fear!