Clarence, The Trainer

God desires to train us to be strong for Him. Anything He asks of me is the best. He is all-knowing in every arena of life. Unlike a human coach, He never pushes too hard or too softly. His ways are perfect.

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I got home yesterday afternoon from vacation, unpacked, washed clothes, and then headed off to the grocery store. An eight-day vacation of doing almost nothing was a beautiful thing.  I’m rested and ready to begin again.

Today, I started working out again with my friend and trainer, Clarence. Lynn and I had worked out with Clarence for over a year. I truly was becoming a 51-year-old Hercules. In the humblest way, I loved getting stronger and was very surprised that I could! About this time last year, he had a great job opportunity and had to cut us loose for a while. So today, after a year-long break, we started back up.

Today was my big day of assessment! Lynn had her day of assessment earlier in the week. I started off feeling pretty doggone good about myself. It’s crazy to me that I can do some of the stuff I can do. I don’t compare myself to anyone but myself. I am stronger now than I have ever been in my adult life. Maybe I’m not stronger than others, but I am stronger than I have ever been. I’m thankful!

I give the Lord every ounce of the glory. I didn’t desire any of this; HE just put it in my heart to change. So change me, He did.

Clarence and I start off with squats and lunges. Oh my!!!! I guess it’s been a while since I’ve done either of these. And I’ve just returned from a very leisure vacation. I did walk almost every day, but that was about all I did. I’m not feeling as self-assured as I was prior to the beginning of my assessment.

As we moved around the gym “assessing,” the more I realized I might have gotten a little soft since I worked out with Clarence.

He gave me an exercise to do and the amount he wanted me to do. At one point, another client of his walked up to say good morning to us. As I was starting to perspire more than normal and breathe more deeply, the best greeting I could give was to nod my head. I was not looking to chitchat with this lady. My goal at this point was to keep breathing and living. Boy, I was thankful for the distraction she caused with my trainer.

As Clarence turned back to me to ask how many leg lifts I had done, I screamed “EIGHT.” Now, y’all, I’m not one to go around yelling at people, but he had weighted down the machine I was on, and when he asked that question, I was so intense I just hollered! After it was over, I laughed and told him, “Whoops, sorry about yelling at you!”  He said that happens a lot!

We moved all over the gym this morning. With every different muscle assessed, I knew that muscle would hurt tomorrow. I was happy and sad all wrapped up in one. I realized I was stronger than I have ever been but wasn’t feeling the emotion of it as Clarence assessed my status. I also knew if Clarence had his way, I was going to become stronger.

Lynn walked in toward me at the end of our assessment time and gave me a big hug. Maybe she was walking in discernment and sensed this sister needed a little encouragement. Plus, we hadn’t seen each other in weeks. I was so thankful to see a friendly face. It was another chance to rest!

As Clarence and I chatted about the program ahead, he said a great quote. It was so great I asked him to repeat it, stalling him and catching my breath! He did, and then I told him to send that to me in a text. The quote was universal. It could apply to anything.

The text read:

                  Results are directly affected by the expectations of the coach and the individual.

It was simple yet quite profound.

I had been fine with my level of success thus far. Really, I was pretty much ok to stay there. After the assessment, Clarence wrote down some things we needed to work on. Please know, I’m not planning on entering the Silver Sneaker Olympics. I want to continue to become stronger and to increase my knowledge of how to make that happen.

I realized my coach had greater expectations for me than I did. I told Clarence two years ago that I do not live by the motto, “No pain, no gain.”  I am more of the mindset, “Be gentle with Princess Buttercup.”

Parts of my body were already starting to ache. I didn’t feel bad about this situation, but I was very aware that even though I had been very faithful to show up at the gym 2-4 times a week for the last year, I’m not sure I had incorporated anything too taxing on the ole body.

Today was a new day. Today, Clarence assessed the situation and took notes. My next workout session will probably be a learning, growing. and muscle awareness time. I like to call pain “muscle awareness” It helps the sting. After all, that is what Lynn and I pay him to do, right?

His quote was right on the mark. Results are directly affected by the expectations of the coach and the individual.

He has expectations and knowledge I have yet to learn. But my heart is in this! I made that decision a couple of years ago. I decided I was going to obey the Lord and be a better steward of my body and mind. Which simply put means eat right, exercise, and Philippians 4 my thought life. Philippians 4:8 says to think on things that are true, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

I told Clarence from the beginning that I will never tell him no when he is asking me to work on a certain goal. My thinking is he is the expert, not me. So I can trust his judgment. But I did make one small request. If I couldn’t do the amount he requested at that time, I promised I would work on it until I could. I didn’t want to hurt so badly that I would get discouraged and quit. I think at first he didn’t know what to do with that statement. I promised when I saw him again I would be at the goal he had set. This meant I had to discipline myself to grow and change. I told him I would be the poster child of change even though I am 50 something!

Clarence’s quote made me think about the greatest coach, Jesus Christ. Anything He asks of me is the best. He is all-knowing in every arena of life. Unlike a human coach, He never pushes too hard or too softly. His ways are perfect. Anything that He asks of us is for our good. And the most amazing thing of all is that anything He asks of us He empowers us to do. Unlike a human coach, He never leaves nor forsakes us. He is there every moment of every day. A human coach is there during practice and training times. Jesus never leaves me. He is a 24/7 Coach!

Periodically, the Lord has to do an assessment of where I am. There are times of rest, and then there are times when I need to buckle down and get going again. He knows when I need to work hard, and He knows when I need to rest and repair. I call this a merging of Grace and Truth.

When working muscles, it is always best to take a day off in between and let the muscles repair.

With lifting weights, cardio, or whatever, rest is vital to gaining strength. It is a beautiful thing when we make the decision to listen to the Coach and do what He prescribes. At the end of my life, I want to go out strong. I’m not just speaking about being physically strong. That will be great!  Even more, I desire to go out strong spiritually, relationally, and mentally. This will only happen one way. I have to allow the Coach to show me what His expectation is for me and agree with Him. It will also mean submitting my will to His will and doing things His way.

Partnering, co-laboring with Him is an amazing, powerful, courageous, and adventurous ride.

Becoming more and more of a student of the Word, learning more of the inheritance of a child of God, and understanding the finished work at the cross strengthens me to be what He created me to be.

Today ask yourself:

  1. Am I yielding to His assessing in my life?
  2. Will I commit to working with Him on changing the areas He shows me need change?
  3. Do I trust He is the expert Coach of the universe?

Lord, teach us of Your love and desire to make us strong. Help us to understand that Your ways are higher and greater than ours and that You can be totally trusted even when it seems we have to push through a challenging time. Thank You for Your unending love and care for us as Your children. Amen!



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About the Author

I grew up in Greenville, SC and have loved art since I could write. My passion is Jesus and helping others become complete in Him.