In a gym, I always feel like a fish out of water.
Recently, after a hard day at work, I went to the gym, where I jumped up and down, made sucking noises like a Hoover vacuum sweeper, twisted, turned, groaned and perspired for an hour ... and that was just so I could put on my gym clothes. Then the trainer put me on the treadmill for my cardio warm-ups. After about a minute, I knew something didn't feel right. I put my hand into the pocket of my gym shorts, but it didn't slide in as usual. That's when I realized I had my shorts on backward.
When I began my journey to try and climb Mount Kilimanjaro carrying an 80-pound cross, I knew there would be a price to pay.
Several people have asked whether I'm doing crunches as part of my Kilimanjaro training. The answer is yes. In fact, I'm doing them twice a day. I do Captain Crunch in the morning and Nestle's Crunch after lunch.
Besides the physical challenges I face, a mental challenge accompanies this journey, but the rewards are worth it. I'm asking God to let me be one of those who conquers the climb and sees His glory.
This journey is about much more than climbing a mountain and carrying a cross. It's about Jesus, His cross and me. He set the minimum requirement for being a Christ-follower in Scripture: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
I'm fasting from carbonated soft drinks. I've quit snacking between meals and have limited the amount of sweets I eat.
The simple pattern for this journey and all its preparation time comes from Luke: desire, deny, embrace, follow. This makes a good pattern for us to model.
First, we must lead our children to desire the things of God above the things of the world. We must also teach them the blessings of sacrifice and denial. As we do this, we encourage them to embrace the promises of God. Finally, in the midst of a confusing and disoriented world, we must teach them to keep following Him.
One day, you and your children will be able to stand on the mountaintop together and enjoy God's blessings. And these rewards make even backward gym shorts seem like a small price.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries of Tulsa.