The Burden Run

My husband and I started CrossFit this week, against my better judgment. Both of us have varied pasts with health and fitness. I have my BS degree in Nutrition and have always prioritized health and wellness. Eric grew up playing sports and has also dabbled in heavy lifting.

We both wanted to reboot our fitness routines and, thanks to Groupon, were able to do just that for $25. I was dubious of CrossFit after hearing mixed reviews over the last few years. Was it safe? Was it a fitness cult? Was it going to be a box full of smelly sweaty men? (Well, 2 of those things were true.)

Last night we walked in to the “box” (what they call each CrossFit gym) and saw the daily WOD (workout of the day – look at me go!) written on the whiteboard.

400 m burden runs.

What on Earth was a burden run and why did I have to do it for 400 meters? The instructor told us to grab a weight (between 5-50 lbs.) and run around the building for 400 meters. We would do this a total of 4 times.

My first weight was a 25 lb. sand bag. It was awkward and heavy in all the wrong places. I held it in front like a baby and then realized my arms would give out before my legs did, so I slung it over my shoulder. This worked for awhile, until one side of my body started cramping from my awkward running form. I put it across my shoulders the rest of the way, wondering why we weren’t at home eating DF ice cream and watching Food Network.

I started lessening the weight each time until I got down to my last loop with a small 6 lb. weighted ball. You know the wildest thing? It was still difficult.

Whether the weight was light or heavy, it weighed me down and slowed my ability to move forward. I started thinking about the burdens we carry every day. We wake up every day and pick up our 25 lb. sandbag of unforgiveness, our 20 lb. plate of fear, our 5 lb. kettlebell to-do list, and wonder why we aren’t living abundant and energized lives.

I realized that there were small burdens that I thought were my job to carry. Budget? Check. Work to-dos? Check. Keeping intimacy alive with my husband? Check. Making sure I make time to see my family? Check. I failed to realize that although these are all my weights, I’m not supposed to carry them alone.

Not to mention the big burdens that can daily drain your energy and enthusiasm for the journey. Addiction, marital issues, family drama, money problems, loss, change…these are all things that we all will experience at some level during our lives.

The key is not avoiding the burden, but knowing who to share it with.

We were made to run our race well, not be burdened and burnt out before the finish line. Although burdens are necessary for strengthening, we weren’t made to carry them alone.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30


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