So I’ve learned a little bit lately about ambivalence, and acknowledging ambivalence. Do you know this word? If you don’t, ambivalence is basically having mixed feelings about something. It’s not hypocrisy. It’s an issue of worth. Brant Hansen‘s definition of wisdom is knowing the relative value of things, and ambivalence is when two things seem suspended on the same rung, each jockeying for superiority, but neither successfully pulling ahead.
So often this issue of ambivalence creeps up in our own lives when it comes to health and fitness. Consider the wife who is praised by her husband only when she has baked him something sweet. She desperately wants to eat things besides pasta and cake and bread, and wants to provide her spouse with healthier meals as well, but to stop the high-calorie comfort food would be to lose the only positive attention she gets. Which has more worth? The praise or the health? Which would you choose? A healthy body/grumpy spouse, or poor health and peace and praise?
Or the teenager who has found that he/she is more “popular” and less teased when he/she gains weight and plays the part of the funny, self-deprecating over-eater. He/she doesn’t want to be that person, but what is more valuable…good health, or immunity from bullying?
Then there’s the man who eats lunch with his co-workers. They drink Mountain Dew and they get snacks from the vending machine and that is who they are. They’re hardworking, patriotic, family-men. One of these men knows he is diabetic and wants to change his eating habits, but to start going to the company fitness center and packing healthy meals may just be a social death sentence. To sit watching his co-workers eat their snacks and sodas while he eats vegetables and drinks water would seem to them as if he is sitting in judgement. They’ve always collectively been about sticking it to the man, but now he’d be the man. Is it really worth it?
Welcome to the world.
But here’s the thing: I just don’t think that my prowess (hahahahahaha) as a personal trainer is enough to help any of these people, or you even. I am told it is, but I do not agree. Perhaps I could convince someone for awhile that the intrinsic reward of exercise and good nutrition is worth the sacrifice, but I don’t know that that would last. Eventually, I have to go home at night. And so do you. And what then?
Honestly, I do not see how all this works without God. Only he can reach down and put his warm hands on either side of your face and look steady into your eyes and say, “You are worth it. You are enough and exquisite ALREADY. ” Only God can coax that tight fist open and replace whatever it is you’re afraid to let go of with something infinitely more beautiful.
I think I’m just here to help.
I know it’s rough. I know about risk. I know about loss. I know about those 3am panic sessions. How many times have I said, “God, really? Will it really be worth it?”
And always there is that answer: “Yes.”
It’s not usually loud, or accompanied by some grand revelation, or some crystal-ball view of a sunny future, but it’s enough to let me sleep until my bedroom lights up with dawn.
It’s enough. You’re enough.