May 28, 2009 "Atmosphere"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
By: Teresa Criswell

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
~ Philippians 4:13

The gym was packed. I arrived during 'peak' time. I could hear the 'buzz' in the atmosphere; many people sweating profusely as they pushed themselves to another level of fitness.

I walked over to the cardio area scoping out which elliptical machine was open. I found just one as I hurriedly walked towards it with my ipod clipped to my shirt and earphones in my ears. I could feel the rush, it was intense, my adrenaline was pumping. The two people on either side of me at this point were working out to see results; not just working out as though they were going through the motions.

I powered up my ipod, pushed play and was pumped. You'll laugh but I was getting pumped to a 'High School Musical' song (As a side note I love those movies).

I could feel the motivation rise up within me to work out really hard unknowingly because of the people that I was working out next to. Come to think of it; I was working out harder and faster than I had ever before. This went on for more than 15 minutes. It was intense. I didn't think my legs could move that fast, I felt like a 'pro'. At this point in my workout, I was already sweating profusely. Yes, I sweat, I do not perspire or 'glow' like other women, I sweat like a man and there is truly a feeling of accomplishment when I sweat.

My cardiovascular workout was timed for 40 minutes with a 5 minute cool down. Well, in the midst of the first 15 minutes which were intense, I noticed I started to slow down and feel heavy at about 20 minutes into the workout. As I looked on both sides, I realized the two people that were originally next to me were now gone and now there were two other people that worked out beside me. They were working out at a much slower pace. I noticed surprisingly how I allowed their workout to unknowingly effect mine.

The atmosphere in which I worked out in had changed. Then, I thought, 'This is a great lesson I'm about to learn, right Lord?" I could feel a beautiful Wink from the Lord at this point. Then I was led to ask myself? "Why do I depend on others or for that 'feeling' to be motivated?" "Why did my attitude change about my workout when the workout of the other people around me changed?"

When I got to this realization, I started to say, "Teresa, you are not going to allow their attitudes to bring you down! Come on! You can do this through Christ, you be the one to change the atmosphere, don't depend on others."

This scenario is a great 'reminder' of who we surround ourselves with. Obviously in the world you cannot help who you are around, especially in the work place. However, in our relationships who are we surrounding ourselves with? Do you notice the atmosphere change when negativity or a 'critical spirit' comes on the scene?

When this happens what are we to do? The world would say, "Run and don't look back". It's a 'knee jerk' reaction to do that as well. However, what are we called to do? Well, first of all I believe that we have to believe that with God all things are possible and that we can do these things through Christ Jesus who gives us the strength.

I realized today as I worked out and experienced two different atmospheres and attitudes within minutes of each other that we also have a responsiblity to either be brought up or down or we allow the Holy Spirit to bring in the change of the atmosphere as we allow Him to utilize us as His vessels. Not going through the motions (as that powerful song, "The Motions" sung by Matthew West) with religiousity but truly exercising our faith in God as we commune and have a relationship with Him.

Am I as a child of God, an heir through Jesus Christ revealing the atmosphere of His presence? Or am I as a child of God, an heir through Jesus Christ revealing that I'll just take what I can so that I can say, "I did what?"

I desire to be like those people who were around me today that unknowingly motivated me to workout the best I had ever worked out. I want people that are around me to feel Jesus' freedom that is upon me. I desire that they truly feel like they could fly through any adversity.


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