“I think I came up with a new article idea today,” I told my friend Cheryl as we finished our traditional Wednesday morning workout, “I’m calling it ‘Lessons Learned at the Gym’ Lesson 1, don’t be a machine hog.”
She laughed, but she also knew I was completely serious. She’d seen me waiting patiently for my turn on the lower back machine while a young woman texted a friend then proceeded to do a dozen sets of fifteen. (I didn’t actually count, but I do know she far exceeded the unspoken three-sets-per-machine courtesy rule.) I’d been there the day that Cheryl sat down at the empty triceps machine only to have a hulk-in-training inform her that he had dibs on it as well as the one he was currently using.
Such experiences stood as reminders to us both that some people take their workouts very seriously.
Being one who finds life applications in everything from movies to knitting, I could not pass up the opportunity to see what God had to teach me through this rather rude gym member. He actually taught me several things, but for the sake of this post I will narrow it down to three:
1) Life isn’t all about me. I still remember the day when I was grinding coffee beans at Costco and became aware of the line forming behind me. I barely had time to pick up my pace before my friend Susan touched my shoulder and whispered, “You don’t need to rush. Relax.” And she was right. I had waited in line like everyone else and was simply taking my turn. Still, I never want to be that person who focuses so much on my rights that I ignore those who also need to take their turn.
2) It feels nicer to be nice. After that woman finished her 30 minutes (okay, 5) on the lower back machine, it was tempting to do a few extra reps myself. After all, I had been waiting for a long time! I pictured my bold friends being so proud of how much I’d grown in my ability to not let people rush me. But I knew I would feel like a jerk if I followed through on that plan. As much as I’m learning to recognize my needs as equally as important as everyone else, I also know that I feel much more true to who I am when I opt for politeness. So I only did one extra set.
3) Actions reflect the heart. We rarely need to tell anyone, “I’m putting myself first today.” This attitude has a way of announcing itself. The same goes for our desire to be generous, kind, and considerate.
Standing behind that inconsiderate woman reinforced my desire to be a person who takes others into account even when it is technically my turn and there is no sign saying I can’t do what I’m doing.
What has inspired you to be more considerate lately?