The happiest times of my life have always involved a sense of community.

The darkest periods of my life have been when I isolate and try to figure things out on my own.

I don’t think I ever consciously sought community. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I really understand what the word “community” meant until a few years ago. When I think back on the best times of my life, I was always part of a group- a church youth group, a sports team, or a pack of friends obsessing over skateboarding, playing paintball, or the latest video game.

The loneliest periods of my life came when I was alone.

Seems pretty obvious, right?

It should be, but I don’t think self-inflicted misery makes use of clues or gives pause for the obvious.

Today, I seek community like oxygen. I cannot be left in isolation for long periods of time. My strongest sense of community comes with the membership of my CrossFit gym at Olive Branch CrossFit. I love being a part of something like that. People love to hate CrossFit. Unhappy people despise happiness (I do to, when I am unhappy). I enjoy the freedom and release that comes with the combination of fitness and fellowship.

I like having the option to be social or keep to myself, work with intensity or just move around, listen and learn or just sit and watch. There is no healthier environment than when you mix community with fitness. Being in an environment that involves struggle creates a degree of mutual respect for one another. I don’t necessarily have to “like” someone or appreciate their beliefs in order to respect their work ethic or appreciate their labor. As a matter of fact, I have found that most of the petty differences I have with people tend to dilute themselves with a simultaneous sweat. There is something about pain that brings us all a little closer.

Walking into my gym, I am immediately vulnerable. But guess what? So is everyone else. Allowing myself to be vulnerable is an opportunity to expose the areas in which I most desperately need growth. The bond is in the battle. We all struggle. Some people struggle to lift 400lbs, some struggle to get out of bed, some struggle to put on a bathing suit, some struggle to come to the gym, and some struggle to be patient with their children, but walking into the front door of a gym is an acknowledgement that there is a struggle- there is an area that needs work. With vulnerability comes understanding and empathy, and with empathy comes a level of respect and appreciation for the other person struggle.

There is no stronger sense of freedom that comes with silently announcing that “I am broken and I am here to get fixed”. Especially when in a room full of broken people who are here for the same repairs as I am, each of us driving a different make, model, and year and looking to accomplish different things with our skin-covered vehicle and armor coated soul.

The right combination of fear, trepidation, insecurity, and self-doubt combined with just a dab of willingness, when in the right environment, can generate an immeasurable amount of power, freedom, and confidence.

Wherever it is you want to go, you will most likely have to walk through the door to get there. Today is a good day to open that door. You will likely find people who are looking for the same things you are. Some of them have already found it, but keep coming back for more.

Whatever room you want to enter, walk through that door today.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

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