I like to try different types of fitness (which might explain why I am not particularly good at any of them). I get bored easily and I have a disdain for people who believe that there is only one way of doing things. Runners believe in running, crossfitters believe in crossfitting, strongmen believe in strongman, power-lifters believe in powerlifting and all the while there are such great people in each of these that miss the opportunity to connect, build, and learn from one another.

I recently tried a men’s group by the name of F3 Memphis which is part of the F3 Nation. The mission of F3 is to plant, grow, and serve fitness groups to invigorate the male community. Now, the whole mission thing is all well-and-good but I was there to workout. I have some friends who have become wrapped up in F3 so I thought I would enjoy an hour with them and give me a chance to catch up. I had no interest in “planting, serving, or invigorating” anything- I planned to plant my ass behind a bacon omelet and allow someone to serve it to me with some chocolate milk.

At this workout, there are all different ages of men from all walks of life and every kind of fitness level from extremely fit to not-even-a-little-bit fit and there appeared to be a multitude of different beliefs and personality types as well. I like meeting new people and working out with different folks, so this was pretty cool.

At the end of each workout, F3 has a peer-led devotional. Whoever is leading the workout has the opportunity to speak a little bit about their faith, their life, and their beliefs (whatever the individual’s beliefs might be). The leader of the workout is referred to as the Q, and the Q on this day was named Richard McClure.

As we were finishing the “work” part of the workout we gathered around Richard to listen to his devotional. I remember how much I hate this kind of crap. I go back to the days of my youth and listening to some old man waste his breath waxing eloquently about church and life and sex and drugs and bunch of other garbage. Suddenly, I remember that I am not thirteen years old anymore. During the devotion, I realized that somewhere between the ages of twelve and forty-one I developed a sense of compassion, a need for community, a longing to serve, a desire to lead and a wanting for purpose.

Somewhere in the middle of the devotional- as Richard discussed his desire to be a leader in the community as well as his home- it occurred to me how often I participate in events where I am served and how rarely do I serve others. How many times has someone given of their time to help and how seldom do I search for the opportunity to reciprocate. This wasn’t a wave of guilt I was experiencing, it was a revelation of opportunity.

I think that it is easy to get caught up in the flow of life and just struggle to survive. Seldom do I look for the opportunity to bear the extra burden, make the uncomfortable move and attempt to lead. F3 was essentially providing the opportunity to do this. F3 is giving men a safe environment to experience the discomfort that comes with growth and leadership. It seems to be a well-laid obstacle course in which you can practice your leadership skills, hone them, and then take them back to the battlefield of real life where you are encouraged to use the tools which you have been taught to yield.

I watched McClure as he spoke with conviction. He spoke with intention. He was not delicate with anyone’s feelings and he was not shy in expressing his. I tried to roll my eyes and get past the cheesy devotional stuff. I reminded myself that I was here for a free workout and all I really wanted was some breakfast and a shower. I tried to convince myself that I was thirteen years old and already know everything, this stuff is not for me, but I could not do it. No matter how hard I fought the notion of there being power in this man’s words, I could not seem to disconnect myself from the message. There was just too much Truth; too much me; too much work that I try to avoid. The words that Richard spoke were too strong.

I don’t remember exactly what Richard said but I remember what I felt. There was one thing in particular that stood out more than any other and I have not been able to shake it. As Richard discussed being an active participant in life and being called to lead he reminded us that there is more to life than showing up for free workouts and greasy burritos- there are opportunities to serve and people who need servants so that they might later have the confidence to lead. What Richard said was,

“It’s great that you have jumped in with the current but you should know why you are in the water.”

I spend a lot of time in the lazy river and I ride the waves that others create for me. It’s probably a good time to start being more aware of opportunities to be part of the push and not the benefactor of other people’s pull.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,