I was in the gym yesterday and I could not help but notice what the men and women at work frequently talk about on break. The “googlers,” the guys Carly Simon sings about in the old song “You’re so vain.”
Let me describe them to any of you that do not know what I am referring to:
Picture this: He walks into the gym and signs heavy so everyone knows he is there and ready to PUMP iron. He drops his gym bag, very ceremonial, and loudly onto the floor as if the sheer weight of it is comparable to a bowling ball. He slowly stands up now, stretching as he does so, drawing in his breath so his stomach is sucked in and you can’t help but notice the muscle shirt he has on. It is two sizes too small to give the look that his upper body is ripped like The Terminator. He glares at the television screen, upset that anything would distract others from looking at him and his fine stature. Cautiously, so others can’t see, he uses his peripheral vision in the mirrors that surround the gym to one, admire his physique. God, he says to him, I look damn good. He then kind of glances around, step two, to see how many want-to-be-men are staring at him enviously. Then, with little regard for how obvious he is to on lookers, he does step three, checks out the babes in the gym. Not the ones like me that are grandmas in sweats but the women that are truly worthy of his advances. He then begins his work out, repeating steps 1, 2 and 3 in no particular order through out his hours in the gym. Yes, hours, he can’t retain this body without paying a price … time!
I wonder why Jesus, who was as close to perfect in every way as any of us could ever dream to be, did not behave in this fashion? Why are there no accounts of him staring at himself, spending hours in the gym, flexing his muscles for all to see, dressing scantily? In fact the one time we hear He was dressed as close to naked as you can get was when He was hung on the cross for you and I’s sins. Yet, Jesus has a power that defies our wildest dreams. It was and is encompassing and limitless. He showed us all that vanity has no real power … it just gives an illusion of power. The ones with all the vanity do not often realize it is a false sense of security, worshiping your own appearance does not get you into Heaven. Nor does it get folks admiring you for the right reasons.
Ah, as my husband so eloquently puts it, these guys are always in the gym. Why don’t they take a break and mow the lawn, fix a car or better yet, walk the dog? Simply said, these are the work out opportunities for real men. Real men, in my humble opinion, intermix gym work out time with playtime with the kids, helping around the house and taking care of their families needs.
Good health and exercise is important but these men get obsessive about it! Real men care more about how their front yards look like than having a set of six-pack abs.
Back at the gym, I am thinking this all through in my mind, realizing that I have not seen one of my neighbors outside in his yard for years! I catch another woman’s eye close by me and she says, as if reading my thoughts, “They should not be allowed in here!” I know exactly who the they is—gym worshippers. The men that google at themselves during long tedious work out routines and have bodies that make us all feel like we are candidate for The Biggest Losers next season.
I leave the gym smiling to myself. One day, sooner or later, we all get it. One day, they too, will wake up with a inflatable tire around their mid section and find, wearing low rider pants reveals an unsightly plumbers crack. Only then, they will get it. Real men do not have to wear muscle shirts or stare at themselves in the mirror to smile.