Regardless, my favorite exercise is the bench press. It is the most easily quantifiable, measurable, transferable exercise. I can tell, care, compare how strong I am, particularly in relation to others around me. Or in the NFL....Remember the SNL skit, "How much ya bench?"
I haven't asked anyone to "spot me" yet, which is necessary if I'm ever going to actually get much stronger (not just back to what I could do in West Virginia). But I often hesitate even in asking people, because I don't like having to tell people exactly how I want it done. Particularly when I don't know them well.
Sometimes when people "spot" you, they see you struggle and immediately put their hands under the bar. It then rises up very quickly. It goes from really hard to really easy. You don't need to be a trainer to realize that muscles grow best when they are exhausted. They grow best when and only when there is a struggle.
So when I get a "spotter" I have to tell him, "Let me struggle. Only help at the moment I absolutely need it. And then barely help it up."
When someone spots you and keeps you from struggling, it feels like you've just wasted your time. It's easy, but you just won't ever get much stronger.
I've heard the "faith is like a muscle" comparisons my whole life. But I've never really through the fact I actually seek such a spotter in the weight room. Such a spotter is loving. Such a spotter cares about me getting stronger more than he cares about easy lifting.
Yet such a spotter is there for a reason. I need him. I trust him. I have confidence he'll let me struggle, but I also have confidence he won't let me get pinned (that's not much fun-there is no more helpless feeling in the world!).
Church planting is not easy. But neither is life for most people who aren't church planting. Marriage, parenting, work, etc....Jesus is the spotter who seeks us out, but he does so because of His great love. I'm learning to see Jesus as a spotter and not get so mad at him when he lets me struggle. It's not that he's not there, but much the opposite. After all, that struggle is the best thing for me: conforming me to His image. That's what He cares about most in the end anyway. When I begin to line up His vision for me with my vision for me, I'll begin to appreciate his style of spotting a lot more.