I. Did. It.

I did a thing.

Yes, I did a thing.

I like to say that it was “for fun”, but not many people would imagine donning an unattractive black singlet and lifting weights over one’s head while a crowd of onlookers stare as “fun”.

But that is what I did.  Two days ago I competed in my first weightlifting meet.

I am no stranger to competitions–yoga asana, powerlifting, musical performances, I have participated in a range of sweat-producing, anxiety-creating events.  But this was the first time I ever weightlifted in front of a crowd.

For those who don’t know, weightlifting, aka Olympic lifting, consists of two different movements:  the snatch (barbell goes from ground to directly overhead) and the clean and jerk (barbell goes from ground to shoulders and then shoulders to overhead).  Watch actual professional-types do these lifts (like the wonderful Alyssa Ritchey, Morghan King, or Sarah Robles), and it is fluid, graceful, elegant, and, well, just plain awesome.

Watch me do these lifts?  Ahem.  It’s obvious I need some more practice.

But you know what?  I don’t mind saying that although I am nowhere near the caliber of those grand athletes, I am pretty darn proud of what I did do.  It feels odd to say that, as my total was nothing of extreme noteworthiness.  I weighed in at 46.4kg and did a 33kg snatch and 41 kg clean and jerk for a total of 74kg.  Some lifters in my 48kg weight class clean and jerk what I totaled.  Eek.  But I had fun, and that is what I am the most excited about.

Don’t get me wrong.  The flury of butterflies in the stomach warming up for the day were having a grand ole party, and my hands shook a little as I went to chalk them for my first attempts, but all I thought in the midst of stepping onto the platform and grabbing the barbell was “Thank you, Jesus for this awesome opportunity.  Thank you.”  Because in reality, I am still learning the ropes, I am growing in my understanding of what it means to participate in a weight class sport, and I am seeing the beauty in unfurling the mysteries of the first, second, and third pull.

Jesus has given me the opportunity to make wonderful friends through the sport, and He is also revealing how weightlifting is a lot like life:  commitment, patience, perseverance are all needed to become the best athlete possible.  Rock-star status doesn’t emerge overnight.  And much like life, there are ups and downs, but one must have faith in the process, faith in her coach and support from teammates to overcome the rough times.  How wonderful it is that Jesus is enabling me to learn these lessons through weightlifting.

So yes, I had fun.  I got a medal.  I made new friends.  I picked up the barbell six times and got green lights for all six attempts.  I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning.  Now to look forward to the next time I get to don that ugly black singlet…

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