Rocky and life lessons

December 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

My brother came to visit me last month and we were out walking.

There is a hill on the way back to my house that always frustrates me.

Before I even get to it, I feel defeated.

This particular day my brother had encouraged me to walk further than I had ever walked before.

I had gotten comfortable with my 1.5 mile walk but I “knew” that I couldn’t go any further than that.

At least not yet.

But this day he increased it to 3 miles.

Everything inside my head was telling me that I wouldn’t make it back to the house.

My feet, back and legs hurt.

Sometimes it was hard to breathe.

We were getting close to my house but then came the hill.

Just as we approached it, I heard this coming from my brother’s phone…

How’s that for motivation? 

So yesterday we watched Rocky. 

My kids had never seen any of the movies.  

CJ (7) and Charlotte (8) decided to watch with me.  

The night before the big fight, Rocky was having second thoughts. He has this conversation with Adrian.

Rocky: I can’t do it. 
Adrian: What? 
Rocky: I can’t beat him. 
Adrian: Apollo? 
RockyYeah. I been out there walkin’ around, thinkin’. I mean, who am I kiddin’? I ain’t even in the guy’s league
Adrian: What are we gonna do? 
Rocky: I don’t know. 
Adrian: You worked so hard. 
Rocky: Yeah, that don’t matter. ‘Cause I was nobody before. 
Adrian: Don’t say that. 
Rocky: Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true. I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood. 

I mean, who am I kidding?

I can really relate to that line in the movie.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this EXACT thought goes through my head.

When you weigh 400-450 pounds and you’ve weighed that for a significant period of time, you really don’t have a lot of confidence that things will ever change.

When you’ve been on every diet that was ever invented (some 2 and 3 times each), then there really isn’t any reason for you to have confidence that you will ever do anything but fail.

When you’ve never been athletic, can barely get off the couch without assistance, can’t tie your own shoes, can barely fit behind the wheel of your car and you’ve quit every exercise program you’ve ever started–well then…who are you kidding??

To even walk out the door and start walking around the block…where people can see you….in a way it’s kind of humiliating.

In my mind, they all know what I’m doing.

I’m a super obese woman walking around the block.

I’m clearly attempting to start an exercise program.

I’m clearly attempting to lose weight.

And I’m clearly out of my league.

I felt defeated, humiliated and embarrassed before I even walked out the door.

To Rocky’s opponent, this was all a big joke.

A publicity stunt.

Everyone knew Rocky was going to lose.

Not just lose–but get completely destroyed.

And the whole world bought tickets to watch it happen.

Rocky felt like a nobody but he decided to show up for the fight anyway.

He decided that he wanted to “go the distance”.

He wanted to prove that no matter how many times he got knocked down, he would still get up and when the bell rang he’d still be standing.

This is what it’s really all about.

It’s not about winning every fight.

It’s about showing up.

It doesn’t matter if I look ridiculous plodding along outside in my super obese body, sweat rolling down my cheeks with my face so red that people actually STOPPED in their cars and asked me if I was ok and needed help.

YES that happened.

In the beginning, my feet were so swollen that I did not even own tennis shoes.

For years, flip flops were the only thing I wore because nothing else would fit my swollen feet.

So I know what it’s like to feel like a loser.

And now I’m dragging myself around the block in flip flops and a moo-moo dress  thinking that it’s going to make a difference??

                             I mean, who am I kidding?

Rocky expressed concern that the fight was going to be brutal.  

He was going to get destroyed. 

And when he got there, everything he feared came true. 

He took a pretty brutal beating.  

But he did something his opponent did NOT expect.  

He refused to stay down.  

He wouldn’t quit.  

He wouldn’t give up. 

I couldn’t embed this video into my blog but I suggest you follow the link over to youtube and check it out. (Just remember to come back when you’re done!)

Rocky won’t quit

 Rocky is beaten, eyes swollen shut, blood running down his face.  

Even his own trainer tells him to stay down! 

At that point, my kids had different reactions.  

Charlotte yelled out “Why doesn’t he just quit already?” to which CJ replies “He can’t quit! How’s he gonna win if he quits?!”  

Words of wisdom from my youngest child!

I asked Charlotte more about her thoughts while the movie was on ‘pause’.  Here’s a quick video below:

Well I have to admit I have often felt this way about life.  

If only life would stop punching us in the face…then we could be winners!

 But instead life just keeps socking us in the face and then kicking us when we’re down.  

Last year this time, I felt exactly like this.  

You see in 4 days from now, it will be exactly one year ago that my mom died.  

Things were already rough.  

I was over 400 pounds and I could no longer sleep in my own bed.  

My own weight was crushing me when I laid down and every night I feared I would suffocate to death in my sleep.  

I literally feared my children would wake up one day and find me dead. 

The idea of traumatizing them in this way constantly kept me awake at night. 

Every day life was a struggle.  

Then I found out my mom had cancer last October.  

The treatments and surgery were a success but the following month we found out she needed a procedure for her heart.  

That seemed to go well but two days after Christmas, she had a heart attack.  

They stabilized her but then she had a massive stroke.  

Life support and on New Years Eve she died. 

My mom died.  

I can’t even express to you in words what this did to me. 

It’s taken me almost a year just to accept that it really happened. 

This was THE knockout punch.  

When my husband left me, I felt alone but my mom was the one who picked me up and told me that I could survive.  

She told me that as long as she was alive I would never be alone.  

And now she’s gone.

I was done being punched. 

But life wasn’t done throwing punches. 

A few weeks later, the state cut the funding to my contract position and I lost my job.  

A week after that, tree roots broke through my pipes and the entire house flooded.  

One week later, someone hit my car. 

 I was tired of getting sucker punched.

During my Rocky marathon, I learned a lot about how to take the punches of life. 

 Here’s a scene where Rocky expresses this to his now grown son.

You see life isn’t all “sunshine and rainbows” but it’s “not about how hard you hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”.

I view the apostle Paul like the Rocky of the scriptures. If anyone knows what it’s like to get knocked down it’s Paul.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27. “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, he had some other ailment which he plead for God to take from Him at least three times!

Yet even in his despair, he found the key to keep moving forward.

The way to keep getting up when you’re knocked down.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

He knew that with God all things are possible.

That the enemy wants us defeated.

He wants us so discouraged that we won’t even show up for the battle.

The quickest way to win a war is to get someone to surrender before the battle lines are even drawn.

I spent years of my life surrendered, defeated and resigned to the idea that I was going to be a victim of my circumstances.

But the truth is that God has given us the victory already.

He equips us with the strength to keep going when we don’t think we can.

It is when we are weak that He shines through us proving His strength is all we really need.

Sometimes we all need a Rocky marathon to remind us that the only way to really lose the fight is to give up.

Even when your eyes are swollen from the tears and your heart is heavy with despair, God is there to pick you up and give you the strength to go another round.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 31, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Thank you!


Tiffany January 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

This post was heartbreaking yet so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your heart. Wow.


Amanda November 3, 2012 at 4:33 am

Wow. I didn’t know losing weight could teach a person all this. Thank you, thank you for letting God use your journey to health as a teachable moment. I know what God is calling me to, and I am scared to death. I am terrified to give up food. I am paralyzed at the thought of pushing myself, of getting back up instead of drowning my sorrows in a pile of wrappers. But this is where it’s at. Your honesty helps encourage me. Thank you.


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