Don't You Dare Give Up!

Don't Ever Give Up

A little over a year ago, I found it difficult to roll 365 pounds loaded on a barbell, let alone deadlift it.  So, I never thought I’d see the day when I would deadlift 405 pounds loaded on that same barbell.  The world record for my weight class (165 lbs) is 716 lbs!  I’m obviously far from that record, but I’m far from where I used to be.

And that is the point I want to make on this forum.  There are three things I contribute to making this once-only-dreamed-of goal a reality: (1)healthy strength, (2) encouragement from others, and (3)hard work in the form of relentless pursuit.

(1) I have a plethora of time to think during my long runs in training for a half-marathon.  During that training, I often thank God for the health and strength He has given me to run and lift.  I say, “God, I consider it a great blessing and privilege that I can come out here and run.  There are many who are not able to do this, so I do not take it for granted.  Thank You.”

So, when I hit the gym with a goal in mind, I do not merely set it as a physical goal, but a mental and spiritual goal.  I know that if I tell myself I will fail, then I will most definitely will!  But when I convince myself that I will succeed, then I will most likely will.  There’s a sign we read daily before physical training in Recruit School that reads, “If you think you can you will; if you think you can’t you’re right.”

This is true in running, weight-lifting, or battling against some besetting sin.  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  He created me, and He grants me strength in all forms, and I thank Him for it.

(2) I have a good friend, Shaun, who has always been an inspiration to me to push harder and stronger in every aspect of fitness.  He encourages me with his words backed by his example.

Shaun is legitimately a beast.  He completed the Tough Mudder this year while carrying a ruck-sack and log, weighing about 40 lbs.  It’s a tiring enough obstacle course without the added weight, but he set his mind to it and conquered it.  Because of his inspiration, I ran a measly 5-mile competition while wearing a 19-lb weight vest.

So when I told him I had broken my personal record with a 365-lb deadlift by "pulling" 375 lbs, he suggested, “Bro, if you keep that up you’ll be pulling 4-oh-5 by the end of summer.”  His encouragement and challenging words set my new goal at 405.  I limited myself, but he subtly set a higher standard for me.

So, here's what I have to ask myself: What am I speaking into others' lives?  Do I speak encouragement and positive challenge into others’ lives?  Or do I speak defeat and woe?  Do I exude arrogant pride, or humble strength?  Do people want to be around me because I encourage them?  Or do they run the other way because of my sour attitude?  Do I inspire my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to greatness?  Or do my words limit them? 

(3) Relentless Pursuit is a phrase often used in law enforcement circles, meaning, “Don’t quit digging just because you keep coming up empty.  Keep looking; keep trying.”  Last year when I failed to deadlift 365 pounds, I thought in my mind I had reached the peak of my abilities.  So I focused my attention on other pursuits for a while and put deadlifts on the back burner. 

But then during a conversation with Shaun, he inspired me to pick back up on deadlifting again…although he never said those words.  It was his personal accomplishments that inspired me to pursue my former goals again. 

When I returned to deadlifting, I set my goal relatively low.  I simply wanted to beat 365 pounds.  So when Shaun encouraged me to push to 405, I took it and ran with it.  In order to get there, though, I had to put in a lot -- a LOT -- of hard work not just in deadlifts.  Other areas needed strengthening in order to increase this one area, and I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight.  I committed myself to my goal – early wake-ups, long-distance runs, dreadful workouts, etc.  I didn’t get side-tracked by the small obstacles in the middle, but kept my eyes focused on the prize.

Maybe you’ve been struggling to overcome some besetting sin, and you feel like throwing in the towel.  You fight constantly an on-going battle against your ever-increasing weight, but you feel like quitting -- again!  You seem to “work out (I.e., "hard work") your salvation with fear and trembling”, but you wonder if it’s all worth it.  But  don’t ever give up.  Ever!  Keep fighting; keep pressing on.  Be relentless in your pursuit of mental, physical, and spiritual fitness.  You CAN do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

In conclusion, bathe yourself in thankfulness for what God has given you.  If you want something, go after it.  Don’t settle for who you are right now.  “Change your mind” and your mindset toward your current affairs will change.  Surround yourself with people who encourage you, people who push you, and people who will hold you accountable.  If you fall, get back up and dust yourself up.  Start over again, if necessary.  But don't ever, ever give up.

The following is my video documentation of this hard-fought journey to 405. 


  1. So encouraging... I have a couple baseball playing brothers I would like to share this with. For multiple reasons. :) You are indeed encouraging others by your efforts, attitude, and words.

    1. Feel free to pass it along if you think your brothers will be encouraged. Thank you, and God bless you, J.