Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Teaching each other

Yesterday at the gym I saw something interesting.

As I was lifting, I looked over and saw a couple of teens lifting. One of the teens was struggling on the bench press, trying to lift too much. His friends either didn't know what to do or didn't have the strength to help him, for they were just standing around frozen. I started to head that way to help when an older gentleman came to his aide. (I say older, as in he was balding and looked older than me..real age unknown). I paused my music and listened in on his conversation with the teen. He began telling him how he needed to not over estimate how much he could bench but also encouraged him to keep trying to bench more. He then walked the teen through the proper steps of benching and how to gauge how much he could and could not bench.

I remember back in my weight training classes back in high school Mr. Festerling doing the same thing. He very patiently walked me and the others through weight lifting and proper form. What he taught me has stuck over the last 16+ years since. What was taught to me then has helped me in my pursuit of being healthy now.

I also started thinking of Eddie, Doyle, Merle and Bob, all older gentleman at church who walked me through my faith. They taught me what it meant to be a man of God. Through their actions, conversations and even instruction, they taught me what it meant to be a person of integrity, to be honest, to be loving, to be like Jesus in all I do.

This is what is commonly called in Christian circles discipleship. And it is important in the formation and development of our physical and spiritual health. In his book The New High Intensity Training, Ellington Darden laments how this type of discipleship has gone to the wayside in weight lifting. And I think it has gone to the wayside in our churches as well.

In my own pursuit of spiritual and physical health, I realize that I need to take the time to help others learn and grow in their own health but more importantly in their own spiritual journey. I think this is a charge to us all to do so.

As we work on getting healthy and as we grow in our spiritual journey and faith walk, we need to help others do the same.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Importance of place

I used to always say "If I had more time I'd exercise more" or "if I had more time I'd read my Bible more." And honestly, from time to time, I still do. But the other day, as I for some odd reason woke up to be at the gym by 6:30 am (got there at 7am), I was realizing that I was making time. That was something else someone one time told me. They said, "Well, if you want to do it, make the time." I always responded "I don't have the time to make the time." What that person was saying to me was more to the point of "If it's important to you then you'll find the time."

Think about that for a second--finding the time verses making the time. What is the difference? It's the importance of it.

How important is my health to me? I thought about this as I etched out an hour and a half to catch up on some TV shows that were on the DVR. I was willing to set aside time to watch some TV shows. Why can't I be willing to etch out time to exercise? Or more importantly, why can't I etch out time to spend it with God.

I decided to look at what was important to me. How important was my health to me? Being at over 400lbs six years ago, it was very important to me. After some time I realized that if setting aside time to be healthy was important to me, then how much more important should spending time with God be to me?

Now here's the thing--there's no magic bullet. There's no special plan or trick. It boils down to a shear act of will. Not an act of will to find time or make time, but an act of will to make it important. Where does spending time with God, with praying, with reading, with working on your own spiritual walk, place as importance to you? If it's not where you think it should be, then work on making it important. When it becomes important then it becomes a priority to make sure you place it first on your to-do list for that day, week, month.

Same thing with health. Do you want to be healthy? How important is that to you? There's no easy answer, there's no magic trick, there's nothing but a shear act of will to make it important. I'm not saying that you can't use programs that are out there, some are very helpful.

In the end, it is a matter of a thought change. How you think of things matters in how you place them in importance of what you do.

Now here comes the easy answer--Pray. Pray that God helps you with making Him important in your life. Pray that God helps you being healthy in your life--physically, emotionally and physically. And then allow God to work in your life. If you're not a believer, try it out anyway and see what happens. But allow God to work if you ask Him for His help.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Being guided

Yesterday morning, as I sat and drank my coffee, I was doing my devotions. That is, I was taking time, reading through the book of Mark in the Bible and then reading through a book with daily thoughts on Scripture called Today ( The small reflection on how to live my life in a way that is good and pleasing to God. It was about living in God's grace found in Jesus. As I have been reading through the Today booklet and through the Book of Mark, I've been reflecting on how I need to live my life and how I HAVE been living my life. In my own personal readings, I've been seeing how I need to strive to be more like Jesus in my day to day living. In the Today booklet, there's advice on how to do this. Not much, just a few words here and there, but enough to be helpful.

When I was done with my devotions, I realized that there was a weightlifting exercise I wanted to take another look at in one of my books. I wasn't sure if I was doing it right and I wanted to also reexamine exactly which muscle groups I was working. I have a book called Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavir which I have found helpful in better understanding how the muscles work and how to do the exercises properly.

And then it hit me. I was doing something similar with exercising as I was doing with my own spiritual walk.

In our spiritual walk, we can't do it alone. We need guidance and direction. In trying to be healthy, we can't do it alone. We need guidance and direction. I was flipping through the Today devotional to see who had written it, two pastors for the months of May and June. Both pastors were had been in the ministry for a number of years. Looking at Strength Training Anatomy, the author is a long time weight lifter, editor of a European lifting magazine and award winning artist.

Guidance and direction in our spiritual journey as well in our journey for better health comes from those who have gone before us. It comes from those who encourage us and lead us and guide us. We need people to help cheer us on and help us know where to go in our spiritual journey.

IN the Book of Hebrews, there's this great section that speaks of a Great Cloud of Witnesses ( This Great Cloud is cheering us on as we keep our eyes upon Jesus, the one who we strive to be like in all that we do.

Who is cheering you on? Who is part of your Great Cloud of Witnesses? What books can you read that will help foster a healthy spiritual walk with God? What books can you read that will help you foster a healthy lifestyle? Who can you talk with to help guide you along your personal spiritual journey?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm not a runner

I remember back in high school and junior high we had to run. A lot. In junior high, we had to run a two mile run once a month. In high school, we had to do a mile and a half once a week. And if we didn't meet a certain time limit, then we lost the grade for that day. Back in high school I was pretty healthy (though I think a lot people say that) but I was highly active. I was walking or biking to school almost every day--a three mile journey one way. But I wasn't a runner. Honestly, I'm not built for running. I have some good friends who are built for running. And they can run. Me? I'm built for lifting heavy things. I'm good at that. I like doing that.

So what does this mean for exercising and being spiritual?

Because I do run. I'm not good at it, but I'm getting better. I really am. I've actually done a mile and a half in 15:45 (this doesn't beat the time limit for back in high school but a lot better than I used to do).

As I've been working on becoming healthier, I've learned that I shouldn't just stick to something I'm built for. In doing my cardio as running verses riding a bike which I like to do I've improved in an area I wasn't as god at. And I've learned something about myself too. I may not be built for it and I may not always be good at it, but I can make a personal best.

I think sometimes in our spiritual walk we don't go past what we think we're gifted in. Sometimes we don't even look at some of the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit gives to us who are in Jesus Christ. We just simply walk along the way thinking "I'm not good at this, I'm not good at that. I'm a better follower than a leader." We can sometimes get stuck in our ways and not allow ourselves to grow spiritually. What I find interesting is the fact that when a child is born, we don't expect them to stay a child. We expect them to grow and try new things, to grow and learn and become who they are mean to be. For those of us in Jesus Christ, we have been reborn through the power of the Holy Spirit, and are expected to grow into who God wants us to be. How can we if we don't step forward and try new things? How can we if we don't listen to the Holy Spirit in moving forward?

Part of our health is following and listening to the Holy Spirit as He guides us in our daily life. Part of that guiding is working on my health physically and maturing spiritually.

Food, Fitness, Faith: Learn and Grow

Food: Don't get stuck on just one type of diet. Try other ways of eating and dieting. It is a lifestyle not a quick fix, allow yourself to grow in understanding what types of foods work best for you to be healthy and fit.

Fitness: Don't always stick to the same exercise routine. Studies have shown that this makes your body actually go into maintenance rather than into weight loss and muscle growth. It can also become boring and even discouraging. Mix it up, see how you can find ways to change what you're doing and see how you react to it.

Faith: Don't get stuck in a spiritual rut. Trust in the Holy Spirit and his guiding. Step forward in faith in trying new things in your faith walk and in reading God's word. Try to find ways to do something new in church or in a bible study or small group.. find new ways to stay true to His Word and learning more about Him and His will for your life.