New beginnings… how many times have we heard that? And, how many times have we lived it? I’m a born again believer, I am a new creation in God’s eyes, but I have been born again in other ways as well. I had an unexpected life change over a year ago that rocked my spiritual, family, and social world. I’ve heard Pastor Rick tell us so many times…if you’re not in a crisis, you’re just around the corner from one! Why is he always right?
Needless to say, life changed for me. But with faith, I embraced the change and took it head on. Where was I to land spiritually? I did not know, but I knew I had to stay close to God. How was I to do that? Who would I meet? Where would I get plugged in? I can recall back to a very dark day for me, where I felt the Spirit telling me that the vessel God made of me was no longer to be in my control. He was breaking it down against my stubborn will, for my own good. He was about to make a new creation, something adorned in His fashion, that would somehow inspire others. No, I wasn’t going to become a preacher, but I would lead others in some way, shape, or form… the shape and form I wanted to change so desperately! That’s where I would start!
I felt insecure, frumpy, overweight, unattractive, low on energy, wait, these were all negatives and they couldn’t be coming from Him. I was turning 40 years old and wasn’t about to go through a mid-life crisis…I wanted a mid-life change for the better! That’s just God’s way. The Daniel Plan had kicked off. There must be something in that I could pour myself into. I had tried going to the gym, exercising at home, but all felt futile, lacked excitement, and lost my interest. I wished there was something I could do at church - something with variety, where other children of God were trying to improve themselves, in a safe, friendly environment and boy oh boy did I find it!
Apparently, Billy Blanks had visited Saddleback the day The Daniel Plan was revealed and through that encounter a Tae-Boxing class was started Thursday night. Wait, another one was there too, a P90X boot camp Saturday mornings, led by some guy who was on the video workouts. Could this be possible? At Church? I had to check it out.
January 2012 I embarked on the life change I had so desperately been seeking. I committed myself to this. How was I to commit you ask? Well, this body is not my own, I am a steward, and this is that temple of His Spirit, the one He told me he would re-fashion. I had to listen at that point. I had to embrace it, and I knew deep down that this would impact my life in more ways than I could imagine.
Classes began, and I felt awkward at first, but everyone was so friendly. There were no people comparing, sneering, pompous or rude, no arrogance, show-offs; just godly people doing the same thing I was - looking to improve the temple. I found a new home!
The classes are impacting my life in tremendous ways. Not only have I improved my health, but I’ve made friends, encouraged others, and even participated in the filming of an exercise video!
Here are some stats. I started at 192 pounds with 18% body fat, and now I am 162 pounds, lean, with near 9% body fat, in the best shape of my life, full of energy, with a huge smile on my face, encouraging others, and making an impact on my son. My son by the way never saw me as the father and man I was called to be. I can’t tell you how great it is to stand in the mirror with your teenage son and compare veins and muscles. He’s even asked to have me flex so he could take a picture of my arm. Women, you may find that odd or silly, but you men know exactly what I’m talking about. I am a leader of my family in more ways than ever before.
Who do I owe this to? Well, God of course. I can’t thank Him enough, and who He placed in my path - Tony Lattimore who’s encouragement, energy, and charisma gets me up every Saturday morning with Saddleback’s P90X Boot Camp, Jennifer Ralphs who’s Cross-Fit class strengthened my core, pushed me beyond my limits, and created a leader in me, and now Cardio Kickboxing class every Thursday night. There’s even Zumba and other classes!
What an amazing place we have as our Church home, and what amazing people who lead, participate, grow, and encourage; this is community at its best.
I never wanted the change and rejection I experienced, but I can now completely and honestly thank God for every part of it. The cliché is true. God’s rejection is God’s protection. Thank you Jesus!