Physical fitness became a huge part of my life when I started teaching group exercise classes 19 years ago – I was 6, lol. Helping people set goals and encouraging them in weight training, fitness competitions running programs, etc. has been very rewarding. I’ve seen many overcome weakness, frustration, pain, injuries & the desire to just quit! I’ve always found joy in their joy and desired to be a healthy role model. But good physical health can result in unhealthy desires like making exercise an idol, seeking approval of others and being a people pleaser. I’ve learned that God wants more for me than just physical health & helping others become physically healthier. The Lord has been working on my spiritual health. He has called me to find joy in Him and to find joy in helping others know Him. He has called me to be bold & share the gospel, to disciple new believers & to encourage others. He has taught me so many things!
Spending time with Him daily is the most important lesson I’ve learned. Each morning, before anyone gets out of bed (and with lots of coffee), I come to Him asking Him to shape my day. I’m a bit of a control freak, so this is a request I make each day. And that’s all I ask for, just enough for THAT day. During a bible study, Beth Moore taught me about the Israelite’s journey through the desert and their reliance on God. In Exodus 16, the Israelites see the glory of God through manna, a heavenly bread, that He provided each day. They were told to gather the bread each morning and to only gather enough for that day.
There was no excess, no shortage, it was just the right amount (vs 18). They could not store it up for future use, only on the 6th day, since the 7th day was the Sabbath. In verse 20, we learn that the bread would be full of maggots & begin to smell if they kept it for more than that day. But they couldn’t just sit in their tents & wait for the manna to magically appear. They had to go out of their tents to gather it. Each day, we have an opportunity to seek Him, take in His Word and be still in His presence. We can’t just sit in our tent and wait, we must go to Him. We must gather His Word just like the Israelites gathered the manna each day. We cannot be prompted by the Holy Spirit if we are not spending time with Him! God was teaching the Israelites that He would meet their physical and spiritual needs, but they had a part in it.
“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3
When life gets busy, my quiet time can get pushed to the back burner. There are mornings when I’d rather sleep in, watch TV or sift through social media, but I’ve learned that Satan is clever & he is always trying to take away my precious quiet time. It is a spiritual discipline that takes effort and through Christ, it is doable. The cumulative impact of a spiritual discipline is a lot like that of a physical discipline, i.e. cardiovascular exercise, weight training, etc. If you miss one workout, it doesn’t have much of an impact, but it starts a trend that is hard to reverse. The same is true with spiritual disciplines. One day turns into two & then a week turns into a month and just like The Israelites couldn’t store up manna for future days, I can’t expect my quiet times from two weeks ago to sustain me. It’s in those times that my temper becomes short, my words are not loving & my attitude starts to smell, just like the maggot-infested manna.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
I cannot help others with their spiritual health if I am not abiding in Him! I still find joy in helping others reach their physical health goals, but I find even greater joy in witnessing their spiritual health improvements! I pray that God will use me to build His kingdom & that my actions would honor & glorify Him.
I have been married to my amazing, Godly husband, Joe, for 16 years and we have two awesome girls, Lena, 11 & Maddie, 9. I work part-time at Springdale Community Church as a Ministry Assistant and teach group fitness classes at the Norton Commons YMCA. I love spending time with my family, watching my girls play soccer & reading. I enjoy leading the springdale kids in worship and leading a life group with Joe. My passion is to have a deeper understanding of God’s word and to help others fall in love with their heavenly father.