A Pastor’s Journey In Physical Fitness
Hacking weight-loss seemed like only a dream that others got to experience. I was 300 lbs. Further compounding matters, I am only 5’7″ inches tall, which means I was a dead-man walking.
As I was driving home from a family vacation in early August 2018, my mind was fighting with itself once again.
There was a battle against the self-condemnation and self-loathing that lobbed stones at any hope for change. Those stones were from 5 painful moments over the past 5 years in struggling to pass kidney stones. This culminated in the fall of 2017 with a surgery, because I had a stone the size of pocket change in my kidney. That one was not passing naturally!
However, it had been 9 months since the surgery. Once the pain of recovery ended, so did my aspirations to change. During this drive home from vacation, it felt like a long road of self-torture, as I tried to answer- “How did this all go so wrong?”
I have been a business leader with 13 years of experience in leading teams successfully. Also, I been blessed to serve as a non-profit leader with over 12 years of experience, which includes being a pastor and biblical counselor.
In my vocation, God has taught me to demonstrate consistent leadership, be strategic keeping vision-mission-and the plan before you, invest in team development and group goals to achieve results, and express a passion to live out my faith in Jesus Christ.
God indeed does change lives through the outworking of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as I have seen in individuals & marriages, families & communities, and vocations & church ministry. These years of leadership have been a privilege to work with so many people from diverse backgrounds.
The answer to hacking weight-loss came to me, while I was alone in my home library. I was searching the Bible for answers. God did not redeem me from the brokenness of my life (Ephesians 2:1-10) and teach me so many things about Himself and life to just die in a self-induced depression.
I just could not accept that God’s good work that He began in me (Philippians 1:6), which inspired me to purposefully serve as a pastor and counselor to help others would end so aimlessly. As I kept reading through Philippians, I came to chapter 4:9- “what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
I almost fell off my chair, so stay with me to see how the answer to hacking weight-loss came together for me.
Yes, God has called me as a pastor and biblical counselor to help others. However, the strength of my pastoral care is rooted in the personal example of God’s power to complete the work He began in me. In Philippians 4:9, the Bible said “practice these things”- what things? The things that I have learned and observed in those Christian men that are my mentors, which have genuinely shown fruit in their life.
The hack to weight-loss was taking on definition: I must extend my redemptive relationship with God and His gospel truth into all areas of my life.
I was compartmentalizing my health by choosing to put all my time into vocation and family. The result was to convince myself that I was being sacrificial and caring more for others.
However, over the years, I believed a lie that God was only concerned with my soul and not my body. This lie warped my understanding of God’s perspective on living today and overlooked His restorative care in all areas of the brokenness of my life- which includes my health.
The Bible says, “by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice…which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).” My total person (body and soul) is to be consecrated in authentic awe of God. This means that my physical fitness can be an expression in worship of God, if my intent is to honor God with my body.
The Bible goes on to say to the Christian, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1Corinthians 6:19-20).”My physical fitness can be an expression in worship of God, if my intent is to honor God with my body. Click To Tweet
Therefore, as a Christian, this is the hack I discovered to weight-loss: I need to continually live in consecration of my total person to God and allow my active worship of God to motivate my physical fitness, so that God is honored all areas of my life. (Romans 12:1)
This hack for weight-loss extends motivation beyond a fad diet or new years resolution. It is rooted in something eternal- my relationship with Jesus Christ. By uncompartmentalizing my life, I can now experience freedom from that depresive bondage, which sought to destroy my hope. I can now live as God designed life to be experienced.
Okay, so what was the next best step I could take? I wanted to see this principle in action. So, my computer pulled up a google search about Faith RXD. Becky Conzelman was being interviewed about her pursuit of faith and fitness. She has a powerful life testimony that you need to watch.
CrossFit was not completely new to me. A friend of mine, who was a pastor, had taken a similar journey. He had been going to a fitness studio that included CrossFit. I could see how this had a big impact on his life, so much so that he has run in multiple Tough Mudder races.
Also, I remembered overhearing a fellow student at Heritage Seminary talking about his experience with CrossFit.
Okay, so I have the Biblical direction from God and testimony from others, now I searched for a CrossFit box near me.
There were a bunch of locations with various pricing and offerings. On the list was CrossFit Elgin, I scanned to see who the coaches were and recognized the guy from Seminary. Long story short, Rhys got me into the CrossFit box on August 17, 2018 at 7am.
Since that day in August, I set a goal for myself to loose 100 lbs, and broke this down in 3 stages of weight-loss (34 lbs, 33 lbs, 33 lbs). This was a big challenge.
However, I believed in truth that changed my inspiration, since it connected my relationship with God and purposeful worship of Him.
January 15, 2018 is when I hit my first progress marker loosing 34 lbs, which means my new weight is 266!
The hack of weight-loss that I have shared has provided a strong foundation, which ultimately used those painful kidney stones to build a cumulative positive result.
The most amazing benefit is that I am walking more authentically in my Christian life with God, which has empowered how I respond to the unknown and unknowable of each day. I know better today what the Bible means in saying, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).”
In future posts, I will be expanding on my experiences and learnings that have changed my life. My prayer is that they will inspire and encourage you in your journey to total fitness in body & soul.
This is the 1st Blog in the series #Hacking Weight-Loss, “A Pastors Journey In Physical Fitness.” To read the next blog in the series, click here.