“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with the joy of your presence, with eternal pleasures of your right hand.” (Romans 15:13)
I distinctly remember the moment I ignored God. Where God was trying to show me my “path of life” but i ignored Him. Subsequently, I was not “filled with the joy of God’s presence” but rather felt a painful emptiness that ensued for the following several months.
I had just received my nutrition certification and was absolutely in love with the gym I worked at part-time called Bodies by Perseverance in Denver, CO.
This gym is known for it’s hardcore, family-centered, Faith and integrity-based, butt whoopins’. People that walk into that gym are ready. to. work. I absolutely loved every minute I spent in that gym. I loved the people that pushed me. I loved the pain I felt from doing things with my body had never done before. I loved the feeling of pushing myself to my limits, time and time again. It kept me looking for more and more my body could do. It was intoxicating!
Naturally, because of the intensity of this gym and the owners, Courtney and Jennifer Samuel’s incredible training technique, it became a place where a lot of members would engage and decide to do Body Building competitions. Being surrounded by people going all out for their body was inspiring. But, I witnessed the highs and the lows of that training.
I was asked if I was interested in competing in a show for about 1.5-2 years, always saying “No, it wasn’t for me” simply because I saw the crazy moods and obsessive nature that each client (notably the females) would endure. However, I also saw their incredible bodies when they were there on stage, and I have to admit, I was envious.
When I finally got my nutrition certification, I was feeling very under qualified. I knew I passed the test, but did not think I had the chops to actually give anyone any nutritional advice. Forget that I had a degree in Biology and a passion for science and body understanding. Forget that I obsessively read health magazine and online resource and anything I could get my hands on that spoke about food and nutrition! Forget that I had already been helping clients lose weight! I was clearly qualified and clearly had a ton of knowledge, but I was still feeling insecure.
Because of that insecurity, I rationalized that I should do the enviable “Bikini Competition” so I could “test myself” on the nutrition it takes to get really lean.
So on a whim, I made my announcement to my trainers and my friends at the gym that I was going to “finally do a show” and everyone was thrilled for me! My training would start immediately.
Then it happened.
I was standing in the middle of all the equipment. Quietly it was dawning on me the amount of hours I had just committed myself to and the insurmountable tasks I had just pledged myself. Then, I heard it within:
“You don’t have to do this Mandi.”
I knew it was God speaking through my inner voice. I can always tell that it’s God because of how loving it is to me. My own self-talk is always much more self critical and often is pushing me to do “more” and “try harder” at everything.
So I had a decision to make– listen to this Divine inner voice or follow-through with my plan.
I mentioned in an article last week, that one of the natural Core Values I’ve lived by is Integrity. Integrity is a very good quality and I do feel blessed that I have it as a natural value and tendency.
However, in times like this, it did not serve my decision making very well. You see, because I had made my “grand announcement” to everyone that I was going to do a competition——remember, on a whim and out of insecurity—-I was going to follow-through with what I said I was going to do.
That is the problem with Integrity sometimes. Sometimes you say things you shouldn’t say; you commit to things you shouldn’t commit to; you sign up for outlandish tasks that are taking you away from the path you should be going. But because you said you were going to do it, you follow-through, right on down to your own detriment.
I’ve shared what happens in this story. My story didn’t turn out as I had hoped and my body suffered some severe consequences I’m still dealing with to this day. Instead of being able to put myself on a “healthier competition diet”, I wound up resorting to whatever extreme tactics were necessary to get the results I needed. Instead of easing myself back into regular eating post-show, I wound up getting swept up in the excitement of a new relationship and engagement and moving my entire world to California —celebrating with wine and every carb in site on the way there, of course!
The style of training and eating for 5-months became very detrimental to the way I thought about myself (being WISE’her) and my strength of Spirit (my ability to SURREND’her). Because I was only focused on my BODY, I had no time to build the strength of my mind or spirit. I was consumed with my body and deeply riddled with even more insecurity than ever before. In spite of being the leanest I WILL EVER BE, I was only mildly happy with how I looked. I know you might be reading this and frustrated that I could ever possibly say that, but it is the truth.
My body was not meant to be that lean. There are just some body’s that can lean up pretty easily and mine is not one of them. This took a trememdous amount of work and discipline to lose this much body fat and I wasn’t enjoying seeing what I was seeing. The moment you start seeing your ribs show and your breast bones poking through your chest, you know you’ve gone too far. But I wasn’t going to give up at that point…not after all that work I was putting into it.
Before I ruffle too many people’s feathers (including many friends that I love dearly) who have done shows or are planning to do a show, I know this story sounds like I’m bagging on doing competitions or doing anything that pushes your body to it’s limits. Let me be very clear, I am absolutely NOT saying that.
I wholeheartedly believe in pushing your body. To stepping out of your comfort zone. To proving to yourself that you CAN do anything, and I mean ANYTHING! That is the blessing that I DID get from doing this show.
God DID give me PURPOSE from this decision.
This is experience did offer me a beautiful metaphor of life. I showed myself my own commitment, my determination, my perseverance and my strength.
This show also still serves me an incredible amount of hard earned lessons that I am privileged enough to share on this forum.
I would not go back and change what I did because it would not lead me to the wisdom I have now.
That is the beauty of God’s grace, His unfailing love, and His mercy. He will continue to give us Purpose behind every mistake. He can RIGHT any wrong. He will give us 2nd chance after 2nd chance after 2nd chance. He has more capacity for Love than we can ever believe because our simple human minds cannot fathom it. Yet, we receive it sill.
While I will humbly accept the PURPOSE He will give me from my disobedience and painful repercussions, I do not confuse that with the GREATER PURPOSE that He has set out before me.
Following Him to my GREATER PURPOSE would have meant that I would have listened to that voice in my heart that told me I didn’t have to do the show.
I had a choice:
Choose MY WAY= fear-based path that was bred out of insecurity and not feeling “qualified” enough
Choose GOD’s GREATER PURPOSE= faith-based path which would have required listening for God’s guidance in Faith, Hope and Optimistic Waiting. Knowing God would bless my path if I chose to obey His words.
I was not Spiritually strong enough to make the decision to God’s Greater Purpose for my life, but God gave me Purpose from it anyway!
Being able to recognize this now is an incredible gift that I thank God for every day.
FINDING YOUR GREATER PURPOSE:
I would like my story to serve as an opportunity for you to see and reflect on some of the goals you are making for yourself RIGHT NOW.
I would like to open up the discussion of what our Greater Purpose IS so it might serve as a reminder for you to look for that when deciding on your goals.
Starting to look at your life from the perspective of your Greater Purpose allows all of your short-term and long-term goals to be much easier to actually accomplish.
Whenever I start working with clients, I know it is always so tempting tempting for them to create some super challenging, lofty goals. Many question whether they should do a competition, run a marathon, do a photoshoot in a bikini.
I see the same things out of many people that are aspiring and chasing the same type of goals on social media. I am so thrilled to see so many strong and courageous women push themselves to greater versions of themselves. They might just be finding their own Greater Purpose in their journey!
But I want to also caution all of my friends and family that if you are chasing after some dream for ANY OTHER REASON than God telling you to go and do it, then I’m afraid you are going to suffer some of the same consequences of your decision just as I did from mine.
- If your goal is laced in fear;
- If your goal is motivated by insecurity;
- If your goal is to try to make you feel more “worthy” of somethig (i.e a boyfriend or husband);
- If your goal is based in guilt or shame in how you look;
- If your goal is based out of envy or comparing your body or your life to others;
- If you think that by achieving your goal you will become happier……
then there is more work to be done than just a diet and an exercise routine &
there is more to be achieved than to just see some weight drop from the scale and some body fat shed from your frame.
Everyone of those goals I listed above is a goal that is swarming in your own path. These emotions are NOT from GOD and they are not signs that you are on the Path to your Greater Purpose.
There is another way to challenge yourself and to push yourself without having to take your health too far. There is a way to push your body without causing detriment to your MIND and SOUL with it.
You can SURREND’her yourself to your Greater Purpose and become truly STRONG’her and WISE’her.
So this week, we’re going to talk more about Greater Purpose, finding your Calling, trusting God and Choosing FAITH and not FEAR.
It’s gonna be AMAZING!!!