Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Turn a Healthy Discipline into a Holy Desire

I often coach my classes and clients reminding them that they are in control of their body, and they tell their body what to do — their body doesn't rule them.

Here I'm summarizing the 5 zone heart rate interval training program at Orange Theory Fitness. 

While most of the time, I'm emphasizing proper form and hoping that my instruction will remind them to keep their back straight and head up in a dead lift, my statement has a two-fold meaning. Your will determines how you live your life, and your willingness to change your body begins in the mind.

God gives us free will ... the power to choose. In everything we do, whether we realize it or not, we are making a choice. Some choices we make out of habit and others we take more time to consider our options.

The choice to wake up at 5 a.m., and work out may not be something I feel like doing, but I make the choice to do so (or sometimes I do) out of discipline, because I trust it will not be done in vain but rather done as an investment in the future of my physical body. What I've discovered about my physical disciplines, is that the more I connect it to my spiritual disciplines, the more blessed I am.

I think clearer. I feel deeper. I rest easier. I receive wisdom. I literally glow — or so I've been told.

In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us how to open up our heart and mind to the power of the Holy Spirit, so that our will mimics his for our life. He tells us to speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, urging us to discipline ourselves to live in worship. This passage struck a chord with me ...

Fitness is widely agreed to be a physical application of discipline, but worship? I've never thought of worship as something I might discipline myself to do. When I worship God, I usually do so because I feel like it. But what about when I don't feel like it?

We must instruct ourselves to humbly worship and tell our soul to not grow weary.

Even when we feel tired and frustrated and restless and anxious, if we lean on God's promises and choose to discipline ourselves both physically and spiritually, his word is always fruitful. He is always faithful.

We don't always feel like working out or eating healthy. But, just because you don't feel like it, it doesn't mean it's acceptable to to not do it. What if we always did what we felt like? I feel like our society would look a lot more like the one in The Purge. ... Not so pretty.

Here I'm giving a cooking demo on how to use whey protein in simple recipes.

Living the healthy way may not be your first choice according to your flesh. Shoot, when it comes to my flesh, my first choice usually involves sugar and frosting and a braid-shaped roll.

Do it out of discipline at first and soon enough, it will become your desire.

Just like we must learn to make habits out of healthy eating and exercise, we must learn to make habits out of worship. We expect to get stronger after choosing to work harder in the gym, and we should expect to get stronger when we choose to humble our hearts and worship God.

It may not be your first choice to put everything else on hold and praise God, especially when circumstances have you confused or even angry with Him. But your spirit controls your mind and your body. You tell it what to do. Command it to worship. Command it to grow. If you do it out of discipline at first, God has a way of shaping it into your desire.

Practical Tips for Physical & Spiritual Disciplines

  • Spend five minutes in the morning praising God and claiming his victories in your life.
  • Jot down 5-10 foods that trigger you to lose self-control and toss them out of the house.
  • Organize your closet and/or drawers, so that your workout clothes are near the front.
  • Make one small change to your nutrition a week (i.e. eating breakfast consistently).
  • When you catch yourself getting stressed, stop and vent to God before venting to anyone else.
  • Instead of immediately giving into a food craving, tell yourself you will wait until the next day before eating it, and if you wake up still wanting it, you will allow yourself to have it. Most of the time, you wake up and the craving is not near as strong.
  • Make appointments to work out with someone who positively influences your attitude.
  • Keep yourself accountable by telling people when you're going to exercise and what your goals are.
  • Download the Bible app and listen to the audio version while lifting weights.
  • Make a playlist of worship songs with a high tempo and beat.
My hope is that my stories inspire you to press on with your own story, and that my heart song plays loud enough that you know that this journey keeps us all engaged at our own level. None of us ever reaches the end because that would indicate we could reach our full potential. I believe our God is consistently sparking a light in us that may waver in the wind but never, ever burns out. We are constantly growing in Christ and deepening our relationship with him. 

My prayer is that you find how to write your heart song of worship in a way that speaks to your passions and your hobbies, as well as a place that gives you a desire to worship the Lord with your body, and get fit from the inside out. 

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes atRob's FitnessGranite Park or Orange Theory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.

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