I didn’t cringe as my blood splattered on the goggles of the cardiac surgeon. He had pre-warned me of the possibility during the meeting prior to my heart catherization. The Geyser- like spurt as he inserted the catheter into the carotid artery, and the swift, rhythmic switch out of the goggles by his nurse seemed normal yet surreal. As the procedure continued my body changed from cool to warm to almost hot, as the dye made its way through the blood vessels in my body to the heart. Finally my body felt on fire, lit up from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. For some the heart cath can leave them squeamish, and perhaps a little sick, but for me there was a certain familiarity, almost security in the warming sensation.
Heart procedures leave you forever changed! I saw the blood splattered goggles again last week, not in surgery but in a dream. In the dream I saw the heart procedure from a fresh new perspective. As the blood splattered surgeon faced me, a scripture verse appeared like on a screen in a power point presentation. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit that is within you? You were bought at a price, therefore; honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
This verse was THE verse and I knew it well. When I began my journey in God’s Holy Word twenty eight years ago, it was the verse which seemed to be my verse. During the dream I asked God, what He wanted me to do with this verse? His response was “teach people how to honor Me by taking care of their bodies. Let them know that I love them so much that I sacrificed My Son, and His body and blood, so they could live. Let them know that their bodies are My Holy Temple and that I reside in them.” God spoke to me and it is my duty to follow His simple plan.
Not long after my first heart catherization 30 years ago, I enjoyed my first experience encountering Jesus. As an acquaintance from my fitness class held my hands and prayed with me a simple prayer, the warming sensation I felt during my catherization returned. The power and security of Jesus Christ has left me forever changed, and His name is written on my heart in bold permanent marker.
The day I met Jesus for the first time, at the Cross-Roads, where faith meets fitness, my life began to have real purpose. I was young, immature, and had little bible knowledge or understanding, but somehow I knew to begin combining my new faith with fitness. I understood keeping our bodies strong and fit would take on a new meaning. This was not a weekend seminar training opportunity, this was God leading me step by step as a Fitness Instructor and turning it into His Kingdom Workout.
This “Kingdom Thinking” was in stark contrast to my fitness time in the 80’s when group fitness was at its pinnacle. I taught fitness classes for six years in Omaha before moving back to my hometown. A typical class would have a hundred students all wearing trendy leg warmers, high cut fitness leotards and headbands. Everyone wanted to look good and show off their fit bodies. Back then I wasn’t any different. That part of fitness hasn’t changed much, but just about everything else has. Fitness has evolved to the point “everyone is now an expert” after just reading a blog, downloading some workouts or going to a one day certification. Of course social media has contributed to this and everyone wants to be a fitness star. It seems the reason for being fit has been swallowed up in self-admiration and narcissism. People post how many miles they have run or how many calories burned while posting pictures of their fit bodies and toned tummies. Huh? Is that what being fit is about, showing others how good we look?
It is wonderful to be pleased with reaching a goal. We should celebrate our victories by encouraging and celebrating victories with others and their successes. It should rarely be “look at me, look at me and look at my body in the land of selfishness.” How does this behavior honor God and does any of this point the victory to Him?
At the Cross-Roads, where faith meets fitness, is a place where few have ventured but the numbers are growing. It is a supernatural selfless place where our time working out becomes a strategic opportunity to become stronger spiritually and physically. The special place, where Faith meets Fitness, is not so concerned about being a certain size or weight, it’s about moving and experiencing God one- on- one each time you exercise. There is no showing off or showing up someone else. We are not exposing our bodies to the public, but instead we are humbly and modestly turning our face to God.
Faith and fitness meeting together strengthens and commits our bodies to the work God has created us to do. Humility and modesty have taken the place of leg warmers and high cut leotards, but the real change is the spiritual surgery Jesus does in our hearts each time we meet together in worship and praise.
Here’s a way you can join us, anywhere. The chair squat strengthens the lower body and all it requires is a chair and you. While exercising meditate on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Repeat as many times as you want.
1. Place a chair just behind you and stand in front of it with feet hip wide.
2. Contract the abs and keep them tight as you bend the knees and slowly squat towards the chair.
3. Keep the knees behind the toes as you sit down on the edge of the chair for a few seconds.
4. Contract the glutes and hamstrings to stand up. Repeat this for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
Shaping our hearts and bodies for God’s purposes is being Shaped by Faith.