Planning my next fitness class is a precise process. Each exercise is prayerfully and thoughtfully considered, with special emphasis placed on challenging and inspiring the students. Once I have established what the class will look like, my attention turns to preparing large note sheets to review during class. These note sheets serve as my teleprompter during the warm up and keeps everything running on the smooth and steady. Many years ago, when I was a newbie fitness instructor, my supervisors were strict and no notes were allowed. Thank goodness times have changed for the better. Following the written plan steadies the pace of the class which benefits both instructor and students. My classes now run precisely, punctually and without deviation, like a well-oiled machine.
During one particular class, with at least forty ladies eagerly waiting for a terrific workout, my plans were about to change. As the warm up started and I looked down at my notes, I discerned God had a different plan for the class. With both my listening and the warm up continuing, it was with unmistakable clarity God had chosen a different direction for the class. Instead of ignoring God and going ahead with my well-laid plans, I chose to put my plans aside and enjoy the even better plans God had in store for us that day.
My husband loves to tell the story of the Preacher and the Sunday morning church bulletin. In the story the preacher had to change the Sunday morning schedule of events at the last minute, for an announcement, and one of the songs had to be skipped due to time constraints. Evidently the church had not deviated from the church bulletin for twenty years. Needless to say, the congregation was so distracted by the change they could not focus on the preacher’s sermon. The mumbling and crumbling so distracted the preacher he forgot the important message he was to announce to the congregation. Ironically, the sign in front of the church that day read, “Today’s sermon: Be ready to change for God.”
With my plans laid in front of me on the floor, I converted my body and mind to God’s plan; kick boxing. Since 2010, and my knee injury, I had intentionally avoided teaching a full class of kick boxing. While with most things I go full throttle, I thought it foolish to jeopardize re-injuring my knee teaching a full class of kick boxing. In retrospect, I may have been lacking faith that God had really healed my knee. But in obedience and faith, we began to bob and weave and cross jab. Soon the class was super charged as we held our positions and continued with plenty of hooks, upper cuts and cross jabs. Jumping jacks, jumping rope and jumping side to side were also included. God’s plan was tough as He included a fair share of front, side and back kicks. We even did three sets of sixty reverse lunge kicks. Looking up at the clock, forty five minutes had breezed by. I could not believe we had not even touched a set of weights, tubing or kettle bells, and yet, my heart rate was soaring higher than most classes.
God wasn’t done with us yet. Drenched in sweat, we spent the last fifteen minutes using the equipment laid out for the previous workout plan. We spent the time lifting weights and focusing on the core muscles. At the end of class, my heart rate monitor declared a new personal record for calories burned. As I stared down on my sweat soaked notes, I smiled and thanked God for His change of plans. What a blessing He prepared for me and the class!
God’s ways are so much better than our ways. This is a simple statement to say but so challenging to live by. My personality likes to be in control, the well-oiled machine, with plans setup weeks, months or even years in advance. God says day to day is the best way. Since I want to be in His will, and I want His plans to prevail, I better be flexible and adjustable to His changes.
For me, I had to learn to put aside my pride and walk in humility. This has been an ongoing transformation and years in the making. God’s word tells us in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” His word also says in 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time.” Walking in humility is more challenging than any kick boxing or fitness class you will ever experience. In fact, it is more challenging than any physical experience you will attempt. But once you surrender your pride to God, He will unleash immeasurable power and strength within you. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Humility moves the heart of God as we humble ourselves before Him.
Pride is a puffed up barrier that separates you and me from God’s best and walking in His anointing. Pride shuts our ears and hearts from others, and most of all, from God. When we are full of pride we do what we want, when and how we want to do it. The prideful often are micro-managers with all the answers. We can reason to ourselves that because of our many life experiences, education or position, “It’s my way or the highway.” We can become so full of ourselves there’s no room for God. That can be a hazardous condition usually followed with a fall. God is my only micro-manager, and even He leaves things to choice.
When humbled before the Lord, we are willing to walk out whatever Father God has for us to do. When we are driven by the Holy Spirit, bad circumstances, fear of people and misfortune cannot impact the act of obedience we demonstrate to God. In His anointing we are empowered to do what God wants us to do on earth as it is in heaven. We experience His kingdom come His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. His authority reigns in us as we walk in His anointing. We can overcome this world by His power and authority. Jesus tells us in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.” Saying “Yes God” and being willing to allow Him to change what is hindering us from His plans and purposes, changes the world.
Theresa Rowe is a faith-based wellness coach for Owensboro Christian Church, author, motivational speaker and radio guest on 94.7 WBIO and 1490 WOMI with Joe Lowe each Friday morning. She is also a writer for Christian Military Wives Magazine, Wives in Bloom and Fit Christian Magazine. Visit her online atwww.shapedbyfaith.com.