Years ago in between pregnancies when I was attempting to regain my physical stamina, I put up a picture in front of my treadmill that I could focus on for inspiration. It was a picture of me from my bachelorette party climbing a rock wall at Dick’s Sporting Goods. It was a day I remember well (and a weight I remember well, too). It was a dare, you know, from the ladies in attendance, to see if I could actually climb. I had never done it before, and I didn’t make it all the way to the top. I climbed higher than I expected to, however, and that was enough for me—that day, anyway.
Yesterday I pulled out that same picture and set it beside my treadmill yet again. Not just for inspiration this time, but as a determined purpose. I’m going to climb that wall all the way to the top if it’s the last thing I do! I also posted a picture of me in my wedding dress in my direct eyeline in front of my treadmill to focus in on my goal to reach my wedding weight by my fortieth birthday. And I’m pulling out all the stops to get there. With my family, my dietician and my personal trainer all behind me, it’s a purpose I take seriously and a goal I will surely accomplish, along with the all-elusive half-marathon. Yesterday I also ran a mile and a half for the first time in almost four years. Up until then, I had just been doing walk-run 2-minute intervals. Once, I had tried 4-minutes intervals, but that led to serious hip pain. So to run more than a mile without pain was monumental, and one step closer to my goal. Tonight I trained with my personal trainer again as well as ran a mile.
This past weekend I attended a Gospel Coaching training for the first time. We learned a specific method of coaching others who are intentional about achieving their goals, whether they be relational, personal, missional or spiritual goals. While I identified twelve possible areas of growth for myself, I narrowed down one specific missional goal inspired by my personal physical fitness goals as described above. That goal is to provide my children with nutritional and spiritual foundations by way of at least one healthy meal per day focused on meeting their physical needs while incorporating Christ-centered family fellowship and devotional time (where the whole family is present).
Having these expressed goals could easily lead to me being the hero of my own story. I could muscle through each day attempting to reach all of these goals and probably making decent headway. But what God has impressed upon me this week is that He needs to be the hero here, not me.
O Lord, I know that the path of [life of] a man is not in himself; it is not within [the limited ability of] man [even one at his best] to choose and direct his steps [in life]. (Jeremiah 10:23 AMP)
I turned my life over to God some time ago, and my steps are no longer meant to be determined by me. Depending on myself is called “survival.” The Lord wants to bring me higher to a point of thriving, where I don’t struggle to achieve but rest in His power. He sees my desire to be intentional about my life now, rather than muddling through it. And I believe He will honor that intentionality by providing the strength I need to reach these goals because He has helped me identify them and because I believe they are pleasing to Him. I am going to choose Life because He is my Life:
…You shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding closely to Him; for He is your life [your good life, your abundant life, your fulfillment] and the length of your days… (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 AMP)
By God’s hand, my determined purpose is not just to choose life for myself but for my descendants also through love for and obedience of the One who is Life itself. Together we will intentionally hold closely to Him to find the fulfillment of His ordained will.