Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Foot In Front of the Other

So...many of you may or may not know that as of about a month ago I began a journey. It all began as trip with a planned destination, filled with fanciful mental images of what it will be like when I one day arrive at said destination. But then I realized that this "glowing journey" is more like a grunt of a road trip down the back dirt roads in a convertible.

Yes, such would describe the "journey" I began in order to break through my weight loss plateau- ok who am I kidding- gain, and sculpt my body into something that it is bound and determined not to be after 3 pregnancies and years of lethargy.

Over the years, I have Tae-Boed, Power 90ed, Karated, Slim in Sixed, Booty Camped, Turbo-Jammed my body and yet I still have thighs that one of which is the size of most teenage girls' waists and a stomach that defines the phrase "this is how I roll." And yes, I can still hear my underarm flab slap up against my sides when I make sudden movements. Eww. Yes, I know.

That was when I didn't know Jack.

No seriously...Jack is the name of my trainer, now. And my fat is his sworn enemy...and I am so not kidding. Oddly enough, I am thankful for that- even though his inventions of torture have brought me to my knees before the porcelin god(once, ok once!)

Quitting is not an option with Jack. Pausing momentarliy, maybe, quitting- no. He quietly, yet firmly and confidently tells me where to start, where to finish each round, each set and tells me I can even when all of me is screaming "NO! FAT GIRL CANNOT!" And he even pretends not to be scared as I walk about with hair distrewn, red-faced, sweat pouring, mascara smeared from one ear to the other. He tolerates my hollering through that last set, quoting verses through that last round on the bag, and all the other crazy stuff I do. He just says, "Awesome!" And I believe him. Why? Because I know he has the knowledge I need. He's got the map. He is the GPS for my road trip to my body destination of heatth and fitness. He doesn't want me to quit the trip because he knows that the destination exists and I will be better and stronger for traveling there.

From where I stand right now, it really does seem improbable, yes, even impossible that what I see in the mirror could ever be even remotely close to arriving at that fanciful destination in my head. There are days when I have felt like I know I made the right turn, I know that I am traveling down the right road, but things just don't look the way I thought they would and I am confused and tired and frustrated. The road is rough, the car is sputtering, blubbering on its way.

I even stop and ponder turning around and heading home.

But then I remember I want to see this place I have never been before-I mean there have been times I thought I was there, but really, I had not taken a valid journey, I had not experienced the road trip. I tried short cuts that were quicker but that left me weak, weary and scarred...I had arrived at a mirage in the desert. I was not smarter, I was not stronger, I was not trained.

Smarter. Stronger. Experienced. Envigorated. Empowered. TRAINED.

Spiritual sculpting, spiritual growth is a lot like that.

The journey isn't separate from the arrival, the journey is the beginning of the arrival!(wow- I just re-read that...You go Holy Spirit!)

I have had many ideas about how to try to get where I know I need to go in my relationship with God, but I don't have the map. I have Beth Moored, Stormie O'Martianed, Women of Faithed, Through the Bible in a Yeared, Church Programmed, Church Attended, my spirit and yet, still had a flabby core. I didn't go to the One first who knew the exact road map that would bring about a fresh growth in my spirit, the GPS that would draw me closer to the Father.
He quietly and confidently tells me where to start and finish each day...tells me I can even when my spirit cries out, "No! No! No! I cannot!"
He tolerates my distrewn life, my red faced frustration, my sweat and tears pouring, the mess of my life smeared from one place to another.
He just says, "Awesome! Bring it all."
And I believe Him.
Matthew 11:30 (The Message)
28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

No more short cuts. I want to EXPERIENCE the journey with my Lord. I want to be trained, no matter what I look like right now...all that matters is I choose to begin the journey...because that's the first step toward arrival.

SO...I guess I have begun to arrive at a skinnier, more sculpted, but most importantly healthier self. At least the vague definition in my biceps and shoulders are telling me so...along with the soreness in my hamstrings.

As for my spirit, definitely could use a weight gain there- always- and praying that the fat chubby flesh is starved a little more every day.
"He must increase, I must decrease." John 3:30.
Good motto for body and spirit, I say.

I know for sure the Holy Spirit's got my back...and now...as for the physical part...
...well, now I know Jack.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Most

Having a parent that travels a good bit can be disheartening for a kid, but, as some of you may know from first hand experience, it can also have its perks. For instance, when my dad went to the Southern Baptist convention in Texas when I was 8, I ended up getting my ears pierced 5 years earlier than my sister because I was so "distraught" over his leaving(insert evil, manipulative laugh here....sorry Shay.) Though no where near as fantastic as my earring victory, yet still excitedly received, "surprises" from parental travel are one of those things kids just love, and I suppose, to some degree, help them get through that time of physical separation. As a parent myself, I now realize what a true delight it is to choose and give these prizes to my little ones.

While Jarrett and I were recently at a Youth Minister's conference, I called on a lunch break to check on the kids and also to get a hint of what type of prize they might would like. I happened to call as my mom was getting the kids out of school early, so they were in the school office going through dismissal procedures. My oldest, Alex(now 10!), was handed the phone first and I asked him if he would like for me to bring him a surprise. The reply was of course, yes, but, realizing that he was in the office with others' ears available to hear, he was aloof and rather unengaged in the rest of the conversation. I asked him what specifically he would like, such as a stuffed animal? a football? He responded only with a "Yes, yes, uh-huh, ok" and a few unspoken "whatever, Mama" 's. Needless to say, he was none too slow in handing the phone off to Jonathan.
After our hellos, I asked Jonathan the same question, "Do you want Mama to bring you a surprise?" His response was a genuine gasp and ,"Really? Yes!" I proceeded to ask him what exactly did he think he might want, but only got, "Ummmm..." after asking several times. I probed a final time for an answer waiting anxiously to hear in the noisy mall standing near Chic-Fil-A, cell phone to one ear, with the other ear plugged, "Jonathan, what do you think you might like for Mama to bring you?"

"Well", he stretched out, "You, the most."

My heart flipped, danced and jumped in my throat all at once as I stuttered through welling tears to make sure I had heard correctly, "Wha-what did you say buddy?"
"You, the most, Mama." he replied.

I am crying even now as I write this, yes because of the precious gift of a "Mama Moment" that Jonathan gave me, but more than that, because I caught a glimpse into my Father's heart.
The Holy Spirit whispered instantly into my spirit that day and said, "That's it. THAT is what I want to hear my children say more than anything else: I want You the MOST, Daddy. I love to give you gifts, pour out my blessings- I made you to want those things, I am the Creator of desire. So go ahead and have hopes and dreams and wants...but just want ME the MOST."

A statement by a 7 year old little boy had not only taken me to my knees as a Mama, but also to my knees as a child of God.

I realize that there is so much more to the Giver than any gift, any provision I could ever want from Him. So I just want to live my life wanting Him first, wanting Him most- no matter who is listening, no matter who is watching- I am going to tell Him as loud as I can with my voice, with my life, as many times as He wants to hear it, "Daddy, I want YOU the MOST!"

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And this is what we are!"
1 John 3:1