Mindful Ministers: Part Four of Four

TJ's 4x3=12 Series

3 Things YOU Must Know on Growing Yourself Physically

I’ve rewritten this blog at least 5 times in hopes of communicating effectively with you, friends. Now, the following post could potentially cause you to grow frustrated with me, but please understand that I am writing from genuine care for my fellow brother and with an overflow of personal conviction.

In February of 2015, I had a moment in time to where the Lord spoke clearly to me about my health and I haven’t been the same since.

I was chasing my kids up the stairs of my home and couldn’t because I was so out of shape. I literally had to sit down at the top of the stairs and catch my breath. It hit me that I had gained so much weight that I was too large to fully interact with my family. I realized that I was constantly tired and unfocused because I had not been taking care of myself physically. I treated my body as a garbage disposal instead of a high-performance machine. I used every excuse in the book: Too Busy, Kids Want Sonic, Fast Food is Easy, Students eat Pizza, etc… Everything was an excuse to eat junk and not have any concern with my own personal health.

The Lord spoke 1 Corinthians 10:31 to me.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do to the glory of God.”

I heard this and knew exactly what had to happen. I had to change. I had to change not to achieve a “look” but to be healthy for my wife, my kids, for ministry longevity, and for myself. Yes, I did this for myself.

To often, the church will talk about “other” sin, but will not confront gluttony and laziness. In southern church, it’s taboo to talk this way because we love to “meet and eat”. Well, when I turned and looked in the mirror and realized I was 330+lbs and couldn’t play with my kids without getting out of breath, that I didn’t want to be go swimming because I was embarrassed, that I couldn’t focus on ministry because I was tired, and that I was overly loud to make up for my lack of self-confidence… I knew I had to do something.

Pastor/Leader, I believe you and I should be example setters to our people. I am not saying you should be walking around with 6-pack abs and ultra tan looking like a model. I am saying we should strive to be healthy in what we eat and what we do.

1 Corinthians 10:31 became my battle cry and call to worship. It has remained and become my life verse over the past 2 years. I got my plan together and in the Fall of 2015 I got to work on my self. Because I am a goal-orientated person, I entered and won a 12 week national body transformation challenge out of over 7,000 people. I lost 100+ pounds and at the age of 36 years old, I am in the best shape of my life. Here are 3 things that drove me to this and what I hope will encourage you.

  1. Conviction Determines Mission. 

I have made resolutions, plans, and set personal goals on MANY occasions. There is a massive difference between an “I want to” and an “I have to”. The Lord convicted me of my sin of not caring for my body and I knew I had to change. It has been a process and journey that has turned into a ministry in itself. My conviction drives people crazy. I have made friends and even family irritated with me because I won’t eat a certain food or a go to certain places to eat. Here’s the deal though: I choose to live by the conviction the Lord has placed on me no matter the opinion of others. I have found time and time again that those same people end up coming and asking advice, which I am more than happy to give!

  1. Quit Making Excuses

As a pastor to students, I had all the excuses. I spent countless hours at ballgames, plays, in rides to events, Wednesday nights, and Sonic. I used the excuse that kids don’t want to eat healthy when really it was simply an excuse for me to be lazy in my own care. I used the excuse of “I’m so busy” constantly when in reality it was that I wasn’t disciplining myself or willing to plan ahead. To lose the weight and get healthy, I had to quit making excuses and face the reality of being disciplined and planning ahead.

  1. It’s That Serious

Listen, it’s that serious. I don’t want to be on high blood pressure medicine or type 2 diabetic because of my own poor decisions. I don’t want to lie on the couch and watch TV because I am too tired that I can’t play with my kids. My own two kids have heard me say many times, “guys…Daddy is working so hard and is just too tired.” The reality is “daddy is working hard, but he’s not taking care of himself so it’s his own fault he can’t play today.” I believe we are to steward our lives in such a way that we leverage our influence for the Gospel every way we can. I believe, as believers, we should be readying our bodies for action more than for the couch.

 

The 3 principles can be lived out in almost any scenario of life. If you will take the 3 ideas of Conviction Determines Mission, Quit Making Excuses, and It’s That Serious, and apply to your life, your ministry, your relationships, your (anything), you will be a person on fire that is leading with excellence.

Please know that I have written this not to place my conviction on your but simply to share the burden I carried with me. If I can ever help you with your health or in making a plan, please feel free to reach out to me!

I am praying for you!!

 

-TJ