A new series started at my church this weekend. I found it particularly applicable to this Challenge I’ve taken on. Fearless: Uncommon Strength & Courage. It’s based on the Old Testament book of Joshua and the verse we’re focusing on is in the first chapter. This takes place right after Moses has died. You know Moses, “Let my people go!” They made an epic movie about him in the 50’s starring Charlton Heston. Yeah Moses is a big time player in the Bible. How would you like to be the guy who replaces Moses to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land that’s already occupied? That was Joshua and he was fearful. Heck, I would be too. Then God gives him a little pep talk and says, “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Be strong and courageous. Now by no means am I comparing my life or this fitness challenge to Joshua and the amazing thing he had to take on. I still must admit that even applying to be one of the semi-finalists was a little frightening. At the time that I had applied I was going through a lot of stuff stemming back all the way to tax season and the mini depression I fell back into. (You can read about that mess here.) It all had come to a head the week that I applied and the following weeks were probably some of the most painful that I’ve experienced in a while.
Aside from all of that, sending in that video and admitting that I was not healthy nor was I being a good example to my kids was frightening. I mean anyone who looks at me and knows me could probably see that I was overweight. Now, I know some of you are going to say, “Now, Bert, you didn’t look that bad.” This isn’t about looks. I was unhealthy and there is no denying that. At first I didn’t tell a lot of people that I had even applied. You know why? It was like admitting it to the world that I had let myself go and that I had become lazy.
Then after a week of watching STEELE’s Facebook page, waiting for the announcement, I got the call. I was in. I couldn’t believe it. This is what I wanted; this is what my family needed. It wasn’t long until the fear of that call started setting in. Would they reveal my starting weight number to the masses? How many people were actually going to watch me go through this? What if I failed? What if I wanted to give up? What about the popular vote? What if people don’t like me?! Suddenly I was in junior high school all over again with those stupid superlatives (which I won twice, once was Biggest Flirt and the second year was Friendliest – no shock there!).
Still, I dove in and with tons of prayer covering me I started my 90 day journey. I didn’t know what was going to happen or who was doing it. I had no clue who my trainer was going to be (lucky for me she’s amazing!) or who the other contestants were. I have learned that I really am stronger, both physically and mentally, than I thought I was. I have learned that the Lord is with me in this, whether I win that super awesome prize or if I don’t. Winning is not what needs to matter.
Do not be discouraged. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that watching the votes drop the last three days hasn’t been discouraging. It has. I have no control over this and for a control freak like me it drives me crazy. The 8th grader in me starts to whisper insecurities in my head and I wonder what I could do to make them (whoever are actually out there voting) like me. My competitive nature wants to figure out a way to be first or at least in the top three and I can’t. I just can’t. There’s no way of controlling this; it’s out of my hands.
All of those were my thoughts on Friday night as I typed an email pleading for my family and friends to vote for me. Those were my thought this afternoon as I wrote to my friends and connections in the blogging community asking for votes. Then this verse hit me right, smack dab in the middle of my face: Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Win or “lose,” fall behind in the popular vote or jump leaps and bounds ahead. I have to remember that being chosen to be a semi-finalist is winning enough. I have the chance of a lifetime. I get a second chance at this health thing and someone’s guiding me through it. Shouldn’t that be enough? It is enough and more than enough.
I mean because of this Challenge I have learned that I can run (and I kind of like it). I enjoy boxing. I crave exercise now. I enjoy fish and drinking water 99% of the time. I can go without eating chocolate or peanut butter (that’s my real downfall!). This Challenge has changed my view of life. Instead of leaving my workout as the last priority in my day, it’s one of the first things I try to do. I have learned that even though my children have a hard time with me leaving to go and workout the benefit of me being healthy far outweighs the momentary tears. I have learned what an example I am to my almost four year old son, Brennan.He sees me leaving to workout or leaving to run and you know what? He pretends to do the same now. Goodness he even put a plastic band around his chest and told me he was going to go run now (mimicking the heart rate monitor that I wear).
Would I love a trip to Germany? Yes, it would be great. Would I love to continue having Emilie kick my butt and going to T.W.O. classes? Yes. It’s not why I applied for this. I applied for this to make a change, to show my children what it is to have an active lifestyle so it comes naturally to them. And you know what? That’s happening. It hasn’t been easy and there has been a lot of sacrifice on my part, Ben, my husband’s part, and the kids’ part. It’s worth it. The fear of stepping into it, feeling a little exposed, and slipping into old insecurities have now been tamed by One who is stronger than I am. My mind has to be refocused to be grateful for the gift that I have already been given to do this. That other stuff is a bonus. Focus on the here and now, focus on what’s been accomplished and focus on where I’m headed.