I read the words then re-read the words over and over mulling over them in my mind.
“In the valley of the sheep, David learned to depend on God. God’s presence, provision, and power accompanied David wherever he went and people could see it.” … “Maybe you’re in your own valley of sheep right now. Maybe you think you are going unnoticed and your assignment is not what you want it to be. Just remember we must go through the valley, where we humble ourselves before God, before we can go out for God…” – Derwin L. Gray in his book Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future
Had David not spent time in the valley with the sheep and experiencing what God had for him in the valley would he have become the courageous person who faced the giant? I am sure that he gained wisdom in the valley that he would draw from years later when he was king. We can all take courage that our God is infinite and awesome exceeding human expectation. Now, not all of us will be king, nor will we all take our place in history for slaying a philistine giant. However we do have dreams God has placed in our hearts and we all have/will have valleys where we can humble ourselves, drawing closer to God, gaining wisdom and experience. We don’t know what the future holds for any of us but we can be sure of one who does.
A few years ago, I began a weight loss journey through eating and fitness modifications. My weight loss in less than a year was about 130+ pounds. From that point I continued to learn from many wonderful trainers and friends more about nutrition and fitness. I began to realize I had a passion for helping and encouraging others to pursue fitness and health. I enrolled in a program to become a personal trainer.
Then my path was diverted. My children experienced some health issues, my finances tightened further, and I began to inexplicably gain some weight. I had not made changes in my eating nor alterations to my fitness endeavors but I was gaining weight and becoming totally frustrated. In total I gained almost 30 pounds. We tested for a variety of possible explainable health causes to weight gain – but Nothing. Nothing that is except stress. Stress, worry, and anxiety have repercussions on a body as well as mind.
As I sat in my frustration I also looked over my life – Wow I had become COMPLETELY out of Balance. My eating was very rigid (more of an extremely restrictive diet than a plan I could live with the rest of my life). My kids were great about my gym time and encouraged me. The gym had a daycare the kids could hang out while I worked out which is great. However I was always on-the-go hurrying here to there. Yes they saw the value “I” placed on fitness and being healthy but for my family was I helping them to be active and healthy? There was way too much emphasis on the “I”. Where was our quality time? Was my life teaching them proper perspective? Please don’t read this wrong… I believe in hitting the gym, working out and staying fit. And I DO believe everybody, parents included (especially us single parents) need some “me” time –and gym time is a great stress reliever for me. But I had taken it beyond “me” time to an EXTREME- and it needed to be adjusted.
I paused in my pursuit of being a personal trainer – I felt inept.
This year was the breaking year for me; with better balance I began to again pursue my fitness and health goals with my kids along side. Instead of pursuing self –glorification, I choose now to seek after honoring God more through my fitness and nutrition endeavors. In stewardship, I want to take care of the body I have been given. I still hit a gym when I can- and I work out at home. I’ve been able to shed many of the pounds I had regained. Moreover, I am eating more balanced and living life a bit more fully.
A couple months back, someone asked me whether I ever finished the personal training certification – I dropped my head and said “no”. In my heart I still had the calling, the passion to encourage and help others but because of the set backs I had allowed myself to be defeated. I had just a couple weeks left to finish the course but had no intention to do so – self doubt and fear can be very crippling. A few days later, my daughter and I were discussing the personal training. I rattled my excuses… my gaining a some of the lost pounds back and my frustration with it, my desire to be closer to my goals, and every other reason I could think that would cause me to fail. This child is my cheerleader in every sense of the word it is a gift God has blessed her with. In her sweet way she can speak words that hit me directly in the heart. “Mom, I guess I don’t understand….Don’t other people have the same struggles? Don’t they get frustrated? But then that means you “get it” – you’ve been there and come through it… Right?? You can understand and help them…” This mom just had to stand there with her mouth open- WOW!!! Why did it take my daughter to speak it for me to see it?
So one week before the expiration of the personal training course I still had to pass a few more chapter tests, the finals, and work studies in hopes to get the certification. Again, God blessed and saw me through it successfully. The last piece, a CPR/AED certificate, has to be in place for me to be able to say that I have my completed ISSA Personal Trainer Certification and that class is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday. While I know, I am still a work in progress – (but aren’t we all?)- I am excited to see what the future holds and very thankful that the dream he placed was not allowed to just fall to the wayside to later become a regret or “what if”. I am hopeful, maybe God can use me, to inspire and encourage others as they face similar struggles in their lives.
While I CANNOT say my venture through this valley the last couple of years has been pleasant or fun, I CAN say it was humbling and needed. I can look back and say that the trip through the valley made me come to the realization that I didn’t have all the answers and had absolutely no control. It required me to put away pride,(that had seeped in and taken hold) look up, and place it all in God’s hands, seeking him for direction and answers. Today, with complete sincerity of heart, I can tell you – I am thankful for the journey through this valley. I am thankful for what I am learning everyday.
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