Life Change Happens at the Dinner Table

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Life Change Happens at the Dinner Table

In 2017, former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy identified the most common threat to public health that he had witnessed:  not heart disease, diabetes, or cancer-but loneliness.  Isolation and lack of social connections, he wrote in Harvard Business Review, “are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking fifteen cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.  Loneliness is also associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety.” 

Men are even more affected by this loneliness epidemic which is most often accompanied with the feelings of depression and despair. 

In my own personal life I have felt that feeling of quiet desperation.   That feeling of extreme loneliness and isolation.  It is a hopeless feeling that can lead to a path of soul killing destruction. 

Thankfully, God brought two men into my life at just the right time to help me get out of that state of quiet desperation. 

One of the main reasons that men often times live in quiet desperation is they are reluctant to show vulnerability or ask for support.  Men are less likely to seek out other men when they are struggling because they feel like it is a sign of weakness. 

In reality, asking for help is one of the most courageous things we can do.  Being vulnerable is coming from a place of strength not weakness. 

One of the biggest problems I have realized since starting my men’s ministry is that men don’t have a place where we can show up and be vulnerable.    Men do want to be transparent and share their darkest truths, but we haven’t done a great job in creating those environments. 

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As warriors we are looking for something different.    We want camaraderie and shared purpose.  We want to be shoulder to shoulder in shared experiences.  When we are shoulder to shoulder sharing something challenging or purposeful is when we develop trust and a level of openness that we as men aren’t used to. 

I lead a men’s discipleship group called Bible and Barbells out of the gym I train out of called The Body which stands for The Body of Christ.  It’s a Christian gym where I am fortunate enough to do ministry out of.  We study a Christian devotional for the first thirty minutes followed by thirty minutes of a strength training circuit. 

I have seen so much life change and relationship building through this ministry.  It has been quite astounding.  I hear men pour out their struggles around their battle with pornography, relationship struggles, feelings of inadequacy, career crisis, struggles with anger and other challenges we as men face. 

This is an environment where men care share, be vulnerable and recognize we are not alone.   It’s through this practice of being vulnerable where we draw strength to be the spiritual leaders in our families, communities and churches.    Without this shared community of strong Christian men I know we would continue to live lives of quiet desperation, depression and isolation. 

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I led my first Spiritual Warriors Unite Men’s Retreat a few weeks ago.  It was a powerful weekend where a group of men got away to reclaim our inner warrior.  Life has a way of beating us up and from time to time we need to get away and have some good quality bro time along with time to connect with God. 

One of my biggest take-aways from the weekend was that life change happens at the dinner table.  After we got finished eating we would sit around after each meal and we shared what was on our heart.  We all learned from each other. 

We tackled questions like, what does it mean to be a man in this day and age and how can we be stronger spiritual leaders?  We shared great inspirational books we have read and we all went around the table discussing what our morning rituals look like. 

I know I left the retreat a better man than when I first arrived.   There is something powerful when a group of godly men get together and share our hearts.   When we are transparent and vulnerable and willing to learn from one another. 

It is sad to me that so many men are living in quiet desperation.  Trust me, I get it, I used to be one of them.   My vision for my ministry is to help men get out of quiet desperation by being in community together.  Where we build a faith and fitness community that inspires men to be stronger spiritual leaders. 

I believe it starts with men having the courage to be vulnerable.  Finding a community of godly men who are willing to share their darkest truths and not just talk about sports.  Of course that can be a part of it, but there is so much more to life.

As men we are called to be spiritual leaders.  There is no way we can be the spiritual leaders we are called to be when we are living in isolation.  We all need a group of men where we can share our darkest truths around the dinner table.  Life change happens around the dinner table. 

I want to challenge you to be a man, reach out for support.  Get out of your quiet desperation.  It’s up to you to take action.   Find at least one friend you can be transparent with.   Find a group of godly men who will support you on your journey of becoming more like Jesus, the ultimate warrior. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

 

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Increase Your Energy and Change the World

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Increase Your Energy and Change the World

Increase Your Energy and Change the World

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

One thing I have struggled with over the years is having an abundance of energy.  Often times I don’t wake up feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep or I feel sluggish throughout the day.  This is one thing I have been really working hard on over the past several months. 

I have come to the realization that my sluggish energy levels has a lot to do with my internal state of being.  I have been engrossed in the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and Dr. Caroline Leaf over the past six months.  I highly recommend their booksBreaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza and “Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf.  

One of the biggest take-aways from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work is the only way to change our lives is to change our energy.  To improve our energy we have to change our internal state of being.  We do this by changing how we think and feel.   According Dr. Joe Dispenza and his research on brain waves and energy there is a continuum of emotions ranging from the lowest energy levels up to the highest. 

This is what that continuum looks like from low, negative energy all the way to high, life giving energy:

·         Lust

·         Pain

·         Victimization

·         Suffering

·         Guilt

·         Fear

·         Anger

·         Control

·         Power

·         Will

·         Gratitude

·         Appreciation

·         Joy

·         Love

·         Freedom

·         Bliss

·         Wholeness

Being in a state of wholeness is the ultimate state of being.  We are at the highest energy level we can possibly be at when we have that sense of wholeness.   We feel so complete that we feel like we have everything.  The more whole we feel the less lack we experience.  The more whole we feel the more connected we are to everyone else.   What a powerful emotion. 

Since starting my journey towards improving my energy and coming from a place of wholeness I have been meditating every day.  During my meditation I am intentional in cultivating the positive emotions of gratitude, appreciation, joy, love, freedom, bliss and wholeness.  I get up from my meditation completely different from when I sat down.  My goal is to carry that feeling with me throughout my day. 

The only way we can change our world is by changing ourselves and that is never going to happen if we are mired in negative emotions.  It sucks the joy right out of us. 

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One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 5:16. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”  The only way we can be the light is by raising our energy and coming from a place of joy, love and wholeness.

If you are stuck in negative emotions, I would encourage you to read both of the previous books I mentioned and start to implement some of the strategies recommended in the books.  It all starts with changing our internal state of being by changing what we focus on.  We can focus on being a victim, living in guilt and shame or we can focus on love, gratitude and appreciation.

You will be amazed on how you will have an abundance of energy when you start to change the way you think.  When you become the source of light instead of living in darkness.   When you increase your energy that is when your world and the world around you will start to change for the better.  Be the light!

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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Take a Leap of Faith

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Take a Leap of Faith

Take a Leap of Faith

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

One thing I have been guilty in my prayer life is praying for something, but having doubt that God will answer my prayer.  My mind and heart have been out of alignment.   I have been out of coherence.  Thinking one thing and feeling another, or another words, doubting God’s promises. 

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Gratitude is such a powerful emotion.   Gratitude is coming from a state of being that what you are praying for has already happened.   It is expecting God to answer our prayers.  As Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” 

Those are some very powerful words.  It comes down to taking a leap of faith.  Expecting the unexpected.  To surrender, trust and let go of how and when your prayer will be answered, but truly believing in our heart that God will answer our prayers. 

That doesn’t mean that God is our genie in a bottle.  Our prayers still need to line up with His will.   We need to pray with God’s interest in mind and not our own selfish desires. 

My one word for 2019 is abundance.   One area of abundance I am praying for is financial freedom.  Not out of selfish desires, but as a way to provide for myself, my family and also so I can be a generous giver.  I am expecting God to act on his promise.   

I took a leap of faith about 18 months ago leaving a lucrative career in the pharmaceutical industry to pursue my fitness ministry full time.  I am trusting in God’s provision that he will provide for financial abundance.  That I can do what I love, serve others in my strength and have financial freedom. 

It is up to me to do the work and believe.  To pray believing that God will provide.  To get rid of any doubt or feelings of lack financially.   I am giving thanks as it has already happened.  Trusting and surrendering is the biggest obstacle for most of us to overcome. 

When we decide that God is for us and not against us, nothing can stop us.  When our will is in line with God’s will we can do amazing things for His glory.   Believe that you have received it and it will be yours. 

Go for it, take that leap of faith.   Live your life from a place of gratitude and see the miracles that God can do in your life.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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One Word Can Change Your Life

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One Word Can Change Your Life

2018 has come and gone.  For me 2018 was the fastest year on record.  It went by like the blink of an eye.   It was an amazing year in so many ways, but also very challenging.  As always the two parallels of life.  The good and the bad.  The triumphs and the failures.   The moments of love and then heartbreak. 

The biggest thing I learned from 2018 is to embrace uncertainty.  To be OK with not knowing.  To completely trust God and His plans for my life.   To fully embrace that there are no accidents in life and everything happens for a reason.  I realize that is so much easier said than done.  But coming to the realization that control is just an illusion has brought a sense of peace and joy to my life that I have never had before. 

That brings us to 2019.  Instead of making some short lived New Year’s resolutions or some big elaborate goal setting plan, I like to choose one word to focus on for the year.  My one word I chose for this year is abundance.  Abundance financially, in relationship, in my ministry, spiritually and physically. 

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The scripture that I will be focusing on this year is John 10:10.  “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  I come that they have life and have it abundantly.”    There it is, right in scripture.  I will believe that promise and come to God with positive expectations knowing that there is no limit to what God can accomplish. 

As the year of abundance plays out in my life in 2019 I will continue to raise my vibrational energy to become more like Christ.   That means coming from a place of wholeness.    To believe that I am limitless because God is limitless.  That I lack nothing.  I am so whole and complete that I feel like I have everything. 

My word of abundance is centered on forgiveness and compassion, mystery and joy and surrender and vulnerability. 

God is a forgiving God.  From the scripture Luke 23:34, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”    Jesus modeled forgiveness and compassion as he was crucified on the cross.  When we live a life of forgiveness and compassion we are living an abundant life. 

Our God is an amazing God.  He is beyond anything our human mind can comprehend.  I have learned to embrace the mystery of God.  That as my Creator he always has my best interest at heart.  His goal is to make me more like Christ.  Often times this process is through our trials.  

Through this mystery and often times suffering, I have learned that there can still be joy in my life.  Joy comes from an internal state knowing that God is a God of love and grace.   That he loves me so much that he sent his Son to die on the cross for me.  That is enough to bring me joy despite any circumstances I may face. 

Finally the word of abundance means to surrender everything to God.  That means being vulnerable and living with an open heart.    For the first time in my life I am learning to not shrink back.  To play big because I serve a big and amazing God.  By surrendering my life to Him, I gain everything.  By being vulnerable I let people in to my life so they can see what God has done for me. 

As I step into 2019, I am expecting abundance.  I don’t know how it will show up in my life, but that is part of my faith adventure.  I will live a life of compassion, joy and vulnerability in 2019. I will live my life with child-like faith expecting God to do far beyond I can ask or imagine.  Let the adventure begin.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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I Am A Spiritual Warrior Coach

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I Am A Spiritual Warrior Coach

What is it about taking risks that scares us so much?  What is it about being so concerned with what people think of us?   I have been ensnared in the safety and comfort zone trap my whole life.  I have been bogged down by wanting people to like me as long as I can remember.  It’s an exhausting and soul killing way to live.  It has made me shrink back and play small out of fear of what people think about me. 

Here is my recent battle as small as it may seem, it’s a really big deal to me.   Over the course of the last year I have been developing and growing my fitness ministry.  As I dig into my work and listen to the desires God is putting on my heart, I am realizing more and more my ministry is centering on men’s discipleship.  This is where my heart feels fully alive.  This is where I feel I can make the biggest impact for the Kingdom of God. 

When people ask me what I do for a living, I have been giving them a safe answer of, “I am a personal trainer.”  Of course there is nothing wrong with being a personal trainer.  I believe helping people with their health and fitness is a very noble thing to do. 

But what I realize and what I am truly stepping into is I AM A SPIRITUAL WARRIOR COACH.  I help men to reclaim their inner warrior through physical fitness and fitness adventures for the betterment of humanity.   Fitness is merely the platform to help men become stronger spiritual leaders.  To re-learn how to be a lover and a warrior as Jesus calls us to be. 

Men in today’s culture are perceived as weak, passive or overly aggressive.   In many cases we have lost the ability to be strong spiritual leaders.  I believe God is asking me to step up and take on the role of modeling what it looks like to be a strong spiritual leader. 

If there is one regret in my life is that I was not the spiritual leader in my family as my kids were growing up.  God was not central in my life at that time and therefore it wasn’t something I modeled on a regular basis.  I was an engaged father to my kids, but it centered on athletics and school and not what it meant to be a Christ follower.

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I do know this though.  It’s never too late.  As my faith grows and I believe in myself more, I am stepping up to be the leader God is calling me to be.   A leader in my family, my church and my community.  It has not been an easy path, nor will it ever be an easy path.   As Christians we are asked to pick up our cross and follow Jesus, no matter the cost.   That has been a work in progress for me.  Sometimes my soul is on fire and there are other times I want to go back to my old easy life.

So what exactly is a spiritual warrior?  Here are the traits that I believe exudes what a true spiritual warrior made in the image of God looks like:

·         LIVES A LIFE OF ADVENTURE

·         EMBRACES UNCERTAINTY AS THE THEME OF OUR LIFE

·         GOES INTO THE UNKNOWN WITH GOD

·         LIVES A LIFE FULL OF PASSION AND COURAGE

·         IS DISCIPLINED INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY

·         HAS MENTAL FOCUS

·         HAS AN ATTITUDE OF PERSEVERANCE

·         TRAINS PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY AND SPIRITUALLY EVERY DAY

·         LIVES TO GLORIFY GOD IN ALL WE DO

·         WE LIVE FOR A TRANSCENDENT CAUSE GREATER THAN OURSELVES

One thing I have realized on this journey is we are all warriors in training.  We never arrive.  We are never perfect.  We will always be learning and growing.  Most importantly, we need to surround ourselves with other godly men to go on this journey with. 

That is why I AM A SPIRITUAL WARRIOR COACH.   As men, we need support, encouragement and a safe place to be vulnerable and courageous.  Too many of us are living in quiet desperation.  We are afraid to take off the body armor and show up truly as we are.  We are afraid of failing, being seen and therefore we shrink back and become passive or overly aggressive.

Men, it’s time to change that.  Your first courageous step is to reach out for help.  If you are still struggling with the same things you have been struggling with for the past months, years or maybe even decades, maybe it’s time to do something different.  Maybe it’s time to reach out to a spiritual warrior coach. 

I am seeing lives being transformed through the work God is doing in me and through me.  Be strong and courageous and most importantly take a chance on yourself.  Imagine the possibilities when you reclaim your inner warrior and live the life you are created to live.   Imagine what will happen when you get out of your quiet desperation and start to live fully alive. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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The Man in the Arena (Getting his Ass Kicked a Little Bit)

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The Man in the Arena (Getting his Ass Kicked a Little Bit)

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 “Get in the arena, show up, do your thing and don’t be afraid to get your ass kicked a little bit.” –Brene Brown

Do you ever have one of those days, weeks, months or even years where you just want to quit?  Where you don’t want to get in the arena anymore and keep getting your ass kicked? When you get to the point in your life where you want to say screw it and run away from reality?

I had one of those weeks not too long ago.  I wanted to quit everything.  Quit trying to grow a fitness ministry that I feel less than qualified to lead because of all of my glaring weaknesses.  Quit leading my men’s Bible and Barbells and Spiritual Warriors Unite men’s discipleship programs.  I wanted to run and hide and never come back.  I am an expert at isolation.  That is a behavior I have down pat. 

When I left my six figure job and my comfortable surroundings I had lived in for twenty years in Orlando about a year and a half ago, I knew things were going to be hard as I jumped in with both feet to become a Kingdom building entrepreneur.   I just didn’t know all of the things that would show up in my life.  Areas of personal development and growth that I have been avoiding for years, probably more subconsciously than anything else. 

I have always been a fly under the radar kind of a guy.  You know the guy that says my actions speak for themselves.  The strong, silent type.  Stoic and composed.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those character traits, but sometimes we need to be heard and seen and that means speaking up and playing big. 

Even as a star athlete in high school, I shunned the lime light.  When I saw a sports reporter coming my way, I conveniently headed the other direction.  I never really liked talking about myself.  It felt self-serving, conceited and egotistical. 

 For me it was much safer to play it small and not take risks.  To put on my body armor and not let anybody in.  To play it safe and fly under the radar. 

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What I have learned recently, that if I keep myself small, keep hiding behind the scenes, I am not going to make the impact in the world that God is calling me to make.   God will not be able to use me fully if I am not willing to be vulnerable and get into the arena and get bloodied and sweaty. 

I am learning that great leaders are vulnerable.  They are willing to admit that they aren’t perfect and don’t have all of the answers.  They share what’s on their heart and are not concerned about what people think about them. 

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I get how Moses felt inadequate to do what God called him to do. He came up with every excuse in the book not to fulfill the mission God gave him from I am not good enough, I am a terrible public speaker and I am not qualified. I have told myself all of those things, unfortunately many times.

My work is asking me to be more vulnerable.  To open myself up to failure, criticism and the great unknown.  And quite honestly that scares the hell out of me.  I am a master at control, but I am being asked to let go of certainty and embrace uncertainty as the main theme of my life and that means being vulnerable. 

Everything in me says quit and run the other way, but I am going to get in the arena.  I may come out bloody, but that’s OK.  The man who says I failed is ten times more of a man that says what if. 

I am going to step into the arena and dare greatly.  I know I am going to mess up along the way, and fact if I don’t, I am not taking big enough risks for God.    My intention is to be a leader of men and show what being vulnerable and courageous is all about.   My hope and prayer is that leads to greater connection, love, self-worth and belonging.  I am going to get in the arena and dare greatly even if I fall short again and again. How about you?

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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