My Journey to Courage


I recently ordered some business cards for my men’s fitness ministry Barbells & Brothers. For the first time I put the title Fitness Minister under my name. That is a mind-blowing shift for me to think of myself as a fitness minister rather than a personal trainer.

The Ugly Voice of Self-Doubt

I realize my work with my clients goes beyond the physical to transforming hearts and souls. I hear testimonials to confirm that, but that ugly voice of self-doubt rears its ugly head time and time again when I want to boldly proclaim that I am a fitness minister.

It seems like a minor shift to say I am a fitness minister rather than a personal trainer. But if you knew my tendencies you would understand. My tendency in my life has been to play it safe. To shrink back and play small.

Just a few short months ago when people asked me what I did for a living, I would give them a safe answer of I am a personal trainer. Everyone knows what a personal trainer is, not too many people understand what a fitness minister is.

I Am a Fitness Minister

I am learning that I don’t have to play small anymore and I can courageously and proudly say that I am a fitness minister.

Fitness is the platform that I use to speak into men’s lives. A minister is quite simply a servant of Christ. As Christians we are all called to be ministers.

As a fitness minister I get to show people the love of Jesus each and every day.

Where in your life does that self-doubt rear its ugly head in your life? In what area of your life are you not seeing yourself the way God sees you? Where in your life are you playing small and shrinking back?

When we read the Bible we see so many examples of where God changes the names of people in the Bible.

Abram becomes Abraham. Saul becomes Paul. Jacob becomes Israel. Sarai becomes Sarah.

There is Power in a Name

There is power in a name. My name Troy actually means “foot soldier.” That’s pretty powerful isn’t it?

As a fitness minister I am a foot soldier for God.

My journey to courage is actually seeing myself that way.

All of our journeys to courage starts with seeing ourselves the way God sees us. That is when we will show up most powerfully in the world.

When the seeds of self-doubt run rampant through our minds remember you are a child of God and are powerful beyond measure.

Maybe you could even use a name change.

Make a Difference in One Person’s Life

My name change is from a personal trainer to fitness minister. I proclaim that boldly. As a minister my only role is to make a difference in one more person’s life. And then one more. And then one more.

We are to be who we are called to be, in the role we are called to be in, to make a difference in one more person’s life, because to that one person we can be the light in a world full of darkness.

What if we all lived our lives that way? That is the journey to courage.

Troy Ismir, MS

Fitness Minister

Founder and Creator of Barbells & Brothers


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