Heart Transformation Happens in Community

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Heart Transformation Happens in Community

Is there ever a word that keeps showing up in your life over and over again?  It’s that tap on the shoulder, that voice in your head, that desire in your heart.   The word that keeps getting shown to me is community.  Which is kind of ironic as I have become a master of isolation over the course of a life time.  Isolation is my default button when I feel overwhelmed and don’t want to deal with the challenges in life.

What God is showing me is heart transformation happens in community.  Of course we need our alone time with God, I have been doing that consistently for over eight years now.   What I am learning is the importance of community.  A place to be authentic and vulnerable.  Without that component of non-judgmental accountability it will be very challenging to become the person God created us to be. 

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There are two components to heart transformation.  A relationship with Jesus is the vertical component that helps us to become more like Christ.  The horizontal component to heart transformation is our relationship with other people.  Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

This played out recently on a personal level with me last week.  I lift weights once a week with a great friend.  Our workouts are as much about spiritual transformation as they are about physical transformation.  We have a relationship where we can be real and vulnerable with each other.  He spoke the truth into me and encouraged me based on some of the struggles I have shared with him over the past year.   

He showed me the love of Christ by speaking words of encouragement into my heart.  Of course I have taken this battle to God many times over, but there is something about sharing our battle with other believers that brings it home.  What I have discovered through being in community is so many of us our facing the same battles.  Why go it alone?

God recently put this strong desire on my heart to create a community for men where we can be completely real and vulnerable.   To me this is church.  It’s men showing brotherly love to each other.  Learning how to become more like Christ through scripture, prayer and shared struggles and victories.  It’s having our hearts transformed in community. 

This community is called Spiritual Warriors Unite that meets once a month at the gym I train at called The Body, which stands for the Body of Christ.  How cool is that?  Romans 12:4-5 says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 

We are developing a community or church at The Body that is caring for the Body of Christ.  After all the church is people.  It’s not a building or an institution.  It’s quite simply followers of Jesus serving and caring for others. 

Heart transformation happens in community, but so many people isolate themselves from community when they are hurting, depressed, struggling with sin and addiction or feel unworthy.   I totally get that as isolation has been my default for many years of my life.  I have learned the hard way that things never turn out good when we go into isolation mode. 

Here are three things I have learned to do to get out of isolation and into community for a heart transformation.

Find one or two guys you can be 100% real and vulnerable with:

This has been the biggest game changer in my life.  I have two guys in my life I can share my heart and soul with.  I know I can tell them anything and I will not be judged.  I can share my heart, my struggles and my dark side knowing that they will love me unconditionally. 

This is a rare thing especially for guys.  We talk about real matters of the heart.  We don’t try to fix each other.  We listen to each other, showing compassion and caring for one another.  If you don’t have somebody like this in your life you are missing that horizontal component of life change.  Pray and ask God to bring a brother in Christ into your life that can speak the words of truth and love into your life. 

Join a men’s Bible study: 

Being in the Word of God shoulder to shoulder with other brothers is transformative.  I recently joined a men’s Bible study at a local church.  At first I was hesitant to do so because I wanted a morning where I didn’t have to be somewhere at a certain time early in the morning. I also love my quiet time alone (there is that isolation piece shining through.)  I made myself go and it has been one of the best decisions I have made. 

The pastor is a masterful teacher of the Word.  The insights I have gained in a few short weeks has already transformed my heart.  I have also developed friendships with other men I never would have had the chance to know on a personal level.  Take a chance and join a men’s Bible study. It will transform you heart.

Be a spiritual mentor to someone else:  

As followers of Jesus we are called to love and serve others.  We are not meant to keep our faith to ourselves.  We are called to disciple other men.  This will transform our heart as well as the person we are mentoring. 

When we know we are making a difference in someone else’s life it changes us on the inside as well.  One of the best things we can do when we are hurting and suffering is to use our pain to do good.  That has been a basic principle in my life over the past eight years.  It’s amazing how God uses the suffering in our life to make a difference in other people’s lives. 

God has used my pain of divorce to mentor and counsel other people who have gone and are going through the trials of divorce.  He is using my story to help others to see that there is life after divorce.   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

Isolation only leads to a dark and lonely place full of depression, sadness and despair.  Being in community leads to heart transformation, peace and love.  Find another guy you trust, join a men’s Bible study and be a mentor to another person and you will see heart transformation at its finest. 

Heart transformation happens in community.  Don’t go it alone.  Take that first step and reach out to me or another brother.  It takes courage and strength to put yourself out there and to create a new possibility for yourself.  Choose life not despair. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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Spiritual Warrior Manifesto

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Spiritual Warrior Manifesto

I believe every man wants to live out his true purpose and live a life of significance.  I believe every man wants to step into his power and be the person he was created to be. 

Playing small and shrinking back is such a common theme among men in our world today.  We have been settling for mediocrity and the status quo. 

 “There is no passion to be found playing small-in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”-Nelson Mandela

As Spiritual Warriors we are called to rise up and push our limits of physical fitness, mental toughness and spiritual growth for the betterment of humanity. 

Many men are tolerating life and living in quiet desperation.  Boredom is a dangerous place for a man.  It is our enemy.  Life has a way of taking our sense of adventure away.  Our attachment to comfort and security is what limits most men from living powerful and passionate lives. 

Spiritual Warriors defy the status quo.   We train ourselves to be warriors because God may have an impossible mission he wants to do through us.  Spiritual Warriors are deeply dependent on God and embrace risk with courage. 

Many men fall into a life of self-centeredness, isolation and addiction.  A man’s addictions are the result of refusing our strengths.   Our addictions result from not living out our mission. 

Spiritual Warriors are called to live out our purpose and mission.  By aligning every part of our life towards our mission we will feel fully alive and free. 

Spiritual Warriors nourish our bodies with healthy food so we can have an abundance of energy and optimal health. 

We train physically so we can be strong and full of vitality. 

We strengthen our mind so we can overcome fear to make an impact in our world. 

We grow spiritually so we can be a source of light in a world that is full of darkness. 

Spiritual Warriors are called to live a life of freedom, simplicity and adventure.   We are called to be in community and live a life of service.   A quality of a true Spiritual Warrior is that we are in service to a purpose greater than ourselves. 

My mission is to build a social movement of men who are becoming Spiritual Warriors through fitness and physical adventure for the betterment of humanity.  

My vision is to be revolutionary in impacting men’s lives with fitness as the platform for growing spiritually. 

I invite you to go on this journey with me.   To be a part of our community of Spiritual Warriors.    Imagine the possibilities for yourself, your family, your community and the world when you step into being the man you were created to be and become a Spiritual Warrior!

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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It's OK to be a Beginner

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It's OK to be a Beginner

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I felt inept.  I lacked confidence.  I was worried I would hurt myself.  That describes how I felt last week when I decided I would give mountain biking a try.  It has been over five years since I have done any “real” mountain biking.  I have been wanting to get back out there for a while, but I have been so focused on my road cycling I didn’t have time. 

As I went on the so called “beginner” trail with my heart pumping and not knowing what to expect I was greeted with more protruding and jagged rocks than I would expect on a “beginner” trail.  All I thought as I was praying that I could get over those rocks is that it would really hurt to have one of those jabbed into my side.  I could feel my lungs being punctured.  Not a good thought at all. 

As I tentatively navigated over the rocks, I saw an uphill climb approaching with what I would call some large impediments that I would have to jump over.    In my mind, I quickly processed if I should take a chance and try to ride over them or to get off my bike and walk over the obstacles.  My risk-adverse side said to hop off the bike and play it safe, which I did. 

In between the tentativeness and slow pace I kept, I did take some time to look at all of the natural beauty around me.  It was amazing.  No cars to deal with and I only came across a few people.  I can see why people love to mountain bike. 

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I did make it to the end of my ride without any disasters.  I was humbled and was reminded of what it felt like to be a beginner.  I am an expert in the gym both as a fitness professional and a long time body builder.  I am an advanced road cyclist and an above average golfer. 

This experience on my mountain bike as a beginner really made me stop and think about my clients and potential clients I will be working with.   It made me think about how they feel when they first come to train with me.   How they must feel as a beginner.  The courage it takes to go into the unknown and being OK with being a beginner. 

I lead a Faith and Fitness class at a church and we regularly have about fifteen people come to the class.   It takes a great deal of bravery to attend a class for the first time not knowing what to expect, especially if you are new to fitness. 

I have always had a great deal of compassion for people who are new to exercise and I will have even more after this reminder of what it feels like to be a beginner. 

If you are not doing something that you have always wanted to do because you are afraid of being a beginner, I want to encourage you to do it anyways.  Embrace being a beginner.   It’s about the journey and what you learn about yourself along the way. 

I will be back on my mountain bike this week.  I know I will be better this time than I was last time.  I will enjoy being a beginner and see what I can learn about myself along the way.  I will get out of my comfort zone and realize I don’t have to be an expert at everything.  If I stay at this long enough, I can become an expert at this too and if I don’t that is just fine by me.  I will be a better person for trying.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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Soul on Fire

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Soul on Fire

How different would our life be if we did what made us feel truly alive?  How different would our world be if we were all living out our true purpose?

I would venture to guess most of us aren’t functioning in life with our soul on fire.  We are bored, complacent and I would guess maybe even a little angry.  When we aren’t fulfilled it is easy for anger to set in.  Believe me, I get it, as I have experienced all of those emotions. 

When I share my faith journey I often get the comment of how inspiring it is.  I quit a lucrative industry of pharmaceutical sales to pursue my purpose of starting a fitness ministry in a new city.  My hope is that it inspires you to do what makes you feel fully alive.  To pursue your purpose in life so you can have that feeling of your soul on fire. 

BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL

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When I work with men in my fitness ministry one of the ways I help them get their passion back is I challenge them to set a BHAG or big hairy audacious goal as coined by Jim Collins.    This BHAG is centered on a physical fitness or physical adventure goal.  I ask them to choose a goal that scares them and excites them at the same time.

It isn’t about accomplishing the physical adventure or goal.  It’s what comes with the accomplishment.  It’s mainly about regaining our self-esteem and confidence. 

As men, we often times get beat up in this world.  We let the world take our power away or more than likely we give our power away.  Along with giving our power away our self-esteem goes out the window.   

STEP UP AS LEADERS

We end up lost,  in isolation and living in quiet desperation.  Our world needs men to step up in a big way.  As a Spiritual Warrior Coach I am asking men to step out of their comfort zone physically so they can be at their best mentally, emotionally and spiritually so we can be the leaders we are called to be. 

My mission is to build a social movement of men, who are reclaiming their inner warrior, through fitness challenges and physical adventure, for the betterment of humanity. 

WIRED FOR ADVENTURE

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We are wired for physical adventure, not sitting on the couch living our lives out vicariously through other men playing sports.  Not that there is anything wrong with watching sports, but when we deny ourselves our own adventure and feeling of being fully alive is when we run into trouble. 

I want to challenge you to come up with your own BHAG pertaining to physical fitness and adventure.  What would that be for you?  What would challenge you and make you lean into your edge?  My BHAG for the summer was a series of bicycle adventures which culminated in a 120 mile bike ride over three daunting mountain passes.  I was out of my comfort zone, but also living life to the full. 

You will be amazed how working towards a challenging physical goal will impact every area of your life.  Don’t go on this adventure alone.    I help men get into peak physical condition, develop mental toughness and grow spiritually.   If you are struggling with purpose and don’t feel truly alive please contact me at troy@troyismir.com to explore the possibilities of living a life that makes you feel fully alive by living a life of adventure. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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Exhausted

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Exhausted

It’s Monday morning at 5:15am.  After four bouts with the snooze alarm I was finally able to peel myself out of bed.  I am not a typical hit the snooze button kind of a guy, but this morning all I could do was muster up enough strength to roll over and hit the snooze button and hit it again and again and again. 

Can you relate to this?  That feeling of extreme fatigue.  I was talking to one of my clients this week and he said he was feeling  “fatiguey” that particular morning.  I think he should trademark that word as I am hearing more and more people suffering from “fatiguey”.

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I thought Monday was a fluke as I survived the day, but I felt even more exhausted on Tuesday and Wednesday.  As a trainer and coach a big part of my job is encouraging and inspiring people to be at their best.  Let me tell you it is next to impossible with the level of exhaustion I was feeling. 

On July 14th I did a 120 mile bike ride with over 10,000 feet of climbing and on August 4th I did an 80 mile bike ride with 6500 feet of climbing.  There were three weeks between the two events, but do you know how many days of rest and recovery I took between those two rides?   ZERO! 

The day after both of those rides I was exhausted.  I was tired and wired.  I was so tired, but I didn’t sleep well.  So as any good American would do I fueled myself with caffeine.  And true to my form I worked out first thing the next morning.  Push-ups, core work, pull-ups.  My story that I tell myself is that I always feel better after a workout.  Which is true when I am in the moment and right after, but this past week my body shut down.  Meaning I had no energy what so ever.

SURVIVAL MODE

I was on pure survival mode.  Just make it through the day.  No zest for life, no passion for my work.  Just make it through the day and crash on the couch the minute I got home.  I have always prided myself with the mantra no days off. 

That mantra has caught up with me this week and I have come to the realization that this mantra has to change to rest and recovery.  At 51 years of age I pride myself that I am still able to train with extreme intensity and love to show the 20 somethings how it’s done in the gym.  It’s time to kick pride out the window and listen to my body. 

What I have been shown this week is if I don’t rest and recover I am no good to anyone.  My clients, my family, my community and most importantly doing God’s work.  I failed myself and everyone else this week by not allowing my body to rest and recover. 

If I don’t rest and recover I am no good to anyone.

In listening to people and my clients one of the most common themes I hear are I am so tired.  Exhausted is a word I here often or the new word fatiguey.  How many of us are walking zombies?   Honestly, I didn’t even feel like a human being this week.  Extreme brain fog, severe allergies and lethargy were prevalent in my life. 

REST AND RECOVERY

What I believe God is showing me is that I need to rest my body.  At least once a week, but probably more like twice a week.  It doesn’t mean being sedentary, but do things that are more restorative such as going for an easy walk or some light yoga. 

What do you need to do to restore and rest?  Maybe it’s learn to say no so you aren’t so overscheduled and can have a relaxing evening at home and get to bed at a decent hour.  Maybe it’s to actually take a day of rest on the Sabbath and have a complete day of restoration.  It might be to build in some light movement instead of heavy intense exercise. 

ENERGY, VITALITY AND OPTIMAL HEALTH

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Whatever it is for you, listen to your body.  Allow your body time to be restored.  Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Find rest in God.  Take time to be still for that is the time we can truly draw closer to God. It’s in those moments where we will find rest for our soul. 

Imagine a life of energy, vitality and optimal health.  That is what I am going for.  It will be a shift in perspective for me, but I know that the only way I can do the work that God has called me to do is if I build in rest and restoration into my life.  Please join me in that possibility of slowing down so we can be more effective, energetic and joyful in our day to day life. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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I Doubted I Could Do It

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I Doubted I Could Do It

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post titled, “Why You Should Push Your Physical Limits.”  I shared how I signed up for the Triple Bypass bike ride which covers 120 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing.  I signed up for it because I didn’t know if I could do it.  Well I did it.  I finished the ride in nine hours and thirteen minutes.  It was the greatest feeling to accomplish something I didn’t know if I could do it or not. 

I want to challenge you to sign up for something you doubt you can do and then train your butt off.  It will be worth every second of the journey whether you “succeed” or not.  The way I see it is the only way you will fail is if you don’t get in the arena.  If you sit on the sidelines watching.  That is a horrible way to live life in my opinion. 

LIFE IS MEANT TO BE AN ADVENTURE

Our life is meant to be an adventure.  That’s why I quit my six figure job, because I was bored out of my mind.  It wasn’t my calling.  What an adventure I have been on ever since.  I never know what day it is because I love every day of my life, not just Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

My vision is to make a living writing, speaking, podcasting and coaching.  Am I making a living doing these things yet?  No!  But I will.  If I stay in the game, if I stay in the arena I will.  If I rely on God’s strength and wisdom I have no doubt in my mind I will have a successful fitness ministry. 

My measure of success is going to be determined by the amount of lives I change and nothing else.  God will take care of the rest.  I am not worried about paying my bills or putting food on the table.  God wouldn’t have put this dream in my heart if he wouldn’t help me see it through.

I know it won’t be easy.  Its’ not supposed to be easy.  If it were easy then I wouldn’t have to rely on God to make my mission a success.  Just like on my bike ride I will just turn the pedal crank over one revolution at a time. 

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THE ADRENALINE RUSH

Back to my bike ride.  It was an early morning wake-up call at 3am.  I was excited as soon as I woke up.  A little bit of coffee and breakfast and I was out the door.  Upon first arriving and getting everything ready for my ride, my heart rate was at about 115.  My normal resting heart rate is about 50, so clearly I was pretty amped, nervous and excited.  Another words, I was fully alive.  Nothing better than that pre-bike ride adrenaline rush. 

My ride officially started at 6am on the dot.  I was greeted with 15 miles of steady climbing.  No time to warm up, just into a long steady climb.  It was exciting to be a part of a large group of passionate cyclists.  I am estimating there were about 3,000 of us tackling the Triple Bypass. 

I felt strong up the first climb and then came the descent.  I can’t say I love descending.  I am not fearless by any stretch of the imagination.  When I get up over 40 miles per hour is when the nerves start to kick in.  I also didn’t know the course at all and there were quite of few blind turns.  I managed to descend without any mishaps.  

One of the highlights of the ride was going through some small towns along the way.  There were lots of people cheering us on.  Some even had signs and cowbells they would ring along the way.  It got a small taste of what it feels like to be in the Tour de France.  What a cool feeling. 

JUST KEEP GOING

Now it was time for the 35 mile climb up Loveland pass.  I felt strong until the last four miles ascending up to 12,000 feet.  My lungs were searing and my quads felt like they were going to blow up, but my mantra was just to keep turning the pedal cranks over just like we have to do in life.  Just keep going, just keep showing up.  I was going at a break neck speed of about 5-6 mph.  Just fast enough to keep my bike from tipping over. 

The scenery was amazing.  The beauty of God’s creation was all around me.  I was overwhelmed with the scenery on the whole ride.  There is no better way to see God’s beauty than on a bike.  There definitely was some suffering involved, but when you crest a mountain pass it is breathtaking. 

The hardest part of the ride for me was around mile 80.  I actually ran out of water for about 30 minutes of the ride.  The previous aid station for all of the cyclists ran out of water.  How does that happen?  I knew it would be tight on hydration, but I had to keep going. 

FINISH STRONG

My quads were completely fried, I was a little dehydrated and it was blazing hot at this point.  I had two goals for this ride.  One was to embrace every moment of the ride no matter how tough it was and the second was to finish strong. 

Even though I was pretty whipped at mile 80, I knew I had some more climbing to do, so I decided to embrace suffering.  I decided to go into the pain of my legs and appreciate the fact that my body is capable of biking this far. 

I got a surge of energy around mile 100.  At this point I knew I was going to finish strong.   Twenty more miles to go.   One of the best things about this ride was my daughter being there at the finish line to greet me.  What a great feeling to know my daughter will be sharing this milestone with me. 

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Nine hours and thirteen minutes later I crossed the finish line of the Triple Bypass.  I was exhausted and exhilarated.  I think it really hit home when we drove back to Fort Collins and I realized that the mileage we just covered in my car, I covered on my bike.  Wow!  What once was doubt is now confidence and a great sense of satisfaction. 

So what do you doubt you can do?  A 10k?  Hike a fourteener?  Run a marathon?  Do a triathlon?  Drop 50 pounds?  Run a mile without stopping?  I say do it!  Get in the arena!  Get sweaty, get dirty and maybe even a little bloody.  I guarantee you that you will feel fully alive when you reclaim your inner warrior. 

Don’t go on this journey alone.  I would love to partner with you on your journey of reclaiming your inner warrior through physical fitness and adventure.  Please reach out to me at troy@troyismir.com to start a powerful conversation. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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