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Faith

Prayer and Faith

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Prayer and Faith

How easy is it to slip back into our old faulty patterns? I have found myself back to trying to run my fitness ministry under my own strength. Do you know where that gets me? Exhausted, stressed out and burnt out.

I am a self-professed professional striver and perfectionist. I seem to be able to step away from those faulty patterns for a period of time, but after a while I find myself striving and being performance based. It never seems to work out.

Complete Dependence on God

How I want to live my life is in complete dependence on God. In fact, that is my number one priority, yet I find myself so often trying to muscle through any challenges that I face. I am working on developing a speaking ministry, and yes I of course have to do my part, but what I am learning is that God just wants people who are willing to step out in faith and honor and glorify Him.

What I have been leaving out of the equation is prayer and then trusting God in his timing that he will answer my prayer as long as it is in alignment with His will.

Be Radical

I am reading the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream written by David Platt. Here is an excerpt from the book that hit me square between my eyes this morning.

“God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust his extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate his power to all who are radically dependent on him and radically devoted to making much of him.”

Prayer and Faith

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The way I want to live my life moving forward is through prayer and faith and complete dependence on God. I will have faith that God is working behind the scenes to bless my fitness ministry beyond my wildest imagination. That God can do the impossible in me and through me as long as I get out of my own way.

Prayer and faith. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Complete dependence on God. It’s actually quite a freeing feeling, so I am not sure why my tendency is to try and do everything on my own. Old habits I guess.

My Prayer

Here is my prayer that I wrote out this morning.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I realize I have been trying to live life my life independent of you. I have been striving to grow my fitness ministry and trying to do everything under my own strength. From this day forward I want to live by prayer and faith and complete dependence on you. I pray and believe you will move mountains to grow my fitness ministry beyond my wildest dreams.

Amen

Troy Ismir, MS

Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Spiritual Warrior Coach

troyismir.com

www.facebook.com/troyspiritualwarrior

Spiritual Warriors Unite Podcast

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Gotta Get Away

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Gotta Get Away

The busyness of life. The simplicity of life. Being over-scheduled. Having the freedom of time. Feeling rushed. Living life at a slow pace. Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling deep inner peace. Feeling unfulfilled. Having a deep sense of purpose.

What life are you living? What life do you want to live? I know for me I want to live a simple life, have freedom of time, feel inner peace and joy while living life with a deep sense of purpose.

I think the majority of us do just the opposite. We are too busy and over-scheduled. We feel rushed and overwhelmed, lacking inner peace and purpose.

LESS IS MORE

I love the idea of less is more. This is the lifestyle I am dreaming about. This is the life I am imagining and working on creating for myself. I deeply desire to make a huge impact in the world and also find a way to do it without sacrificing my health and quality of life.

As I think about how Jesus modeled this, he would preach to the masses and then go be by himself to pray, meditate and be with His Father. How often do we forget this part of our life? Time alone. Time to think and pray. To create. Time to be with our Heavenly Father. Time to just be still.

SOLITUDE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

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When I was considering leaving the pharmaceutical industry and moving to Colorado to start my fitness ministry, one of the things that helped me take a leap of faith was three days at the beach. I had three days of complete solitude.

I read the Bible, the Purpose Driven life by Rick Warren and Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I took two hour walks on the beach. I wrote down every thought that God put on my heart.

I am going to share some of my fears and insights on that life changing three day gotta get away trip.

Our fears can hold us back from living the life of our dreams. I know that historically has been the case for me and something I still battle. As I look back at my journal here were my three biggest fears.

MY THREE BIGGEST FEARS

Fear #1: The fear of being alone. I was married for eighteen years and at the time I went away for my three day gotta get away trip I had been divorced for six years. The fear of being alone is something I have always struggled with.

Fear #2: Not living the life I was created to live. Being unfulfilled. I think we all fear that we are not living our life to our full potential. That we are wasting our time here on earth. Life is too short not to feel fully alive, but the desire for comfort and security usually outweighs our desire for adventure and the willingness to embrace uncertainty.

Fear #3: Money…not having any. I had a six figure job at this time. I had a steady paycheck. The fear in the back of my mind was do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Am I good enough to be successful at having my own business? There are no guaranteed pay checks. Am I going to go broke and end up on the streets? Those were all very real fears that I had to overcome.

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I love the definition of courage. Courage is being afraid and doing it anyways. I am glad I had the courage to take a leap of faith and ultimately start my own fitness ministry.

Those were my three biggest fears and here are my four biggest insights.

MY FOUR BIG INSIGHTS

Insight #1: My life moving forward will be in complete dependence on God. I will be living for an audience of one. I will care less about what people think about me and know that God loves me unconditionally. I don’t need to be a people pleaser any more. It will be no more Mr. Nice Guy for me.

Insight #2: I will live a purpose driven life. As Rick Warren says in his opening sentence in his book The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” I made a decision that I will be mission focused in my life. I will live for a transcendent cause greater than myself. My purpose is to help people grow spiritually with fitness as the platform. I help people see themselves the way God sees them so they can overcome self-doubt and unworthiness and start to take chances on themselves and in life.

Insight #3: I will be my authentic self. I will show up in the world being me. I will love myself for who I am and who God created me to be. I will be vulnerable and share my story so people can go on this journey with me of living the life God created us to live.

Insight #4: I will be a Spiritual Warrior every day. This is what I wrote down in my journal of what it means to me to be a Spiritual Warrior:

· Live a life of adventure

· Embrace uncertainty

· Live with passion and courage

· Be disciplined internally and externally

· Have mental focus

· Have an attitude of persistence

· Train physically, mentally and spiritually every day

· Look to Jesus, the ultimate Spiritual Warrior as my model

If you are contemplating a big decision in your life, suffering from smoldering discontent or just feeling stuck and bored thinking there has to be more to life than this, I want to strongly encourage you to get away. Even if it’s for a day, but I highly recommend at least a long weekend. It could be the catalyst to living the life of your dreams.

Have I conquered all of my fears? Absolutely not. Have I perfected all of those insights I had from that trip? Absolutely not. I am a work in progress. But I do know that God can use me while he is working in me and through me. God doesn’t use perfect people, he uses willing people. I made a life changing decision in those three days that I would be willing. God knows I am far from perfect.

I don’t think I would have made the leap of faith if it wasn’t for those three transformative days in August of 2016. I eventually ended up leaving my job and moving to Colorado in May of 2017. As you can see this wasn’t a snap decision. It was thought out and planned.

I think many of us think about and plan to make many changes in our life, but we stop there. The big question is are you willing to take that leap of faith. Are you willing to take a chance on yourself? I think the only way to truly do that is to start to see yourself the way God sees you. To be the Spiritual Warrior you are created to be. To step into your greatness. To live a life of purpose and passion by overcoming your fears. If I can do it, you can too.

Troy Ismir, MS

Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Spiritual Warrior Coach

troyismir.com

www.facebook.com/troyspiritualwarrior

Spiritual Warriors Unite Podcast

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It’s NOT about the Fitness

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It’s NOT about the Fitness

It’s NOT about the Fitness

I love to work out.  It has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.  In elementary school starting around 5th grade I would get up two hours before I needed to be at school so I could run 5 miles before starting my school day.  

I would lace up my Converse shoes with the theme song from Rocky thumping through my brain.  I would get that runners high, even in elementary school.

Fast forward about forty years and I am still as passionate about fitness as I was when I was ten.  The only difference now is that it isn’t about the fitness. 

Now my time in the gym, my time on the bike, my outdoor adventures are all ways to draw closer to God.  To spend time in prayer.  To train my mind and spirit to be more like Christ.   Working out has become so much more than the way I look, which is a side benefit, but not my main priority. 

Pushing myself to my limits connects me to what Jesus has done for me on the cross.  A little suffering is good for my soul.  It makes me feel fully alive.

Now I recognize, not everyone loves to work out like I do.  In fact some people can’t stand it.  A lot of that has to do with our perspective on exercise and why we do it. 

We have made exercise so much about weight loss, burning calories and how we look that it becomes a very superficial experience.  Trust me I get it.  Bodybuilding for me was always about appearance.  I am so glad that I am moving away from the superficial and moving towards my health and physical well-being as being a vital part of my spiritual growth journey.

It’s NOT about the fitness.  It’s about being my best self physically, mentally and spiritually.  It’s about being more like Christ.  It’s about honoring God with every rep I do in the gym.  It’s about connecting with God in prayer and meditation when I am on the bike. 

What about for you?  How can you have a deeper spiritual experience through movement and fitness?  What if exercise wasn’t really about exercise, but about feeling fully alive.  About our lives being completely transformed from the inside out. 

So many people struggle with their health, weight and fitness.  I want to challenge you to think of fitness differently.  It’s really NOT about the fitness at all. 

It’s about honoring God with our body.  It’s about treating our body as the precious vessel that it is.  It’s about pushing our limits and becoming the best version of ourselves. 

My hope and prayer is that we become passionate about fitness, not just so we look a certain way, but because it will give us the abundance of energy that we need to do the work that God is calling us to do.

When we use our exercise time as a form of worship, it puts a whole new perspective on our why behind fitness.  In fact it’s really NOT about the fitness at all.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

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Are You Still Dreaming?

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Are You Still Dreaming?

Do you remember when you were a kid and you had all of these dreams of what your life was going to be like when you grew up.  I remember as a kid all I ever dreamed of was being a professional football player.  That was all I thought about and I had no doubt in my mind that dream would come true. 

I vividly remember getting my first real football helmet when I was around 8 years old.  It was a shiny purple Minnesota Vikings football helmet with those white and yellow Viking horns on the side.  I would throw passes to myself in my bedroom and jump for the ball and dive for it and land safely on my bed. 

Well that dream didn’t end the way I had planned.  My dreams of playing in the NFL were snuffed out when I had about the worst knee injury you could possibly have.  I tore my ACL, MCL, PCL and my medial meniscus after an opposing player fell directly on my knee as it was firmly planted in the ground.  In a fraction of a second my dreams were crushed. 

Ever since that fateful day I think I have been searching for a new dream, for a new purpose.  How about you?  What dreams were taken away from you in your youth?  Have you stopped dreaming?  Have you stopped hoping for a better life?  A life of vitality, purpose and adventure.  A life of significance. 

For many years I stopped dreaming.  I just got stuck in the day to day of life.  Don’t get me wrong, I have lived a blessed life despite the heart break of a devastating knee injury and a life shattering divorce.

I have two amazing children and overall my health is great.  A bionic knee and hip doesn’t stop me from working out every day and pushing my body to the limit. 

But at what point do we stop dreaming and thinking big?   At what point do we settle for mediocre and stop taking risks?   I think this has happened to most all of us.  We get disappointed in our lost dreams and our broken hearts and we just settle for playing it safe.  I will be the first to admit I have lived the majority of my life that way. 

Playing football is a risk in and of itself.  Every time I stepped on that field I knew there was a great risk, but I did it anyways.  I did it because I loved the game.  I loved going to battle with all of my teammates not knowing what the outcome was going to be.   I left most games, bruised, bloodied and beat up.  But I loved it.

I recently started dreaming again.  I decided life is too short to stop dreaming.  I decided to get back in the arena.  To risk getting bruised, bloodied and beat up.  Just in a different way.  I left my safe six figure income with all the benefits that go along with it to follow my dream or should I say God’s calling for my life. 

I was trying out a new church on Sunday in my new home town of Fort Collins, Colorado and the pastor was preaching on the subject of more.  It was based on the scripture Ephesians 3:20-21.  It says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!

What if we started dreaming again?  What if we got back in the arena and started to dream again like when we were a little kid?  What if we started to take risks again, not stupid risks, but risks that would make a difference in your life and the lives of others?

God can do more in our life that we can ever imagine.  His love is wide and deep for us.  God can do more than we can immeasurably ask or imagine, but we have to get back in the game.  Start dreaming again.  Stop settling for playing small. 

Start by asking God to open your eyes and heart to the dreams he has for you.  Think big.  Your dreams should scare you.  If you can accomplish your dreams on your own than you aren’t dreaming big enough.  Our dreams need to be so big that the only way to accomplish them is through 100% reliance on God’s strength. 

My dream is to have a fitness ministry that reaches people that would never know God otherwise.   I know I would have made many different decisions in my life if I would have had a personal relationship with God at a young age.   Fitness is my platform, but my message is about having a personal relationship with God. 

I have no idea how this is going to work.  I don’t know what doors are going to open and what doors are going to be slammed shut.  I know that my dreams are big and that I can’t do this on my own.  I am praying for energy, wisdom, patience and perseverance.  I pray that I can touch many people’s hearts and have an impact on many people’s lives.    

I want more.  I want to dream big dreams.   One of my favorite quotes is from Teddy Roosevelt.  “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of a high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”

My challenge to you is to start dreaming again.  Dream big.  Get back in the arena and embrace getting dusty, sweaty and a little bloody.  Remember this one thing as you go down this path.  It won’t be easy, but you don’t have to do this alone.  Call on God and he will guide and direct every step you take as you work to honor and glorify him.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

 

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