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My Journey from a Personal Trainer to a Fitness Minister

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My Journey from a Personal Trainer to a Fitness Minister

I remember when I was a teenager and someone had asked me if I was going to be a pastor like my dad. I recall looking at that particular guy like he had a third eye. I politely responded no, but in my mind I was thinking that there was no way I would every pursue ministry. In fact, the last place I wanted to be on that Sunday morning was church. It was always a check the box kind of experience for me. I would have much rather been outside doing my thing. Playing sports or something at least a little more fun than being preached at.

In fact, my teenage years were marked by rebellion. A little too much drinking and looking for external validation from the girls. Thank goodness my passion for sports kept me from getting into too much trouble. But being a minister? All I could think of was hell no. I was going to be a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings. That dream was as clear as could be.

But God had a different plan for my life. We all have defining moments in our lives. I just didn’t know it was going to happen on a Saturday afternoon in October of 1986 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. That was the day the world came crashing in on me. That was the day my knee and my life would never be the same. My knee went in a direction it wasn’t supposed and my life followed in a direction it wasn’t supposed to either.

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Pursuing my Dream of Playing in the NFL

I was a sophomore at the University of North Dakota pursuing my dream of being a professional football player. When you grow up in North Dakota the two best options of playing college football were the University of North Dakota or North Dakota State University. My path lead me to play at UND. It was a dream come true to play at the college level. I was only one step away of having my dream realized.

I wasn’t the greatest athlete in the world, but I knew I could out work anyone. I was fast and determined. One piece of feedback I always got from my coaches was that I was very coachable. If my coaches told me to do something, I would do it and a little bit more. That’s how I was wired.

After a disappointing freshman season in college, I was determined to get bigger, faster and stronger. I worked the hardest I could possibly work during the summer to get ready for my second year of college ball. The high heat and humidity of a North Dakota summer didn’t keep me from running sprints mid-afternoon in the solitude of determined greatness.

When we started two a day practice my coaches were blown away by how fit I was. I led all of the sprints. I showed them I was ready to be a leader and be the best defensive player on the team.

Life Can Change in an Instant

At the time of the fateful play that destroyed my knee and my identity, I was the leading tackler on the team. It’s amazing how life can change in an instant. My pre-determined life path of playing professional football was literally derailed in a fraction of a second. I went from having a dream of playing professional football, to just hoping to walk normally again.

With my foot planted firmly on the artificial turf of the University of North Dakota playing field all I remember was a 290 pound offensive lineman fell directly on the lateral side of my knee and my lower leg going in the opposite direction that it was designed to go. I knew the instant it happened my career was over. The pain was so immense I went into shock.

I was carted off of the field and into the locker room where my mom and dad met me. I was sobbing and telling my parents “it’s over.” I am done with football. I remember my mom saying I am so glad it’s not your neck. You are going to be ok.

I had surgery a few days later. After the surgery I was told by the orthopedic surgeon that it was the worst knee injury he had ever seen. I figured if I was going to do something I might as well do it right. It turns out I tore my anterior, posterior and medial cruciate ligaments otherwise known as the terrible triad. And man was it terrible.

Back in those days the incisions were long. I have scars on both sides of my knee that add up to over a foot of scars. I have a screw that to this day you can visibly see and feel holding my knee together. I have forty staple marks on my knee and the muscle that makes up my quadriceps known as the vastus medialis is non-existent. I am limited in my range of motion where I can bend it only slightly past 90 degrees and I am missing about 15 degrees of full extension.

Those are the physical scars, but what really made my life go wheels off at that time were the emotional scars. That’s the hardest part because people don’t see what is going on deep inside our souls.

As a kid growing up my identity was wrapped up in being an athlete. I was the star on the baseball team, basketball team, baseball team and yes the football team. We won the state football championship my senior year at Bismarck High School. I made the interception that spring boarded us to an amazing win. I will never forget that day and that feeling. There was nothing better than being part of a team of guys all battling for a victory.

Lost Identity

After I blew out my knee, I was completely lost. I lost my battle mates. I lost my identity as Troy the star football player. I had nothing else. Everything was taken away from me. I fell in a deep pit of loneliness. I was isolated from the team. I was in a cast for two months. I remember when they took my cast off I didn’t even recognize my leg. It was a shriveled up piece of meat with staples sticking out everywhere. I remember breaking down and crying.

I missed about a month of school. I didn’t want to drop out or delay my education. I dug down deep and found a way to get back to class. I got a handicap sticker for my car. Driving to class was an adventure. I would drive to class with my casted leg up on the seat while driving with my left foot. I had to get real creative, but I was determined not to quit. Fortunately, I was a good student and was able to keep pursuing my degree.

While all of this was happening, I started spending more and more time lifting weights by myself as part of my rehab. It was just me and the iron. I was no longer part of the team. I tried coaching for a while, but it was just too hard. I didn’t want to be around it if I couldn’t play. To this day it’s hard for me to watch football. I would rather watch golf as watching football brings up so many memories for me. Some good, but many of them bring back hurt and heart break.

Intense Passion for Health and Fitness

As I was spending more and more time in the weight room I was feeling my depression being lifted. I was finding something I could replace my identity as a football player with. My identity was slowly transitioning to Troy the bodybuilder. As is my pattern I went all in. I started lifting weights religiously. I started taking nutrition and exercise physiology classes in college. I had already declared psychology as my major, but I started to develop this intense passion for health and fitness. It started to fill the deep, dark hole from football. I was finding a new identity.

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I got a job at a local gym. I started to hang out with bodybuilders. I started to learn what I could do with my body through weight lifting. I became obsessed. One thing I want to make clear. I have NEVER done steroids or any illegal substance for that matter. I don’t believe in them. To this day because of my physique at the age of 52 people have questioned if I take steroids or human growth hormone. To me that never did make sense. That was cheating. I believe in a good old fashioned work ethic. Yes, looking great at that time was really important to me, but never at the sacrifice of screwing up my body for life.

I became so passionate about health and fitness I decided to go on and get my Master’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Utah graduating in 1993. That has taken me on a path of being in the health and fitness industry both full time and part time for over twenty-five years. I took a detour for seventeen years of being in pharmaceutical sales, but had always been at least a part time personal trainer.

I am Changing

I have always loved helping people reach their health and fitness goals. Whether it was helping an elite athlete get bigger, faster and stronger or a general fitness client to lose weight. I found deep satisfaction in helping people reach their goals. I love to geek out on nutrition and exercise physiology. I am always learning and wanting to get better at my craft. I will always be passionate about health and fitness. That will never change. But something is changing. I am changing.

About ten years ago I gave my life to Christ. I went through a devastating divorce about ten years ago. I was crushed and heart broken. I lost the single most important thing in my life, my family. I was lost, broken and desperate. It was at that time I realized that no matter how physically fit I was, I wasn’t going to be able to move forward without some type of spiritual guidance in my life.

In my moments of darkness I would pick up the Bible and start to read it. I had really no idea at the time what it meant, but it gave me some sense of peace. It gave me some sense of hope. I would find myself reading and praying for hours.

God started to bring people in to my life that spoke words of encouragement into me. I started going to church for the first time in years and I began to realize church was so much more than a check the box experience. It was about developing a personal relationship with God. It wasn’t about image or performance as I was led to believe. For the first time in my life I actually belonged to a church family.

Once God got a hold of my heart I knew there was no turning back. I wanted to learn and grow as much as possible. That’s when I knew that God was calling me to more. That’s when I knew that I was called to start to integrate my passion for fitness with my growing passion for my faith.

That’s when God put this vision on my heart to start the Divine Wellness Academy. This is a ten week course that helps people understand the connection between their physical and spiritual health. So many people struggle with their health and try to make lasting lifestyle changes, but are challenged to overcome self-limiting beliefs that keep them from truly stepping into the life that God created them to live.

The vision that God put on my heart is to turn the fitness industry upside down. I want to do for health and fitness what Dave Ramsey has done for finances. When it comes down to it, until we see ourselves the way God sees us, we are always going to struggle to change. We are always go to struggle to live our best life. We won’t feel worthy and will have self-doubt expressed through every fiber of our being. Therefore we will live a safe life not willing to take a chance on ourselves.

Called to be Revolutionary

As I look back at my life, I have struggled with self-doubt for years. I think if we are honest most of us have. As God has put this vision on my heart there are many days I feel overwhelmed by what I am asked to do. To not only have an impact in this world that is desperately in need of better physical health, but to truly share the love of Jesus with everyone I meet. I am being called to help churches do fitness and gyms do ministry. To be a leader in this area. To be revolutionary.

I have always thought of myself as a personal trainer and to think of myself as a minister has really freaked me out. As I shared earlier, I have never thought of myself as being a pastor. It’s the last thing in the world I ever thought would be part of my life. I have put up resistance to this in my life even to the point of having health issues do to my body resisting this calling. It’s so much easier and safer to call myself a personal trainer. But I know I am so much more than a personal trainer. I am a healer. I heal peoples’ souls. I just use fitness as a platform.

Ministers are Servants

I was curious about what the actual definition of a minister is so I looked it up. This is what it says on gotquestions.org about what is a Christian minister? “A minister is, literally, a servant. In the Bible, the role of the minister is not linked to licensing or being an official wielding some kind of authority. In Romans 5:16, Paul says that he was called to be a “minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. (God) gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Following in Paul’s footsteps, any person who desires to serve God by “proclaiming the gospel so that…others might become sanctified by the Holy Spirit” is a Christian minister. Broadly speaking, being a servant of Christ makes one a Christian minister.

So there you have it. As Christians we are all called to be ministers. To be servants. To show people the love of Jesus. So why have I and so many other Christians been resistant to being ministers. For me personally, I haven’t fully stepped into my calling yet. I gave my life to Christ ten years ago and it has been a slow process and often times painful process of seeing myself the way God sees me. I have lived a smaller life because of believing the seeds of self-doubt that have been planted in my mind.

This is the area of my life that I am working really hard on as we speak. The life I live will only be as powerful and impactful as the way I see myself. If I don’t see myself as worthy I won’t live a life that is worthy.

If I don’t see myself as a minister that can change the world, than I won’t change the world. If I don’t see myself as a servant, than I will continue to put my own needs before others.

See Ourselves the Way God Sees Us

So how do we start to see ourselves the way God sees us? I believe it starts by not only reading the Bible, but believing what the Bible says about us. How come it is so much easier to believe the lies of the enemy instead of the truth of God? It’s a daily battle for sure.

Meditation

I have also been spending a lot of time meditating. When I do this consistently in my life I always have a deeper sense of inner peace. For whatever reason I let life get in the way of this life changing habit and stop doing it from time to time. It’s amazing how just ten minutes a day of meditation can make a huge difference.

Surround Ourselves with other Godly People

We also need to surround ourselves with other godly people that will speak the truth into us and encourage us. Just in the last few days I have had two people speak words of love and encouragement into me. They see more of the minister in me than I do. I have to hear and receive those words and most importantly believe the words they are speaking into my life.

Personal Trainer Mindset to Fitness Minister Mindset

Any time we are making major changes in our lives there is going to be resistance. Going from a personal trainer mindset to a fitness minister mindset is a major change and one that I have been transitioning to for some time now. I am starting to change the way I see myself. I am starting to step into the work that God is calling me to do. I am a fitness minister who just happens to know a lot about personal training.

I am here as a servant of Christ. As believers we are all ministers. When we all step into that role is when we will collectively change the world. We are all on a journey. Spiritual growth is always an ongoing process. We are all works in progress. It’s amazing to look back on that day that happened many years ago when that man asked me if I was going to be a pastor like my dad. I am proud to say yes. I am now a minister like my dad. I know my dad would be very proud.

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 All about Radical Love

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It's All about Radical Love

What if we were radical lovers of ourselves the way Jesus loves us? It’s really challenging to live our best life when we don’t take care of our physical health the way God wants us to. If you have tried to get healthy and lose weight time and time again without lasting results trying a different approach may be the answer. What if all the choices you made around your physical, emotional and spiritual health were made out of the context of love? How would that change your perspective and your choices?

Love the Foods that Love us Back

The first thing you need to do is to start to love food again. So many people have such an unhealthy relationship with food they get to the point of being neurotic about it. Becoming obsessed with food, binging and then restricting food, over consuming food, inhaling food and then feeling guilty about it. This is not a love relationship with food but an unhealthy obsession.

Loving foods that love you back means being able to enjoy foods. To taste it and to delight in the fact that you are eating foods that are contributing to your health. The solution to overeating and chronically obsessing about food is getting away from the notion of restriction and deprivation. Getting away from the idea of good and bad foods. Getting away from the emotional attachment of food is one of the best ways you can love the foods that love you back. It means you can take it or leave it. You can enjoy food if you are hungry, you can walk away from it if you aren’t.

Foods that love you back are the ones that contribute to your health and well-being. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy fats are the foods that will love you back. Healthy eating is not a punishment, but a reward. Does that mean you can’t ever have your favorite sweet? Absolutely not. It simply means you want to eat the foods that love you back and when you do choose to eat a “treat food” you enjoy it and savor it without the guilt that usually comes along with it. It’s all about love when you love the foods that love you back.

Love Ourselves Enough to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

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I see so many people struggle with their health from lack of exercise, poor eating habits and being overweight and obese. This may sound like strong language, but not taking care of ourselves is a form of self-hate. Eating foods that contribute to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease is not an act of self-love. It is vitally important that we be kind to ourselves. This self-love shows up through regular exercise, daily quiet time, eating nourishing foods, proper rest and stress management.

Do you love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle? You get to ask yourself that great question every time you put something into your mouth. Take control of your eating, exercise consistently and get proper rest and you will take control of your health. It’s all about love when you love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle.

It’s all about Love When we Serve Others

The greatest form of love is serving others. We take care of ourselves so we can serve others. If you truly want to make a contribution to this world you will put other’s needs before your own. Helping others is a sign of love. How you serve others should be tied to the gift that God gave you.

You may be at the stage of life where your greatest service is your kids. Where you put their needs before your own. As a parent of two young adults I know the sacrifice that it takes to raise them and put their every need before your own. It’s the most selfless thing we can do.

We can also serve at our church, through work or by volunteering. There are always opportunity to serve and this is the greatest sign of love. Miracles happen daily when we ask God what we can do for Him and how we can serve others.

When we make our life about radical love both by loving ourselves and loving others we live and create in a whole different way. Our life becomes more fulfilling and satisfying. We live radically when we love food that loves us back, love ourselves enough to live a healthy lifestyle and show love through serving. We will reap many rewards when you make it all about love.

Troy Ismir, MS

Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Spiritual Warrior Coach

troyismir.com

www.facebook.com/troyspiritualwarrior

Spiritual Warriors Unite Podcast

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Inner Peace...Where are You?

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Inner Peace...Where are You?

Why does inner peace seem so elusive? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like I find it for a period of time and then it mysteriously slips away. And when it does slip away there is little joy in my life.

Worry and Fear Rob our Inner Peace

The two biggest robbers of our inner peace are worry and fear. I worry about trying to make everyone happy and fear rears its ugly head when I fully step into sharing my voice on my entrepreneurial adventure.

I made a commitment to myself that I would write a blog post every day for the next 365 days. I do love to write. In the past I have written pretty conservative blog posts mainly about fitness and nutrition. Two of my biggest passions. But as my life as matured and evolved my faith has really become the most important thing in my life and that is what I am finding that I am writing about more and more these days. I am still very passionate about health and fitness, but without Jesus in my life, nothing else really matters.

What’s Your Resistance?

As I have been expressing my voice over the last ten days and showing more of my authentic self I started to get the worst sore throat and terrible mouth pain all on my right side. I was trying to understand what was going on and why this was happening. After I did some research and consulting I realized that there was resistance showing up sharing my authentic voice.

I have always believed in energy centers to some extent, but not fully understanding how our emotions and what we are thinking and feeling effects our body. The 5th energy center or chakra is the area of the throat. To be open and aligned with the 5th energy center is to speak, listen, and express ourselves from a higher form of communication.

Interestingly enough, as soon as I decided I was going to put my voice out there more in the form of writing my throat closed up. I have experienced intense throat, mouth and tongue pain and my body feels exhausted. I have also felt very tense and out of sorts for the last week. I have had little joy and inner peace.

After this realization, I believe I am under some level of spiritual attack. As I share more about my faith and what Jesus means to me in my life, it’s a little uncomfortable. Thoughts of what will people think of me swirl through my head. 

Be Your Authentic Self…No Matter What

Writing about fitness is safe. Fitness will always be a big part of my life, but as I step off the fitness platform a little more and step onto the faith platform, I realize the dynamic completely changes. My life’s work is the integration of faith and fitness. As I truly express myself not everyone is going to agree or like what I have to say. I am going to have to be OK with that. Certainly not everyone liked what Jesus had to say.

As I step into my speaking and writing ministry and fully express who I am and the huge impact I want to make in the world, I realize that my biggest obstacle is me and the resistance I am putting up. It has shown up big time with severe physical symptoms that pretty much wiped me out this past week.

Jesus is Rest for our Soul

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I now understand that Jesus can be the only one that can bring me rest and peace to my soul. I am going to write what is being put on my heart. I am going to pray and meditate that I will have inner peace regardless of my circumstances. I will let go of control and embrace the uncertainty of life and trust God and all of His promises. That is the only way to true inner peace.

I will leave you with this scripture that says it all about inner peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 To answer the question, inner peace where are you? It is in the hope we have in Jesus. Pray and meditate on that my friends.

Troy Ismir, MS

Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Spiritual Warrior Coach

troyismir.com

www.facebook.com/troyspiritualwarrior

Spiritual Warriors Unite Podcast

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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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Consistency has Always been the Biblical Pattern for Success

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Consistency has Always been the Biblical Pattern for Success

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:8

Everyone is our Teacher

God puts people in our lives just at the right time and brings us a message that we need to hear and learn from. Everyone that is currently in our lives and that will come into our lives is our teacher.

One of my greatest teachers and mentors has been Pastor Byron Bledsoe from C3 Church in Orlando. I was far from God when I first met him and was going through a “bring me to my knees” divorce. I have learned so much from Pastor Byron over the years. He is full of godly wisdom and also is so real. If you aren’t blessed to have someone like this in your life, I would make this one of your top prayers.

One of Pastor Byron’s often repeated statements that has had a profound impact in my life is this; “Consistency has always been the Biblical pattern for success.” How many of us start out strong for a week or two or even a few months with every intention of making transformative changes in our lives and then we start missing a day or two here and there and the next thing we know our consistency is out the window and we are back to square one.

I have been guilty of this faulty pattern in my life from writing, to podcasting, to meditating, to praying and the list goes on. There are some areas that I am very consistent in such as working out and spending time in the Word. I will give myself grace for that. But I know there is so much more that God has put on my heart.

I Love to Write

I love to write. As I look back at my life, I have always been a voracious reader and I find peace in my heart when I sit down to share my thoughts through the written word. It is nourishing and healing to me.

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I think of the profound impact the writings of Rick Warren, John Eldredge and Erwin McManus have on my life. My hope and prayer is that my writing will have the same transforming effect in your life that the aforementioned authors are having in my life.

That’s where the consistency comes in. That is why I have undertaken the 365 day challenge that I accepted a week ago. This is seven days in a row of writing for me. I hope at the end of the 365 days lives will be changed through my writing including my own.

I hope it touches the depth of your soul and inspires you to see yourself the way God sees you and you start to believe you are whole and worthy. That once you see yourself the way God sees you, you will recognize that it’s time to take a chance on yourself and live the life God created you to live.

Transform Your Life through Consistency

If I want to be a prolific writer, I have to write every day because I want to be great at it and change peoples’ lives through my writing. What is it for you that you want to be great at? What are you going to commit to doing every day for the next 365 days? Maybe it’s getting healthy so you are going to commit to eating healthy every day for the next 365 days. Maybe for you it’s reading the Bible every day for the next 365 days. Maybe it’s telling your spouse and your kids how much you love them every day for the next 365 days.

No matter what it is for you, consistency has always been the Biblical pattern for success. I know you can do this. I know you have self-discipline in you. I know you are destined for greatness. Take on that 365 day challenge and see how God will transform your life.

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

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