Fitness

Health is MORE than just physical…

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This is not a topic that I’ve ever been very vocal about. It’s not because I’m embarrassed, nor am I ashamed. Simply put, I’m terrible at explaining things. I’ve always felt that if I was to try to share my faith with someone, I would confuse them, leave them with even more questions than they had beforehand, or drive them away.

I’ve always wanted to be able to share what I’ve learned about God, I just… didn’t know how. What do you say? How are you supposed to convince someone? What do you do if you end up pushing them away instead of bringing them closer to God? What if I come off as “judgy”? (These are just a few of the questions that run through my mind.)

I’m a TERRIBLE conversationalist. I’m awful at explaining things or giving any type of verbal direction. I need TIME to contemplate and create a response, to think about what I’m really trying to say… The feeling of need to share my experiences has been growing over the last few months. I’m awkward. How do you start that conversation with someone? Then one day, last month, an incredible gift comes along…this blog! *dingdingdingdingding* Turns out.. I’m way better at writing out what I’m thinking than actually vocalizing it. I’ve come to the conclusion that THIS right here, is where I’m supposed to share what I’ve learned. What do I have to lose, right? This will have been a success if it causes JUST 1 of you to reconsider where your life is heading. So, without further adieu, Here’s MY story:

I attended private schools from kindergarten to senior year. I started at a Christian school, went to a Catholic school then eventually ended up back at a Christian school. I spent the first 18 years of my life having Christian values hammered and drilled into my head. God, Jesus and Christianity were very familiar to me from a very young age. It’s what I was taught, so, naturally, it’s what I believed. After graduation, when I left that safe, sheltered environment, it felt really strange. I was no longer hearing about God on a daily basis, I wasn’t attending church or any kind of college group, and there were days and even weeks that I didn’t even think about God. Something felt off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I began to wonder if I ever truly believed at all, or, if it’s just what I was told I believed.

I had gotten a job right out of high school where I worked with a lot of people that were all around my age. Naturally, they would ask me where I graduated from. When I would tell them about the tiny little Christian school I came from, I would notice some of their facial expressions change or would get a response like, “…….Oh.” Every now and then, the subject of religion would come up. I began to notice that the main term that surrounded Christianity was “judgemental”. I guess I couldn’t blame them. Personally, I had several past experiences with feeling judged by people I knew were Christians.

Obviously, I’m not perfect. No one is (We’ve been over this.) Even while I attended a Christian school, I had a huge problem with swearing. I used to say “I have the mouth of a sailor and the temper of an Italian housewife.” Seriously though, my language was way more colorful than it ever should have been. So that’s how people saw me, and I know it was wrong. I shouldn’t have behaved that way but I was a stupid kid. I was judged for it. I was also judged for my warped sense of humor and not attending church. I’d still say the language I use is my biggest issue but at least now I’m AWARE of how that looks and try to control it (As I get hungry, I begin to lose that control. Mike calls it Hangry). I don’t want my behavior to make someone that doesn’t know God, assume that that is how ALL Christians act. I’m a SINNER, I make mistakes. My point is that just because I curse, doesn’t mean all Christians speak that way. This also means that just because some Christians JUDGE, does NOT mean that all Christians are that way. EVERY Christian on this earth is ALSO a SINNER, everyone makes mistakes.

Bible verse Matthew 7:1

As the years went on, I could feel myself drifting further and further away from God. I just “didn’t have time” or I had “better” things to do. Things began to fall apart for me. School wasn’t going well. I couldn’t get into any of the programs I wanted. I hated my job. I hardly had any money. I didn’t have any direction. My mom got sick. I was angry and if one more person had said to me, “Everything happens for a reason” or “It’s all in God’s plan” I was seriously going to lose it. Nothing was going the way I had planned.

Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11

In July of last year (approximately 5 years after high school), while we were in Wisconsin, God made his way back onto my radar. The leader of our kayak trip was not only a businessman and an ER doc, he was also a Pastor. We spent that week talking about God and praying before every meal and it made me remember what I was missing. I loved it. 5 days in, we found ourselves in a situation that seriously had me believing I WAS going to DIE and all I could think about was my recent lack of faith. I remember repeating the same phrase over and over and over again. “Just get me out of this and I promise I’ll change.” Well, he got me out of it, obviously. I guess the ball’s in my court, huh? You might laugh at me, but that was just the wake up call I needed. I realized that perhaps things were going so wrong in my life because I had let God slip out, or rather, I pushed Him out. See, when we remove good from our lives, all that exists is bad. God is good. When I minimized him, the good things diminished also. When I began to focus on him again, the good began to return. I realized that I hated my job because I had become so negative. It wasn’t my job that had changed, it was my attitude. I found my direction with NASM. My mom is doing well. Things are looking up and I thank GOD for that. Our ultimate purpose after all is to praise God for all he’s done in our lives, and He’s definitely been working overtime in mine.

If you’ve managed to read this far, You may be asking yourself, “I thought this was a health and fitness blog, why are you talking about God?” You’re right, this post just happens to be less about physical health and more about spiritual (and emotional) health. Scripture can be applied to any part of our lives (personal, social and even professional.) It’s kind of neat how one person  interprets a verse or chapter one way, and someone else sees something completely different in it. I think it depends on the message that you need to hear at a particular time that determines how you interpret a particular part of scripture. For me, as I’ve made it a goal to study God’s word more, I’ve come across several references to STRENGTH. Clearly, these stand out to me because of my passion and future career. EEEK!

Bible verse Isaiah 40:31

We’ve all heard the verse about your body being a temple (The Holy Spirit resides within us, once we’re saved) and while this was originally warning against sexual immorality, I like to also associate it with being healthy. Technically, once you accept Jesus your body belongs to Him. It’s kind of like it’s borrowed. You wouldn’t treat something someone let’s you borrow, like junk, would you? Well, I would hope not anyway. What I’m saying is that being healthy, eating right and exercising isn’t only important to us and our bodies, but also to God.

In wrapping this “novel” of a post I’ve just written up, I’d like to reiterate 5 of the main lessons that I’ve learned. First, I realized that I didn’t believe only because I was taught too. I BELIEVE because I choose too. I realize now how lucky I was to have had years to learn about God’s love. No one can make you believe, it has to be your choice and your choice alone. If the thought is on your mind, He’s already working in your life. He just wants YOU to choose.

Second, If you’ve already accepted God but you don’t know how to go about sharing it with others, find the outlet that works best for you (For me, my blog). My big mistake was thinking it was my responsibility to convince. We DON’T have to convince anyone, that’s not our job. Our job is to just plant the seed of thought in their minds because like I said before, it’s ultimately THEIR choice. Once a nonbeliever hears the word, they’ll either dismiss or begin to seek answers. This is where God will step in.

Third, everyone on this earth is a sinner, even the best most righteous person you know. Some Christians have this idea that it’s their place to judge people that are different from them. God doesn’t want us to judge. He wants us to love. What ever lifestyle someone is living is their business. The only thing we as Christians are responsible for is to spread God’s word with LOVE, not hate or judgement.

Fourth, God will do what is necessary to wake us back up. When I was drifting away, he started hurling obstacles at me, not because He doesn’t love me, but because HE DOES. He wanted me to realize that I NEED HIM. Nothing was going my way and He wanted me to ask Him for help, it just took thinking I was going to die to do it.

Lastly, I was angry because my life wasn’t going the way I had planned. I had forgotten about God’s plan. When I was at my lowest, I got angry at the people that would say “Everything happens for a reason” and “it’s all in God’s plan”. I didn’t want to hear that because it wasn’t MY plan. Once I woke back up I realized it was God’s plan I needed to focus on. I gave him control and I found my path. If the programs I had tried to get into had accepted me, I might not be as happy as I am now. I wouldn’t have found NASM. If the first program had taken me, I wouldn’t have been able to be with my mom while she was sick. If I hadn’t asked God for help in the middle of Lake Superior, would I still be here? You see, everything really does happen for a reason. You just have to BELIEVE.

If you managed to read through all that you deserve a medal. I’d love to hear your thoughts or answer absolutely any questions at all. I’m going to try this thing where I include a Verse or Reference in every post going forward because I want God to be a part of this. Thanks for reading guys, Really.

Until next time…

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I'm a 26 year old NASM certified personal trainer with a corrective exercise specialization! My love for fitness and nutrition blossomed several years ago. It has changed my life. Now it's my mission to help and encourage all of you through my blog as well! Feel free to contact me!

10 Comments

  1. Dave

    March 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I don’t know where to begin. Every time I read your blog I think it can’t get any better, then BAM !!! You knock it outta the park ! There isn’t a day goes by that I’m not saying to myself…”stop judging” ! That was your best post yet…..I am very proud of you, you have found your calling!!

    • Wendy Matson

      March 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Homerun on that one!!!!

  2. Wendy Matson

    March 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Erin,
    Wow…. What can I say… That was beautifully written straight from your heart. I loved it.. I have been reading your blogs and you are wuite inspiring. I am so so sooooooo proud of you. You have found your “niche”…. And I knew that you would.
    Keep up the great job.. The great thoughts and totally inspiring, positive attitude.
    I love you so much… I will see you soon

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      March 17, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks aunt Wendy!

  3. Linda

    March 18, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I have read this twice. Just a wonderful gift you have given to me. Your thoughts on faith are spot on! Thank you for sharing your thoughts I just love this blog of yours!!!!!

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      March 18, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Thank you thank you. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  4. Goose's Dad

    March 20, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Excellent job again Erin, your thoughts were poignant and from the heart, not something someone your age normally can do, and do so well.
    Looking forward to the next “novel”, I am sure I will enjoy reading it as much as this one.
    Keep up the inspiring work.

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      March 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  5. Michelle

    March 20, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. one of my goals for the year was to go to church each Sunday because it made me feel so much better and to trust God more. I did so well the first 2 months of the year and my life was beginning to turn around. Once I let life get in the way I stopped praying as much, stopped attending church and I’m losing my focus and things just seem to be harder. Thank you so much for posting this! I’m so happy I found you on IG even if I was following you for our common love for fitness, I’m so glad you blog about more!

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      March 20, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      You have no idea how happy I am to hear that, Michelle. I’m so glad that it helped you. Thank you.

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