"Take the Next Right Step", I first heard that statement years ago when I was reading about some of the ministry going on at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana. It was something they encouraged everyone at their church to do, find the next right step that God is calling you to take and follow Him in taking that step. During my 6 years as Pastor at Lifegate I can't tell you how many times I encouraged our congregation to do just that. The problem is for the last 3 years, since my last ministry position ended, I haven't known what that step is for me.
Maybe that's not true, there have been a number of smaller steps that I know God's been calling me to take and I've been working on taking them, but I've been looking for that next BIG step, the next calling on my life, the next place of ministry, the next thing that God has given me a passion for. And while I've been waiting for that, it seems like life has been passing me by. I've spent way to many days and nights feeling sorry for my self, feeling depressed, feeling angry, wondering where I messed up that led us to this point, asking myself if I made the wrong decision when we decided to leave California or when we turned down a potential position in Seattle to come to Yakima. I've spent three years consumed by what ifs & working through a boatload of negative emotions about all the events that brought our family to this point. But that has to end today.
Today was an interesting confluence of events that are leading me to that next right step.
Event #1-Last week I signed up for #fitbyfirst a 30-day fitness challenge led by Carlos Whittaker. I know I've been putting on weight since we left California & I've tried, at times, to get it under control, but it always seems to come back. These last three years have been especially rough, because I've come to realize that one way I numb my negative feelings is by eating-so I've been doing that a lot these last few years. So for me, part of the next right step is starting to lose some of this weight.
Event #2-This morning at our church, Restoration, Pastor Kevin started a new sermon series, Redeeming Ruth. One thing he said stuck with me. He said "When life hits you hardest, the road to redemption starts with returning to God." It feels like life's been hitting us pretty hard for the last few years, and although I've never turned away from God, I haven't been pursuing Him or what He has called me to do with the passion and love I should. So for me that road has to start today, I need to pursue God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, follow Him everyday and see where He leads me.
So, to close all this-I have an assignment from Carlos for #fitbyfirst. Why & When
First, why am I starting this 30 day challenge? For myself & for my family. I want to be around for my family for a long time and need to be in good shape so that can happen and as I get older I want to continue to be active and enjoy my life. I've spent way to much time sitting around and letting life pass me by-I need to jump back in.
Second, When, when did I stop caring about my health? Good question, I don't know that I ever started. I'd always had high metabolism and been fairly active, so I never really had to worry about being in shape until I left youth ministry. When I became a Senior Pastor my life became much more sedentary, but my eating habits never changed, that was also around the time I turned 40. My life and body began to change and I didn't make the changes I needed to to counter that. So that's why I'm trying to start today.