Why I Gave Up on “The Best Version of Myself”

I’m willing to risk it all for a person that gave me everything I need. Let me explain…

This past year has been one of the most difficult years of my life. I’ve felt more stress, more anxiety and more uncertainty about the direction I’m headed than ever before. About 18 months ago I decided to open a gym with two of my friends. Over a year later, tens of thousands of dollars down the drain and more than a dozen failed attempts at finding a space, I felt the panic of what felt like a colossal mistake. Wondering if our team had made a massive error, we collectively decided to pause and pray about whether we should cut our losses and move on.

I set out on this journey to help others see a health and fitness transformation. Many people have invested in me and encouraged me on my journey, and I wanted to help others in the same way. Beyond that, I have a desire for my searching Eastside neighbors to see total life transformation like I have.

For me, my fitness is closely linked to my understanding of who God is and what I believe Jesus did on my behalf. I’ve discovered that I don’t have to live beat down about my continual failure and inability to be “a little bit fitter every day.” The fact is, the pursuit of being better every day is exhausting and full of disappointment.  I’ve found rest in knowing that God the Father looks at me and fully loves and accepts me, despite my often poor habits and choices.

 “How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” 2 Cor. 5:21 (MSG)

Admitting my own inability to live “better” every day, I’ve found total freedom in a God who provides rest and contentment through His ability to do what I can’t. He sees the perfect reputation of His son rather than my own flawed and fickle self. I’ve found total freedom in admitting that I am not enough and that I am a continual failure on my own. I’ve found hope in living in a way that simply says “Thank You” to a God who provided a perfect substitute on my behalf. As I look at the beauty of who Jesus is, I find forgiveness for my shortcomings and inspiration to live in a way that reflects the way God has loved me. This is the new way of living that I’ve experienced in response to the gospel.

Having an ownership team of faith-filled people has allowed us to look beyond our own self-interest to consider what God has for us as a group pursuing what will ultimately help make Jesus famous—as that is our ultimate priority. Our shared faith in God’s ability to lead us through His Spirit inspired us to pray more and worry less. The risk of loss wasn’t eliminated, and still isn’t, but we found confidence in knowing that God promises to provide for our needs (Phil. 4:19) and helps give us direction when we look to Him (Prov. 3:5-6).

From the beginning, this venture has been about more than just opening a fitness facility. It’s been about connecting with the Eastside of Syracuse and sharing with an open hand all that has been shared with us. I have an unwavering passion to be a part of my Eastside community. I can’t shake the feeling that I have something worth sharing with those who are searching.

From my experience, overeating and poor self-care are as much spiritual issues as they are physical. We believe our new gym space will be a place to consider our purpose beyond the exhausting idea of being the best version of ourselves. No pressure, but instead welcomed conversation. From my own experience, I’ve come to realize that this challenging part of life—health and fitness—is an area where many people need to experience the healing power of freedom found in Jesus.

What if our health and fitness were more than a never-ending selfish pursuit of having a healthier body and getting a little bit better every day? What if we could rest in the idea that we are fully loved and fully accepted even when we fail to be “better” than we were the day before?

As we look at who God is, we find inspiration to live beyond the pursuit of our own self-improvement. We see His beauty in the intricacy of our bodies, His rescue from our past decisions and the consistency of His character when our own is often unpredictable. When we look to Jesus, we find hope—hope worth sharing with our neighbors. Will you join the conversation?

 

Here are some additional resources:

Jesus is better – Halim Suh Sermon Jam by Newsong Church Hawaii

Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Tim Keller via Talks at Google

Living on Mission from Saturate

 

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