fitness, fear and former things.

I've been working out a little bit lately.
Those of you that know me, know that this is headline news.
I am not a person who works out.
I am a person who inadvertently gets exercise while riding my bike to an ice cream shop, dancing like a fool at a wedding or running to catch a bus.

I am a person who lives above a yoga studio, yet has only attended one class even though my membership is discounted and only then because I was promised sushi afterward.

I am a person who wears athletic gear to run errands for the smug and ridiculous satisfaction that the strangers around me probably think I came from some sort of cardio class. Suckers.

I've had my fair share of beach highs, How I Met Your Mother highs, and even cheese highs...but I've yet to understand the famed 'runner's high'. And, luckily (thankfully) my Asian metabolism graciously allows for this.
But lately, I have been on a Chris Powell high.
Is anyone else out there a fan of Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition? No? Well, that's weird.
Chris Powell is a personal trainer who became famous for helping one of America's heaviest men lose over 400 pounds in 2 years. He travels around the country, facilitating these year-long 'transformations' of the country's obese, and documents their weight-loss journey. He looks like a beautiful little G.I. Joe, sounds like a teenage boy and HE MAKES YOU WANT TO GET RIPPED.His first workout with a client is what he calls the 'fight or flight workout'. He says he can tell within the first hour of the workout how the rest of his year with this client is going to go. He pushes them farther than he knows their physical capabilities to be, so he can watch how they react. Most of them give up and try to walk away. They say "I can't! You don't understand!" and he will always come back with a resounding,


Chris gets it.

Every single one of these people end up blurting it out. It's always, always trauma. Abandonment, abuse, rape, failure, loss - Chris ever so compassionately explains that this is how people become morbidly obese. They don't just love food. They're all burying fear, burying that nasty voice in their head that whispers lies all day long. We all have that voice, we just drown it out differently: drugs, alcohol, relationships, knowledge, fitness, music, From the first second of the workout, Chris shouts encouragement at his clients. He tells them,

"You are worthy! I chose you! You can do this! You are capable!"

- and he says if you watch closely, you can see the moment when they stop listening to him - when the struggle exposes that fear and they start listening to its voice instead. He says you can see their physical stats drop, their energy decrease, their focus waver. And as a viewer, it gets frustrating. You think What is wrong with you people!? Here is a nationally recognized expert in weightloss! He spent the last few days at a health institute with you, determining exactly what your body is capable of! Why would you doubt him??

But that's the thing about fear, especially when you're used to burying it: Fear gets loud when you start to fight it.

Sometimes truth sneaks up on you.

Sometimes when you watch TV to hide from your own problems, God says 'nice try' and teaches you anyways. Sometimes the most important lessons come from the most unlikely sources.

Mine came from a 355 pound woman named Jacqui. She was the saddest, most insecure person I had seen on the show and I was certain she would be a 'flighter'. When that breaking point came, Chris told her,"There's the door - you can leave whenever you want to."

This poor girl was sobbing from sheer exhaustion but she struggled to her feet and she said,

"I can't let my fear own me any longer."

And isn't that what it boils down to?

We've been over this. We know we're created for a fight, not flight. We know we're created to fight side by side. We know we have tools to give each other the courage we need.

And at the end of the day, who owns you?

What voice are you listening to?

I mean really listening, not just hearing and acknowledging. I mean trusting with all of your heart, your future, your health, your finances, your beginnings and your endings.

We all have that voice in our head that whispers lies. Call it Insecurity, Stress, Doubt, Sadness, Anxiety - it goes by many names, but if it's not Love, it's Fear.


I know that whoever you are, you are fighting a battle, in some way or another.
Maybe it's a smaller battle, one that nibbles at you a little every day, but doesn't own you. Maybe it's the fiercest of your life and you feel alone. You are not.

There's another voice. The voice of an expert. The being who knit your cells together. The being who has already numbered your days and charted your path. The being who knit Himself some cells, just so he could come down here and have them torn apart to show us this:

You are WORTHY!

I CHOSE you!

You CAN do this!

You ARE capable.


Because Fear is a liar and we have a choice, always a choice, about who we listen to.

These battles have been fought. He goes ahead of us to be sure.

Sometimes, when I lose focus, get weak, give in to Fear, I think of the Israelites in Deuteronomy. God has gone ahead of them into the Promised Land,  conquered the giants who lived there and then He says, exasperated - "This is your land! I fought to give it to you! Go up and take possession of it!"

This is your life. This is my life.

I don't have all of the answers, but I do know that listening Fear is always a waste of time. These are our battles, but the voice that will give us the strength and courage to overcome is not the lies in our heads. It is the voice that says:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.

Because you are precious in my eyes,

and honored,

and I love you.

Remember not the former things,

nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.

::Isaiah 43