Keep Pushing Play – My One Year Workout-iversary


One year ago today I was fed up.

Fed up with my weight. Fed up with my belly. Fed up with the way I looked. And I decided to make a change. One year ago today I pressed play for the very first time. I had received my P90x DVD series in the mail, bought a few dumbbells, a yoga mat and a pull-up bar. I created a little area in my basement and determined to get up early every morning, put in the DVD and push play. I did just that. And it was hard, REALLY HARD.

But I kept pushing play.

Every morning, I got up, drank a couple glasses of water and went downstairs and pushed play. I didn’t miss a single workout. Sometimes I had to do it on the road, sometimes I had to do it late at night, but I did it. Every day. Every single day. I finished p90x in September and took a little break, then did the follow up series “P90x Plus” off and on through the holidays, waiting for the next hole in my calendar that would allow me to begin another program. I began BodyBeast at the end of January and have been lifting 6 days a week since. I feel great. I haven’t been sick a single day in over a year. I don’t have allergies for the first time in forever. And it’s still work, but it’s firmly embedded in my lifestyle now. My son asked me if I was addicted to working out, and I responded. “No, but I am committed to it.”

I am very pleased with where I’m at compared to where I imagined myself to be one year ago.

I would stare in the mirror, suck in my belly and say, I’m going to look like this someday. I now I do. And I don’t starve myself, in fact, I eat more. I had pie twice this week. But I don’t eat stupid stuff, like potato chips and fast food. And I don’t miss it. I don’t eat breaded chicken, I have Fro-Yo instead of ice cream, eat brown rice instead of white, drink water instead of Coke. Stuff like that. I take the stairs instead of the elevator and sometimes I park further away than I need to.

Little choices add up to big change. Manageable, incremental, sometimes seemingly negligible choices that equal tangible, real, measurable change.

The one thing that I still have to figure out is where to put my devotional life.

I will admit that it’s the one thing that’s suffered in all this. But before you judge me, remember that for thousands of years, Godly men and women have served The Lord faithfully without reading the Scriptures regularly: Moses, Abraham, David to name a few. Thankfully we at least have the option of reading our own copy these days. And I did read the Bible through every year for the 3 years prior to this year, so I felt okay with taking a break to get myself healthy, BODY, SOUL and SPIRIT. And I still connect with God through worship and prayer regularly.

Next year at this time…. I hope to have fully integrated both worlds.

But, please don’t judge yourself by my actions either. I’m in a new season of life. There were lots of years when our boys were little where my devotional life and my physical fitness looked a LOT different that it did does now. I remember having barely anytime for either! But I am full on empty-nesting now and I have more discretionary time than perhaps I ever have and I am adjusting accordingly. The overriding principle here is that through every season, hang on to the things that are valuable to you. The time you are able to commit to those things (significant relationships included), will morph and change throughout the seasons of life, and they should. Try to keep those commitments strong, but let them stretch like elastic. Do not let them get brittle and break.

Well let me restate that. Keep almost everything elastic, everything that is, except your waistband.

Don’t quit. Just stay in the fight friend, that’s how winning is done. Keep pushing play.
~Mark

Me pushing “Stop” after a workout. 🙂

If you liked this one you would like my related blogpost: “I need a new Mirror – Youth Ministry made me Fat!” plus you can see my before and after pics from p90x…

Growing Leaders


Yes. I feed them both my leftover coffee. It's a little cannibalistic, I know.

The bamboo plant in my office used to be the size of the coffee plant on my desk…

So, I have this bamboo plant in my office…

It sat on my desk for several years in a 4” pot. It grew to a certain height and stayed that way forever. Then one day I had an idea. What if I put it in a bigger pot? Would it grow? Would it die? I decided to give it the opportunity to grow. And did it ever!

Today that bamboo plant is too big for my desk. Actually it sits on the floor and is now taller than my desk by a foot or more. All I did was give it room to grow, (and a lot of cold coffee).

In Youth Dynamics (YD), we try to do the same thing with teenagers. It’s easy for people to get stuck.

Teenagers especially get put into a box, told by someone that they are this or that, defined by words that people threw carelessly at them.

In relational youth ministry we give students an opportunity to break out of those molds. As we build relational trust with kids, we challenge them to grow beyond where they find themselves.

Adventure ministry often times gives us a framework for those break-out moments.

It’s so great to see students step outside themselves, to risk failure only to find that they can do way more than they ever thought they could, and grow in the process.

In the 6 years that I’ve been with YD, I’ve seen our YD kids blossom and grow. Some have grown to the point where they’ve become interns, others have joined our summer staff teams and a few even have joined us as full-time missionaries. We try to do the same thing with our staff. Create a culture where they can step outside themselves and grow. We desire to create an atmosphere where it’s okay to make mistakes, to dust yourself off and to try again.

Parents and organizations alike would benefit from creating a culture that provides enough relational security for people to feel safe to step out and try things; to know that their acceptance does not depend on perfection.

One must do this with an open hand however, and a Kingdom mindset.

Your staff may outgrow your job and your organization. Is that okay with you? Your child may grow to become something that you did not have in mind for them to be? Are you alright with that? If you have a Kingdom mindset you will be. You will recognize that Christ has designs and plans for their life that likely differ from your hopes and dreams for their life. Hold them loosely. Develop people anyway. It’s what Christ calls us to do. “Go and make disciples.” And let them go take their place in God’s Kingdom, wherever that may be.

~Mark

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