If you are reading this and you are on a fitness journey, I need to encourage you to stay the course. I want to remind you why you have to succeed. Of course I want you to reach your goals for your own health and wellbeing, but there are SO many more reasons why you need to succeed, why you have to do what is right and why you simply cannot fail.
People are watching. Not that you should be doing this for anyone else, but you are fooling yourself if you think that no one else is affected by your failure or success to get fit. Besides the obvious people (like your spouse or your kids) who are affected by your health in more ways than one, there are many other people who may never get fit if you don’t.
The Power of the Underdog
What in the world do I mean? Well, let me give you a little story about a man who lived in the 1800s named Dwight Moody. Trust me, it’s worth reading. Mr. Moody became a famous evangelist and publisher. He started churches, a Bible Institute and a publishing company called Moody Publishers – which still thrives today. So what, you ask? Well, wait until you hear how he started!
Mr. Moody lost his dad when he was 4. As a child, his mom sent him away to work for his room in board because she couldn’t afford to raise her 5 kids. At 17 he moved to Boston to work for his uncle’s shoe store, but one of his uncle’s requirements was he had to go to church. This is where it gets good – and believe me, there is a very strong message in just this story alone that will touch your heart and impact the way you look at your life, your goals and your potential.
At 17, Moody decided to join the church. His uncle’s church required church members to fill out an application. Can you image getting rejected by a church? Well, that’s what happened to him. His Sunday School teacher said this about Moody, “I can truly say…that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came into my Sunday School class; and I think that the committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness.”
WOW! is all I can say. He basically was voted less likely so succeed by his Sunday School teacher. However, his transformation eventually proved worthy to join the church, because he was later accepted into the church. He quickly started actually teaching and sharing what he was learning.
One man witnessed some of his early “teaching” (at an abandoned saloon might I add! ha!) He said this, “the first thing I saw was a man standing up with a few tallow candles around him, holding a negro boy, and trying to read to him the story of the Prodigal Son and a great many words he could not read out, and had to skip. I thought, ‘If the Lord can ever use such an instrument as that for His honor and glory, it will astonish me.”
Of course, you already know that his poverty, lack of education (he only had a 5th grade education) and even his past didn’t stop him from God using Him in a mighty way. He had all the odds against him, but don’t you know his testimony and his ability to reach people would impact SO many more people than a guy who group up in riches, with the best education and seemingly had not much to overcome? He was the spiritual underdog. His spiritual transformation is what was so powerful and gave so many people hope. If God could use him, He can use anyone.
Now, let me tie this into fitness, life and goals.
People Need Hope
People need real people with real challenges to succeed because they need hope. In many ways, Moody started out spiritually obese, ignorant and out of shape. However, he never gave up. He invested time and energy in learning how to live right and was obedient to what he learned. He didn’t let his pride get him down, and he applied to the church again even after being rejected. He even taught before he probably felt ready to be used in that capacity. He could have easily refused to teach because he didn’t read well. He did what he could with what he had – and it was more than enough to impact the world still today!
While this story is about spiritual health, don’t you know it applies to all areas of our life? How many people hear what they need to do but just don’t do it. How many people simply just don’t have much knowledge about what to do, and they let that stop them, instead of just doing what they DO know? How many people let their pride get in the way of going back to the gym after experiencing some kind of failure or rejection? How many people feel like the aren’t not capable or able to accomplish certain tasks or exercises? How many people let their weaknesses keep them from getting stronger?
Moody not only reminds us to keep pressing on but he reminds us of how people need the “average person” to succeed.
“If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent.”
This is why we must succeed. Someone who is exactly where you are right now needs to see you succeed to have hope that they can do it too. No one else will be able to relate to them or impact them like you can. Whether you are striving to lose weight or save your marriage, you have to do it with all you have because your story WILL impact others – for good or for bad. Which one will it be?
The Need For Hope
Hope changes the mind:
“Hope allows people to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable to success, thereby increasing the chances they will actually accomplish their goals.” – Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.D.
Hope is healthy:
“When people feel hopeful, they tend to face fewer mental health concerns.” – Good Therapy
Hope grows you:
“Those lacking hope, tend to adopt mastery goals. People with mastery goals choose easy tasks that don’t offer a challenge or opportunity for growth. When they fail, they quit. People with mastery goals act helpless, and feel a lack of control over their environment. They don’t believe in their capacity to obtain the kind of future they want. They have no hope. – Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.D.
Hope is contagious:
“Your hope is actually dependent on your entire social network, including best friends, role models and secondhand associates. And your hope can be shared with others.” – author and Gallup senior scientist Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D, in his book Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others.