A number of life lessons with spiritual merit leapt out at me from my interview with Valerie Solomon, personal trainer, busy mom, fitness figure competition winner and author of the blog, and author of the blog BusyMomGetsFit.com.
The Importance of Community in Discerning a Calling
Valerie’s bigger goal of being in a Figure competition came after months of encouragement from some gym friends. She only noted that paranthetically, but it is such an important comment. So often when we are called to do things we are reluctant. Nearly all the prophets resisted when God was first calling them into something bigger and scary than themselves. In my own call as a pastor, family and friends saw my call long before I did. This is not an uncommon phenomenon among pastors. Others see where we need to go and aren’t inhibited by the fears holding us back. Or sometimes it isn’t so much fear holding us back, but our gifts come so natural to us that we don’t realize they are gifts.
What are your gifts? What have others been encouraging you to do forever, but you shrug it off or simply don’t do it because you feel inadequate? What is the fear holding you back? How might that be a lie that is keeping you from following something God is calling you to do?
Community and Accountability and Growth
Valerie had questions about the rightness of what she felt called into. She sought the counsel of others and specifically asked for scriptures. She went to pastors and said, “Hey, what are your thoughts and what does the bible say about this?” I am reading proverbs right now and one characteristic of the wise that keeps getting repeated is that the wise seek after wisdom and understanding. They search for it and if they are reproved they listen.
What do you need counsel on? Who could help you? How could you find what scripture has to say about it?
Gifts are Revealed in Our Passions
I couldn’t help but smile when after Val spoke about months of intense strength training she qualified it in all caps saying, “which I LOVE.” Most people would probably find what Val did torturous but she loved it. It is a passion for her. Your gifts will be obvious from your passions.
What can you not help but doing because you love it? What do you enjoy so much that other people sometimes just can’t begin to understand? What would other people say you love? Could this be your gift?
Valerie’s goals became about helping others. She is a gifted trainer and could be self consumed in the sport she has been called into. Instead she recognizes it as, in her words, “…a platform to connect to more people and inspire others to go after big goals that may be outside of their comfort zone.” God gives us gifts for the betterment of the body. I guess you could say God is the ultimate bodybuilder in that God is perpetually building the body of Christ. One way God does that is by calling us to serve Him and one another with our God-given gifts.
How can your gifts be used for more than your own pleasure and fulfillment? How could your gifts build the body of Christ? What need could you meet with your gifts? Christian author, Frederick Beuchner once said, “Vocation is where you deep glad meets the worlds deep need?” What is your deep glad and how can it meet a deep need?
Prayer is Essential and Includes Listening
Val shared 3 prayers that reflected different stages and concerns for her journey. Bathe every journey in prayer. And…don’t forget…prayer isn’t just talking to God. Prayer includes listening and watching for God’s response. Val is staying open on her journey. She has goals but she is daily listening for God’s voice. She sees God answering and providing in people sent her way and through quiet words and assurances spoken to her in prayer. You will only recognize those things if you are staying open and actively seeking.
Well, those were my take aways. I would love to hear what you got out of the interview. Please share your insights in the comments below.
P.S. Val’s blog is http://busymomgetsfit.com and just after I posted this I saw on her Facebook page that her husband Matt arrived home safely this evening after 1 year in Afghanistan. Big thank you to all of you praying for his safe passage.
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