20/20 Vision

20/20 Vision
20/20 Vision

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Reading is something I really like to do – however I am what I call a compulsive reader. Let me explain: compulsive not in reading all the time but compulsive in that when I do find a book I don’t want to put it down for any reason until I have completed the book. I want a quiet nook, a cup of something warm to drink and a sign hanging over my head that says, “Do Not Disturb!” So was the case this past couple of weeks – I found a book that seemed to draw me in and I had that MUST READ feeling.

“When Your Life is Changed Forever,” is a book about death – more accurately put it is about the death of someone very dear to you. Forty years of nursing and many years of teaching death and dying to patients and their families and yet this book revealed that my understanding of this topic was still incomplete. I actually started reading this book because of a dear family member that was separated from their life long friend and spouse approximately three years ago. Three years has passed and this family member is still at a loss of how to take the next breath without his life long, God chosen partner. The partner who was supposed to be with him forever!

I have witnessed many people grieving and their difficult process of working through this awful time in their life. The author of this book does not hold back but rather unashamedly bares his soul that others may have HOPE. Hope they can cling to during their journey on the road through the immense void of emptiness and despair. The first half of this book shares his thoughts regarding the many well meaning people with words of encouragement. Words of encouragement that you have heard people say many times to people who are grieving but so very often these words are not encouraging – they only make things worse because they reveal just how much we do not understand the pain that is being experienced.

This family member was standing at my kitchen sink and just one look told me just how miserable he was feeling. “I just don’t understand why I feel so bad”, “I just want things to be the way they were…” I took a very long deep breath, prayed for Christ’s great love and wisdom to rise up with in me and give me the courage to say: “Sweetie you feel so bad because your life has been changed and that change is for ever. You feel so bad because half of you is missing and the life you once lived will never be the way it was again…”

I know, I can hear your thoughts; “that was cruel”, “Phyllis, that was just down right mean” but was I really being cruel, was I really being mean or was I in love sharing a truth that in his heart he already knew was true but just couldn’t bring himself to say that horrible truth? You betcha, that’s exactly what was going on and as painful as that was to hear – healing will come forth no matter how slow/fast the process takes it will come forth!

Now how did all that death talk wind up on My Road to fitness? Why would a finished work fitness mind set spend so much time thinking about death?
What is it about death that keeps a person held captive when the absolute truth is that new life emerges from death? Any gardener knows that when you put a seed into the ground that seed will begin to yield to its environment, the outer shell dies and gives way so that a new life may go forth to fruition. Did you know that people who deal with bulimia and other eating disorders sometimes deal with what is labeled a “BINGE” but did you also know that “BEGIN” has the same exact letters they are simply rearranged. Two words, same letters, but totally different meanings: one brings feelings of guilt and hopelessness (death) while one brings life and hope. Is it possible that those of us that have struggled with weight, the love and comfort of foods or those with true eating disorders may have to die to some things in order for them to be buried – buried forever?

I had a week of weak! I missed two days of working out at the gym, Friday of the week before and Monday of this week. I had a whole weak week where I ate every comfort food imaginable and I felt MISERABLE!! Absolutely no joy was being experienced as I was painfully reminded of Paul in the book of Romans 7:24 when he said ”O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Right about here I was contemplating funeral plans – not for myself but for an old lifestyle that was useless and no longer profitable for me.

I shed no tears at this funeral but instead found myself humbled by the graciousness of a great and faithful God who reminded me of 1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. You know the word here translated escape is the Greek word “ekbasis” – it is a nautical term that refers to an exit to a place of safety much like the gangplank of a ship that allows passage from the sea to the solid ground. It’s a place where I can clearly see the Grace of God at work when He shares a five letter word like BINGE (temptation) only to remind me of His faithfulness through the rearranging of those same five letters to create BEGIN (ekbasis: the way of escape)! I can BEGIN each new day knowing that His mercies are renewed daily. I can BEGIN any time I find that I myself somewhere I don’t belong. I can BEGIN by remembering the following three steps:

Verses taken from the AMPLIFIED BIBLE:
STEP 1: Col 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God
[Ps 110:1]

STEP 2: Col 3:2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above -- the higher things -- not on the tings that are on the earth.

STEP 3: Col 3:3 For [as far as this world is concerned you have died, and your[new,real] life is hid with Christ in God.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finished Work Vision

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Luke 11:10 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.

Recently I was reading a news article listing words being deleted due to the fact that they were no longer effective. It is my belief they left one very important word off this list: Failure! Delete this word from your data bank immediately. Just as there was no room in the inn for the birth of Christ -- there is no room or place for this word on the road called Health & Fitness Way.
This holiday season was filled with many firsts for me – some good, some not so good. I said “not so good” but that does not mean there was not a positive benefit received. Perspective. Perspective is everything -- perspective will dictate the path you travel each day and how far you will go. Perspective says the glass is half empty or it could say the glass is half full. Some would argue this analogy is saying the same thing in two different ways – but is it really? Maybe, but if a glass is half empty then a portion of the contents has been removed in contrast to the concept that if a glass is half full then there is more to be added.

My Road over the holiday season brought me face to face with several decisions. The first decision: Jeff (a really great trainer) was going to be off for a week. My first thought was, “while the cat’s away this mouse can play.” There is a multitude of yuletide preparations and I could get caught up …. But no, that would only put ME on the road called Detour!

The second decision: A particular need presented itself requiring me to stop my training lessons. This was especially difficult for me. The last session I had with my mentor found me unable to complete my usual work out. I was not only unable to complete it – I barely was able to start the plan. I woke up with great pain from an old acquaintance called Arther Itis! Usually when I have this level of discomfort I am able to start out slow and then the pain leaves and I always feel great after I complete the plan created by Jeff. That “F” word I mentioned above was grabbing at my mind and screaming “you are a “f”, you can’t do this, you are never going to be any different than you are now.”

The third decision: To use the mind of Christ to bring every thought into captivity that did not equate with His plan for me – and to give me a mental picture that I could cling to when words failed:

The perspective of Finished Work Fitness (home of “My Road,”) is learning to see myself as who I really am: Complete, Whole, Healthy, Fit, Champion! I am just taking the steps that a fit woman would take, we act the role now of a fit woman!

I awakened from a dream on New Years morning with the understanding that I am a lioness from the tribe of Judah and what is true of my heavenly father is true of me right now and right here. He left me this last picture as a reminder. A picture of myself & it was signed, DAD. Since I'm new to blogging I haven't learned the art of inserting things so I placed the pictures on the side for you to see.

I have not spent much time on emphasizing these scriptures chosen for today however I must admit they are in response to a question I read on a particularly favorite blog/website. The question was not addressed to me but I believe the answer to the particular question lies here in these verses.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Finished Work Christmas

A Finished Work Christmas

From before the foundation of the earth
Part of God’s plan was the virgin birth.
He had to become a man you see
To show what man was meant to be
The One that came forth from that manger bed,
Lived a perfect life in Adam’s stead.
He owed no debt for sin that was due
When He went to the cross, He went there as you.
What God couldn’t stand about you and me
He became that day, as He hung on the tree.
As your “old man”, He suffered and died
And descended to Hell til’ the Father cried;
“I’m satisfied; justice is done.”
Then up from the pit came the Pattern Son.
The First begotten of a brand new race
For all who believe and rest in His grace.
If as you, He suffered on the cross that day
And as you, in Hell the price did pay,
Then all your judgment is in the past.
In Christ “Praise God” you’re free at last.
In Him there is no condemnation.
You arose with Him as a New Creation
And now you’re seated in him on high
You’ve past through death, “You’ll never die.”
So, rejoice as we celebrate Christ’s birth,
As it is in Heaven, so it is on earth.
Bill Briggs - 2000

Every work of art began as a thought...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Every Good Gift

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Christmas time is often defined by the giving of gifts. There is a distinct feeling of anticipation and excitement in the air and there is an undeniable stirring inside that when left to evolve on its own burst out. Yes, that’s it. It’s that word called JOY. It is amazing how this one time each year we are focused on doing what ever is necessary to bring every thought into captivity that does not equate with Christmas. Preparations begin early, usually that crazy Friday following Thanksgiving. Planning for perfection is truly an art whether planning for that really special meal for our loved ones or the searching out of that one spectacular gift that will bring a smile to someone special.

I particularly am fond of the verse in James 1:17 -- it draws me away from the hurry, hurry, tick tock, one time a year concept of giving, to the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift.” I am drawn to this Giver who is constant and drawn to the way in which He gives – giving not just for one time a year but rather for every moment of everyday throughout the year. Consistent giving!

This journey that I am on, this fitness trail called “My Road,” I find pretty bumpy sometimes -- like one of those cobblestone streets. I start out the day knowing that this day has already been conquered only to find myself lying face down on the ground because I tripped over one of those cobblestones. If I keep lying there face down -- eventually an imprint of that cobblestone will place its mark on me. But, the Giver, who is constantly giving will not let me lay there – instead He says to me “look around, look side to side, look up my child but never look down but hold your head up– I have shed light all around your path and there is help all around. Partake of the everyday gifts I give and you will find the path will get easier.”

Jessica’s Journey is one of the daily gifts given to me on My Road. Jessica offers daily insights, shares her journey and other avenues that enhance my travels.

Then there is Jeff. Jeff is known to me as a Personal Fitness Trainer --I meet with him three times each week. He is my guide in this new world called fitness and it is the work he does that drew my attention to the term Fitness Trainer. I did an etymologic study of the word fitness only to discover some interesting facts. I find words are containers of power; they are the difference between communication and miscommunication, they imprison or they liberate but true understanding only comes through the true meaning of words. The word fitness: it is the quality and or the state of being fit. So, what about this term Fitness Trainer? I found that first of all a fitness trainer must be totally committed to their clients (that’s me). They help clients meet their goals and establish new goals. The fitness trainer provides an all encompassing plan that will lead to the desired finish. Fitness trainers are trained professionals with winning personalities! I can’t imagine the number of personalities that Jeff comes into contact with each day; mine is only one of those he encounters. Yet, he knows how to see through the outward facade and zero’s in on the real issue. That’s when the trainer becomes a coach. We all need coaching sometime. Notice that I didn’t say coaxing, although I’m pretty sure there are others like myself that need that as well. Coaching is different; coaching goes deep – it goes into the issues of the heart and flushes out everything that places limitations on your ability to be all that you were created to be. This is the role of a fitness trainer.

Then there is Bill; my loving husband, my encourager, my helpmeet, my partner and much, much more on this road to fitness. Bill is someone who knows me better than I know myself. He is always there and when I trip on one of those cobblestones – he simply picks me up, embraces me, and ever so gently reminds me that “God’s mercies are renewed daily” and I should most likely hold my head up, smile, and get ready to move on!

Christmas time is defined by the giving of gifts. There is a distinct feeling of anticipation and excitement in the air and there is an undeniable stirring inside that evolves and burst into JOY. And what about that amazing focus that says we will do what ever is necessary to bring every thought into captivity that does not equate with Christmas? What about those preparations beginning early? What about the planning of that special meal for our loved ones or the searching out of that one spectacular gift that will bring a smile to someone special? Christmas is a special.

It‘s special for many reasons but I want to be a reflector this season – a reflector of the Great Giver to the truly important people in my life. I want to see reflection of who they are in my eyes and what He does through them to and for me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Can

Philippans 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Oh, no that is what Chicken Little said but something is falling! Bill! Bill (that’s my husband)! What’s this all over my face? Something must be wrong!!! Being ever so kind and loving and being very careful to not let me see the smile on his face – hugged me and said “Honey its okay. That is what most folks call sweat.” Did I hear him correctly? Sweat, that’s something people do when they labor at construction sites or work really hard in the yard or… Oh, well, that’s what I did today – I worked really hard and I did SWEAT!

Jessica, I am really thankful for your BlogSpot. I was especially blessed by your victory day and the stats that you posted. Way 2 go girl!!! Encouragement seekers (like me) need that kind of stuff – it brightens the road I travel. I’m especially drawn to your title:” life according to us.” The inscription that follows, “little tidbits from our life to help us remember the small things that make our story” is so true.

Remember. That is a great word. Philippians says it like this “think on these things.” Those words “think on these things,” went through my head a hundred times this week. So to find why I was being drawn to these words -- I pulled up E-Sword (online Bible) and proceeded to read. God’s purpose for me this day was to simply REMEMBER. Remember what I had read on Jessica’s Journey. Remember what I was called to read in Philippians chapter four. Remember when challenges come -- to view this fitness road (my road) as a done deal. Remember that when Jeff pushes (no encourages) me to do things that I don’t think possible – to remember by thinking on these things: Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. When I “think on these things”, these attributes of Christ, then the strength that He has placed within me rises up and says YES! Yes, you can do this because I left you my promise. I promise to be your strength.

Thanks Lord for your promise. Thanks Lord for Jeff and Your gift of wisdom and patience he uses to guide me. Thanks Lord for Jessica and her insights. Thanks Lord for this new family bound for fitness. Thank you for Bill, my wonderful partner on this road. Thank you for the limitless possibilities!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The truth will set you free

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Garbage can syndrome… Yep! That’s what I said. Garbage can syndrome. I can assure you that you do not want to experience this malady. Its very nature is insidious, striking with vengeance. No warning – gripping with symptoms that you don’t even want to share company with again. The really frustrating thing is that Garbage Can Syndrome strikes after you have made some really good decisions. I made Thanksgiving with no restraints and still walked away knowing I had made really good decisions. I made the Friday workout knowing I did not have too. So, why am I sharing the Garbage Can Syndrome with you today? Because it happens -- it happened to me Sunday evening. I treated this wonderful, God given vessel like it was a Garbage can. Everything I could possibly think of was consumed. The munchies invaded and I did not take time to think about what I was doing – a bag of popcorn, a cup of hot chocolate…

Garbage Can Syndrome came; Garbage Can Syndrome went “But” it went because I chose not to give any credence to what happened. I chose to look unto Jesus the author and finisher of my faith. I chose to seek out truth because it is truth which liberates. To be liberated is to be free forever from the weight is that so easily besets me. I have a framed print in my living room that has a curious picture: An eagle with wings unfurled and a strong Arabian stallion leaping off the ground but the Arabian is enmeshed in the wings of the eagle. The caption says, “Destiny is not a matter of chance it is a matter of choice!” I can make choice. I can make a wrong choice. “But” it is what I do with that choice that takes my destiny off a dead end road and places my destiny where it belongs on the road called Victory!

The address for “My Road” is finishedworkfitness.blogspot.com -- the term “finished work fitness” was chosen to reflect the choice that I have made for my personal journey. You see, I’m not just training to remember all these different exercises but training these eyes to see beyond confines of this present time -- to see beyond to the real truth, the real me standing at the end of this road ready and equipped to take the next journey. I am victorious now and anyone reading this post is also victorious now! Hey, you know that little space under your nose and just above your upper lip? One of my fifth grade Sunday School students placed her finger in that spot on my face and said, “teacher did you know that’s ‘you’re done’ mark?” She went on to say that, “my Mom says that when God made us He looked at us and was so happy that He smiled and put His finger on us and said ‘you’re done.” Wow, what a Mom to be able to teach a child so young that we are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Road
(to Fitness)

Mat 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

Faith, what is faith anyway? Many say it is what carries you through the tough times and some say it is what makes the tough keep going. I was told by a very special lady that “Faith is simply believing without scheming”. Reflection on that statement has brought me comfort and courage – courage to do the things that over the years that have been what many folk would call tough. This particular time in my life would be impossible if it were not for faith. Right now I’ve made a decision. Right now I’m acting on that decision. Right now that decision
is not tough. What will I do when obstacles come – and they will! Will that decision stand in the light of the obstacles? Will I continue to act in agreement with the original decision or will I make adjustments that compensate for the obstacle? Will that obstacle be too great for me?

The truthful answer would be yes. Yes, it is too great for me to overcome – “But God” says, that if I have faith, if I doubt not -- then I can say to the obstacles, “Be thou removed” and it will be done. My road to fitness would not be complete if I leave out the spiritual side of me and for any one who should be reading this journey log the scriptures and references are what encourages me. I am learning that no matter what I see with my visible eyes as being impossible – my heart sees that God’s truth will always override the facts as I see them.

Visible fact one: I have been over weight all my life.
Visible fact two: I have read hundreds of books on weight loss.
Visible fact three: I have had success on every diet that I have utilized.
Visible fact four: I weigh more now that I ever have.
Visible fact five: I have limited mobility due to arthritis.
Visible fact six: I am a little older than I used to be.

My Road to fitness will be the mapping of these visible facts taking on what my heart sees.

I have chosen to place this journey into a daily log type of form. I am a wordy person and tend to write like I think and talk but there are times when I am more contemplative than others, you know when I’m not so talkative. However my pledge to my self is to be brutally honest with myself while recording the events. These first few days are being pulled up from my memory but the accuracy is there.

Did I mention that I signed my best friend (my loving spouse) up with me when I joined the gym? I didn’t even tell him until later that day. I am truly blessed to have the companion that I have been given. You know the old saying, “through thick or thin”? I swear God himself put blinders on this man because he loves me whether I have been thick or thin! OOP’S! My trainer and “The Fit Female Credo” says “NO BODY BASHING”!!!

Okay, here I go with my first few days and then I will talk later about an up coming decision that is to be made…

Day one:
This was decision day. I signed up with the silver sneakers program, learned about all the machines at the fitness center and met with a personal trainer. My gym gives you two weeks free with a personal trainer to determine if that is the route you would prefer or I could just use the equipment.

Day two:
I accepted the two weeks with the trainer and after a brief workout I was feeling pretty good. I walked out the door thinking; yeah this was a good choice. I drove to my house, got out of the car with a certain amount of difficulty (stiff muscles) and headed directly to the recliner where I proceeded to sleep for four hours!

Day three:
Bill was with me for day two but had to work this day. We do most everything together – where you see one you will usually see the other. I’m not quite as comfortable going places by myself these days so I had a decision. This was a Wednesday, I could choose to go by myself and maintain the three days this week with the trainer or I could wait and go on Friday with Bill. This was only a trial situation and there was no pressure to stay with the trainer if I didn’t want to – so, I’ll just wait until Friday and go with Bill. You know, after Bill left for work I could not be comfortable with that decision. I have been through this before and I know when the Holy Spirit is causing restlessness within me to move me forward. This is just a short side track but did you ever consider that God has connected us with hinges? Yeah, hinges that was designed for a peculiar kind of people for a particular kind of movement. Ever watched an old western on television and seen a wagon master or Calvary leader say “Forward Ho”? Now that is the command for which I am built. Yes, I know I can make myself walk backward but by design I am made to conquer that which is before me! I went to day three alone and that was a victory for me.

Day Four:
OMG! This was a big, big day for me. I not only had a huge workout – huge for me but some would call it minute. I got down to the floor! Our personal trainer, Jeff, is a really great guy and I know that God picked him out just for me, well Bill too. The second day at the gym, Jeff asked how I felt about getting on the floor. There was an exercise that he considered as appropriate for me – I declined stating it was difficult for me to get to the floor. He just smiled a knowing kind of smile and said okay let’s do something else. I was very relieved but little did I know that the smile I was seeing was not one of understanding the mobility difficulties of this old lady but the smile of true understanding that said silently “I know you can do this but I’ll wait until you know that you can do this”. Today was the day that I was told to get to the floor for the next exercise – I just looked to where on the floor he was pointing to and to the smile on his face. My mistake on day two when I declined to get on the floor, I use the excuse that I looked like a beached whale when I was trying to get down to the floor or up off the floor and I needed something to brace myself with in order to accomplish this feat. Well, today on day four my trainer was pointing to a place on the floor between two weight benches and so that I would not be uncomfortable down there by myself, in his professional discernment he assigned the same exercise to my husband! Now, I had not one support system in Jeff but my best friend was beside me to give encouragement. To step out of my comfort zone was a scary thing but I did get down to the floor, I did the exercise and I did get up off the floor. Imagine that!

In just four days of working with a trainer there is one truly important thing that I have been made aware of and that is this; I will not step out of my comfort zone to challenge myself. I need a professional trainer to safely guide me. Jeff sees beyond my physical mass standing before him to the physical mass that he knows that I can be if I will follow his leading. He does not allow me to body bash as I did about the beached whale and he is teaching me the importance of keeping positive people around me during this time and encourages me to no longer look at my weight but to focus on training and that will bring about the desired results. My last exercise for this day was to cool down with a slow walk on the treadmill. I stepped onto the treadmill and this really healthy looking lady on the next treadmill smiled and introduced herself to me then stated, “you know I weighed eighty pounds heavier when I first started here.” How’s that for a conformation regarding a decision?

Day four for me was really a challenge but it was also a day of encouragement. I really can’t help but think of the bible passage that says:
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.