A Wellness Revelation: Return and Rebuild
I was excited to attend a popular High-Intensity Intervals Training class at my local gym, but by the time I left, my body wasn’t the only thing hurting. The instructor’s words felt like a sharp stone in my shoe…they just didn’t sit right:
“Let’s give it up for Anne (not her real name) who has been to every class this week! Who’s going to beat her record? I want to see everyone back here tomorrow at 5:30 am!”
“Today, we destroyed your shoulders. Come back in the morning and we will skewer your triceps.”
“Let’s work on that beach body!"
I had no desire to compete with Anne. That kind of training every day is too much for anyone. It felt like I was a black sheep in a room of regulars.
I was not interested in “destroying” any part of my body.
I thought I could take my body to the beach just as it is, but her comment made me second guess myself.
I started teaching group fitness classes in college, but this past year the Lord closed that door and opened the way to in-home personal training. I used to love teaching classes, but some participants were so negative and demanding that I no longer wanted to teach. Plus, dragging my daughter out of the house during her nap was no easy feat. I love teaching health and fitness, but since I did not feel appreciated, I no longer felt like it was worth the effort.
I'm not perfect either--there are times when I have not treated my classes with respect. If you have been to a fitness class of mine and did not walk away feeling more loved than before you came, please forgive me. You deserve better. And I’m learning a new way.
A Dreamy Revelation
A few months ago, I felt a tug to do more with fitness. I started looking into grad school, Googled certifications for corrective exercise, researched new types of movement. At the time, I had been following Revelation Wellness for a few years and even went through a few of their programs. I fully supported their mission to love God, get healthy, be whole, and love others.
A few friends I met from a faith and fitness retreat called the Refresh Summit were already signed up to go through training to be a Revelation Wellness Instructor. I talked to my husband about how it would be great to be a part of the team, but I couldn’t justify the cost and commitment since I determined I would not be a group instructor again.
I brushed it off thinking, “I’m only doing personal training now. I can’t go back to being an instructor. I don’t have the outgoing and witty personality people want, the moves of Shakira, or the toughness of a drill sergeant. People do not want to take my classes and I don't want to get hurt again trying to please them.” The wounds were still fresh.
But I still had a hunger for more. I prayed for a clear vision.
It came to me in my sleep.
I had a dream that I was talking to Alisa Keeton, the founder of Revelation Wellness, over a computer screen. She was about to tell me exactly what I was supposed to do.
The dream cut off.
I woke up with the firm conviction that I needed to go through training so I could get the rest of the vision straight from Alisa at the instructor training retreat in Arizona. I texted my friend Amia, who was on leadership at the time, who had been “praying me in” to Revelation Wellness, and she said even though I was a week late, there was another spot if I signed up that day.
I looked over my finances and realized I made enough from my personal training business last year to cover the cost. I talked it through with hubby, and told me to go for it. I signed up and went through the nine weeks of training leading up to the retreat.
Return and Rebuild
As soon as we started a Bible study on Nehemiah as a part of training, I knew that even if I never went back into fitness, this experience itself would be the way to heal my wounds. The words spoke right into my situation.
Nehemiah felt called to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls that had been broken down. As Nehemiah yearned to go back and rebuild, I felt God putting the same desire in me.
I have tried to start programs and groups on my own before and have failed. I have been essentially kicked out of teaching in favor for a more famous instructor. In response, I put up walls of self-preservation, but I felt the Lord asking me to break them down so He could build something new. But I was the one holding up the walls. He needed me to get out of the way first.
Laugh. Cry. Eat. Retreat.
I went to the final retreat intensive in Arizona and was moved beyond words. I have never experienced God speaking so clearly and seen Him move so powerfully. By the end of the week, we had to laugh because it became ridiculous how much the Lord was blessing each person there. I wasn't the only one who didn't know what I was doing there. When I asked others why they came, the common response was, "I'm not sure, but I know God told me to."
I was so overwhelmed with the healing and freedom I experienced personally and had witnessed in other women that I wanted to go home and share with others. And not just one-on-one personal training, but with more people. The Lord said, “You want to share with more than one person? That’s group fitness. You’re going to be a group fitness instructor. This time, it will be on My terms.” Okay, Lord! I don't want the reigns anymore.
I wasn’t sure what to do when I returned home, but looked around and saw what He had already set up for me: a spacious office my husband said was free to use before 9 am.
I thought I would use that space for a class, until I went to a church potluck. I left overflowing with a rekindled love for the church and its people. I saw people genuinely caring for each other, their strong roots in Christ, and active concern for the city. I wanted in.
A new class: Revwell Athens
Now, I’m grateful for closed doors. They no longer feel like rejection, but as my client revealed to me, a way for the God to lead me in His will. He does not always give us flashing signs saying, “Go there!" but great passions within saying, “Stay here!”
The Lord has called me back to group fitness to build others up in love. I want to bring healing and freedom through physical movement as an extension of the church.
We will begin classes next week, open for the community with proceeds benefiting the underserved. When you walk in the door, we will call you by name and say things like,
“We are so glad you’re here!”
“You’re invited to move with me, and here are other options. Always remember, you do you."
“His love…never quits!”
We will not destroy your arms, but we will break down walls. We won’t puff up prideful results, but we will build up strong spirits and healthy bodies. You were created in the image of God, and we want to affirm His work in you.
Reflect and Respond
Has any fitness setting ever made you feel ashamed or unsettled? Did you go back?
Does your fitness community make you feel loved? Find one that does. You can look for the closest Revelation Wellness class to you!
Do you feel like the Lord is calling you back to build up yourself or someone else?