Abundant Health: Taking the First Steps
By Pastor B.T. Gilligan, Abundant Health Team member
In February of 2019 I found myself at the most unhealthy I had ever been. My joints hurt, I was snoring, I couldn’t go up steps without getting winded, and the demands of Sunday morning were becoming diﬃcult. After a tongue lashing from my doctor where I was assured that without changes I wouldn’t make it to retirement, I started making some changes. I found a health coach and started getting back on track.
By April I had stalled out, some things had changed, but it wasn’t enough and I needed to continue to adapt if I wanted to continue to get healthy. My health coach suggested I try exercise, specifically running. I balked at the idea, telling myself Proverbs 28:1 says that only the wicked run when no one is chasing them. However, I eventually gave in and started running. One mile at first, working my way up to three miles, two or three times per week.
Now, in May of 2021, I am still a novice runner. I’m still learning about running and getting healthy through it. In search of some support, I sat down with someone who is a much better runner than I am, Rob Giannamore. Rob and I started talking about running, but the conversation quickly turned to exercise and getting healthy.
Rob has run ultra distances of 100-kilometers and regularly runs 50-kilometer races. He teaches others about running, exercise, and getting healthy. As we sat down to talk, Rob broke down the journey into three different aspects.
- The first aspect is simply starting. It isn’t about being the best or the fastest or the most skilled; it is simply about taking that first step. This becomes the most important part of the journey to getting healthy. Whether your goal is to run an ultra-marathon or be able to play with your kids without getting winded, the first thing to do is to simply start.
- The second is the spiritual aspect. As we exercise, our mind is freed. We can be more mindful in our connection to God. It allows us to be aware of the God who has called us and has plans for us. During our exercise we can pray and connect in ways we can’t when we are so busy the rest of our day.
- The third aspect is acceptance. We accept where we are, where we want to be, and that the only way to get where we want to be is through exercise. Whatever our goal is, the only way to get there is through. When we accept this it makes the difficulty of exercising manageable because we know what the end result will be.
As Rob and I spoke it became clear that the end goal is not to make everyone into a person who can run ultra-marathons, but to recognize that everyone can improve their health in a way that works for them to achieve their own goals. It may take time, but it will be worth if we are able to live the life of movement and freedom that we could not have because of our lack of health.
So whatever healthy looks like for you, may you take the first steps to find that healthy version of you.