Before I hand over my blog to my best friend and husband for this post, I have a proclamation to make.
I am deeming 2015 the Year of the Brave.
This year I have made more drastic, positive changes in my life than my entire 39 years put together. As my husband speaks to our changes below, making one drastic change often leads to another, then to another – and you realize how long you’ve been living in fear.
So, as I enter 2015, the year I will turn the exciting age of 40 (which I am truthfully pumped about) – I am going to be more Brave than ever.
I will be trying MORE new things, accomplishing MORE new feats, setting MORE fantastic goals, and making THIS year even better than the last.
I have no idea what’s coming.
I have no idea what we will face.
But I know the satisfaction of radical obedience.
So I am ready to be BRAVE.
Below are my husband, Brady’s thoughts as we close out the 2014 year. We had quite a transformational year in our lives – one of great, wonderful, positive, change. Hope you choose to join us on our journey to be brave this year.
I was thinking tonight as I was praying about the great blessings God brought to us in 2014. And God made it quite clear to me as I look back, how much I needed and still need the “event”, “project”, “goal”, or “destination” to keep me on the Journey toward transformation.
Who would have thought last December at our house the following would happen:
- My wife Carrie and I would complete a 40 day fast
- My daughter Kayden would complete a 40 day media fast
- While on the fast I would start a daily gym workout program
- Carrie, Kayden and I would finish our first 5k
- I would lose close to 70lbs
- I would bike 800 plus miles from July to December
- Our daughter, Kayden would join us on a 144 mile ride in three days on our bike vacation.
- My Dad, Carrie, and I would complete a 5k.
- Carrie and I would kayak over 75 miles from July to September
- We would ditch all fast food, processed / artificial food, and eat all natural / organic food.
- Carrie and I would enjoy cooking
- Carrie would eat vegetables beyond potatoes and corn.
- Carrie and I would have the blessing to encourage many people in exercise and nutrition.
And to think all this started with God’s prompting to be obedient and do a
40 day fast.
Looking back now the fast was only the “event” to get us on the journey of transformation. Just a few weeks into the fast God began to birth in us a desire for other goals, projects, destinations, and events. They did not come as guilt or obligation but as a burning passion that was not only fun but refreshing.
Soon on the Fast we began to “dream” what eating again could, should and would look like. It started with curious research, trips to every grocery store in our town reading labels and exploring food options and many conversations with those who already ate the way we felt enticed to eat. I did not see it at the time, but this was the beginning of a number of these events, goals, destinations, and projects that God would use to keep us moving on the path.
After we set the eating plan around day 20 we still had almost three weeks before we could begin to eat again, but we began to experiment by cooking for Kayden. I see now that this stage of inspired imagination and dreaming was incredibly powerful in our transformation. If we did not dream “What could, and should” this be, it “WOULD” never have become reality.
Yes, there was commitment and dedication but I believe the inspired dreaming gave the motivation that was free from guilt and provided the divine pull to keep us going.
I remember being in the shower around day 15, thinking about all the food choices we were contemplating. I was very concerned about gaining all the weight back once the fast was over. The funny thing was that just two weeks before I had no desire to lose weight (not really, anyhow). But after two weeks of feeling much better I did not want to go back to the way things had been. It was then right smack dab in the middle of our “new way of eating” planning that the second event or project or destination was birthed. It was the desire to bring in daily exercise to keep the weight off so I could stay feeling better.
Looking back it seems crazy to start dreaming a second dream before the first one ever was implemented. We had not started a new way of eating and here I was thinking about starting a second dream about a new way of exercise. But here came the second key principle for me.
God was giving me the next challenge to connect one leg of the journey to the next leg of the journey.
I know God has wired me this way. At times people have said… you have so many hobbies, or you have one passion for a few years and then another. I always hated it when people would say things like that, partly because I felt it made me sound shallow or uncommitted. But I think now that I hated it more because I saw others who spent their entire lives never exploring all things that could, should and some day WOULD be a reality for them. Why should I have only one hobby for my entire life If I could experience a wide range of things? I don’t know that this is true for everyone but I have discovered it is part of how God wired me. While others may be different and more singularly focused I do believe there is a Truth here for everyone.
God has more for us
than what we often settle for.
I was not open in November of 2013 to a new way of eating or to the effort to lose 70lbs. However, I would have loved the idea of some new adventure like hiking rim to rim at the Grand Canyon. I see God using the Grand Canyon dreams to take me into the new way of eating dreams.
I say all this to share with you what is on my heart for 2015.
Carrie and I have committed to RAGBRAI, a 450-500 mile bike ride across Iowa in July of 2015.
We have also decided to enter an endurance race that combines biking, kayaking, and hiking with 20% of your body weight in a back pack.
We are also starting to plan (2015 or 2016) our first climbing expedition of sorts (Some type of climb that requires ropes).
Talking about what God has done and now applying that to what God is doing next, I am sure that these “goals, destinations, events” are only to keep us on the journey of transformation. I am sure there will be things that come out of these experiences that I would never have set out to experience but they are byproducts of the path.
That’s why we are prayerful in consideration of each of these goals. We are seeking inspired dreaming not just “what’s next or what sounds cool” ideas.
It has become fun to allow God to speak to us in this type of dreaming.
I felt prompted to invite you into this adventure with us. Not to come join us on our journey but to invite you to pray about what it would look like for your journey, the one God has for you in 2015.
These principles span much further than just physical, but I believe for too long I had separated my physical from spiritual and denied the role they both played in my emotional health.
Each goal, event, project, or destination we set this last year all became public. Family, friends, church, every circle of our lives became places of accountability, encouragement, and opportunities to praise God for His transformation.
Remember Richard Foster’s principle of the discipline of Celebration? This connects together for me. When we enter our goals, events, dreams alone we not only miss out on accountability, we miss the GREAT CELEBRATION with others. We often shy away from accountability because we think we don’t need it, or we think we can’t do it and don’t want to disappoint others but it is in the CELEBRATION that we gain momentum! Momentum for the next challenge pulling us along the path of the journey of transformation.
I clearly remember being at a cabin in Hocking Hills, Ohio with my parents a year ago last Christmas. Carrie kept talking about our upcoming 40 day fast and I was angry. I did not want her to talk about it. I did not want to discuss it with anyone. I wanted my parents to know about it but did not want to discuss it. I see now it was because I was not sure I could do it. I thought I would be miserable. I wasn’t sure I wanted specific accountability. But now I see the greater issue was community to CELEBRATE with! What If I told no one about the fast? What if no one could see the physical change in us? Even if we still experienced it there would be no CELEBRATION.
God has created so much and has called us to experience so much and has given us the context of community to do it all in!
What mountain will you climb, what expedition will you embark on, what natural wonder will you witness?!
So here is an invitation to go beyond what you thought possible, beyond what you thought you would ever desire, beyond the comfort into the Transformation.
Pray about it.
I know this invitation can seem huge, even impossible. But with God it is not only possible, it is worthy of CELEBRATION. It can become fun and desirable.
If you feel lead specifically to take this plunge in the area of food as well, here is what we eat now.
NEW WAY OF EATING LIFE:
Can’t expect change without making a change!
Compromise is compromising your health.
Balance does not need to include toxins.
- If God made it that way, that’s the best way to eat it. ALL natural. This means raw fruits, vegetables, are the BEST!
- Absolutely NO artificial ingredients, preservatives, (things we can’t pronounce) NO high fructose corn syrup of any kind EVER!
- No bread or cracker product that is not organic whole grains. We eat almost no bread…. this is our special item not daily consumption.
- Eat organic every time we have an option. It costs more but that encourages smaller portions. We spend the same, just buy less.
- NEVER any kind of fast food or fried food.
- Just because a food item might be “legal” it does not mean we can eat as much as we want of it (ie: nuts). Small portions!
- Cheat days, special occasions, treats (as we used to call them) no longer exist. NO CHANGE WITHOUT CHANGE!
- Replace every past obsession with another. Salsa in place of candy, air popped natural popcorn in place of chips, etc.
- No pop or carbonated beverage of any kind, ever. Carbonation expands the stomach and makes you hungry. Pop is poison.
- Use very little meat. Let plant based foods be 75% of your plate.
- Eat only when you are hungry and stop BEFORE you are full.
Want a temporary change? Then a diet might work.
Want a new body, new health, new life? Then a RADICAL LIFE CHANGE is REQUIRED to CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
When people say, “That’s so drastic to not eat any of _______!”
“Yes, and it leads to a
drastically better life.”
We feel it’s drastic to keep _______ in your diet. Know what it will cost you in your health.
CAUTION: This process highlights food addictions in many of us. Don’t underestimate the very real power of addictions!
Alcoholics should never go into a bar again for any reason. Why mess with it!?
I often think of Adam and Eve in the Garden.
God created paradise….what food options were available in the Garden? EAT those things!
Don’t mess with God’s paradise!
We often have no idea how much damage the so called “little of this” and “little of that” is causing our body until we totally cut them out and feel the difference.
Again the food change would never have happened at all if it was not for the EVENT of the 40 Day Fast and the Challenge of the Daily Gym and the increased health from the weight loss.
Let’s dream together about what God wants to do in each of our lives in 2015.
Some questions to ask yourself as you dream about 2015:
- What is one thing physically you have always wanted to do but have never done? What is one thing physically that you did a long time ago that you loved and would enjoy doing again? (Think event, destination, project. Not a weight goal or statistical health goal. More like a sport, activity, or event.) What is one thing physically you thought you would never be able to do? (not just now but at any age, and something that you think would be cool to be able to do)
- What’s one spiritual discipline you’ve always wanted to grow in? (ie: bible study, prayer, meditation, simplicity, etc.)
- What would it look like for you to be radically obedient to what God is saying to you right now?
- Most of us are not good at celebrating. How can you celebrate bigger and better in 2015? As my best friend says, how could you be better at choosing joy each day?
Take some time to prayerfully ponder these questions. Start dreaming. Dream big. Dream often. Let one goal, destination, or event, lead into the other as God takes you on the path to transformation in 2015.
Brady Wisehart currently serves as Senior Pastor at Grace Point Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Previously, he served as the Senior Pastor of Family Church of the Nazarene in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Prior to his leadership at Family Church, he served as Executive Pastor of Connection and Discipleship and as part of the weekend teaching team at Grove City Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. He attended Olivet Nazarene University and Nazarene Theological Seminary and is an Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Brady and his wife and best friend, Carrie, are blessed with their daughter, Kayden.