By Julie Anderson
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Not this picture. This picture is a fraud. I’ve never been shy about calling it what it is. I can’t tell you how many clients have looked at this picture as we’ve discussed their fitness goals and declared…”THIS is what I want to look like.” I replied every time, “No, you don’t” and followed it with the truth behind this picture.
You see, just moments before this picture was taken, I was back stage, on the floor with 2 paramedics tending to me, allowing me only tiny sips of water and my friend feeding me spoonfuls of jam. I was severely dehydrated and my body was tired of cooperating with my less-than-kind treatment. After spending 14 grueling weeks training and dieting off 30lbs there was no way I wasn’t going to “shine” in this moment. So I rallied. I grabbed my 5” heels and ran out on stage, smiling from ear to ear.
I look at the picture now and I realize…I was thirsty. In every possible way I was thirsty. I wasn’t just dehydrated in the physical sense but spiritually I was bone dry and as thirsty as I felt that September morning on the floor backstage…ready to give up, ready to quit, but knowing I had to find a way.
As I look back at this picture, it’s really easy for me to see what was missing and what I was so desperately thirsting for. That’s the easy part…looking back and knowing now what you didn’t know then. I was looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places – my business, my clients, bodybuilding, relationships with the wrong men. I would use any distraction that I could find that would totally consume me. It’s like drinking alcohol when what you really need is a big glass of water. I only became more dehydrated and my thirst more severe.
Are you thirsty for something in your life? Are you looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places – people, things, careers, money? I was too but none of those things I grabbed ahold of could fill the hole that was in my heart. None of those things could give me the unconditional love I so desperately craved. When we search in the wrong places it can help initially but over time, it only leaves us feeling emptier than we were before. Empty, discouraged and possibly depressed.
When we are unsatisfied and discontented in our lives, it is because we have a spiritual thirst. I had no idea. And to be honest, I had no intention of believing in God and giving up my Sunday mornings to go sit in church with “a bunch of religious folks.” So I baby-stepped…or rather, I took tiny sips. It started with reading a Joyce Meyer book which lead to watching Joyce Meyer sermons, which lead to Henry Cloud books, which lead to more sermons by other people. After about 6 months of this “spiritual sipping” i was thirsty for a “faith community.” I was feeling ready to branch out and fellowship with other believers. Slowly my sips turned into gulps and I was daily drinking from the Word in some way or another.
As time went on, I found that I was able to release those things that were draining the spiritual life out of me. I found that I was being filled up spiritually and as a result, I no longer felt the need to hold onto the things that left me empty and searching for fulfillment.
Quenching your thirst starts with a sip. A verse a day, a Christian book that gives you new hope or encouragement, a sermon on YouTube or a Podcast on your commute to work. There are lots of easy ways to sip and have your thirst quenched. It’s just like drinking water – the more you drink the more you want to drink. Drinking 8, 8 oz. glasses of water a day seems daunting at first and before you know it, you’re drinking a full gallon because your body craves it. Jesus is the same way – get a little and pretty soon you need a lot.
I am a life coach with a focus and passion for fitness and nutrition, 40 years old and full time mama to 4 amazing kids (twins age 9, 12 and 19). I’ve been in the fitness industry since 1995 as a group instructor and personal trainer. After my twins were born in 2006 I got into competitive bodybuilding (figure category) for 6 years which led me to my passion for nutrition. After years of competing, I decided to hang up the suit and seek a life of balance and moderation and am passionate about helping others do the same as that’s really what being healthy is all about. I am a domestic violence and child abuse survivor and advocate and am passionate about giving hope and helping other parents protect their children and navigate our broken system.
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