It is crazy to think the summer has come and gone in what feels like a few days. The days leading up to summer, most people are focused on getting their “summer body.” We make resolutions on January 1st and do our best to follow through with weight loss goals and new healthy lifestyles. If I am honest, I had my goals and did my best to follow through. In early May, I sat outside of the gym after a workout when I received a word from God, “Did you know the church is like the gym?” I responded with a very confused, “No? What does that mean?”
God then began to expound on this thought of comparing the gym to the church and those who go to the gym to Christians. Quickly, revelation hit, and it all made sense. Running on a treadmill, lifting weights, doing ab workouts all help you build your fitness and through that, help you grow in your new healthy lifestyle. Typically, when you are new to a gym, you meet with a fitness trainer, and they evaluate your fitness level and determine how they can help. I realized this is exactly what our spiritual mentors do. They swiftly assess our spiritual health, giving us books and advice on how we can live this Christian life better. Once you create a routine and find your scheduled time, you begin to build community with those at the church just as you would at a gym. This community also helps you to build your “spiritual fitness,” and they point you to specific sermons, their testimonies of “weight gain/loss.” They want to see you succeed.
Throughout this summer I have been challenged with the concept of leadership development as I have been interning with our young adults’ ministry, Sanctuary. Moment by moment, I had to think about my role on staff and what it looked like to continue to grow throughout this experience. I quickly realized my spiritual life was not at its healthiest due to being so busy at school. It was time for me to challenge myself and get back on track. I began to dive into different books, spending quiet time with the Lord, and serving our Sanctuary community.
My verse through this has been, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
Our spiritual growth must be intentional. We must navigate our walks with an intention, with a goal and with the knowledge that we cannot succeed alone.
This summer has been filled with lessons about who God is and, in turn, who He has called me to be. I have experienced successes and failures in my growth. Yet, I feel more prepared than ever to head back to the University of Tampa and lead my Men’s Bible study.
As summer ends, I know I have one more learning opportunity. Next week, we have the privilege of attending the Global Leadership Summit. I am excited and expectant, ready to discover new ideas about what leadership is and the skills needed to become an effective leader, which will reinforce the work God has been doing in my life this summer. And all my experiences will contribute to making me a better leader, a more spiritually fit leader, in both the public and private areas of my life.