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Transformation Is A Process, Best Done From The Inside Out!

By Angela Willingham

August 20, 2012

The other day my good friend Carroll Roberts, The Fitness Angel told me that he had found a company near him that could convert a VHS video to a DVD.  I thought that was interesting.  He said he had them convert the original Temple Time video we did 10 years ago.  At first I thought I misunderstood.  He is in the process of doing a new video, but no he said he had them convert the Temple Time video to DVD.  He had two copies made, one for him and one for me.  Ten years is a long time and a lot has happened.  He went on to tell me how different we look in the video compared to now.  He told me that I was heavier then.  He said I could show the video to people to let them see how far I have come.  I kind of blew past it and then when we talked later I told him, you know my outward appearance has changed, but that is not the greatest change.  I was heavy in other areas as well.  When we shot the initial video I was a size 20 and now I am a size 14.  The difference in my appearance is in direct relation to the transformation God has allowed me to walk through. I cannot tell you that I lost a lot of physical weight but I can tell you I have lost a lot of emotional, spiritual and relational weight/baggage.  I was a lot heavier then, but not in the way that was most visible.  The greatest weight was what was on the inside of me.  

The difference is that I am not carrying the things I went through.  I went through them.  They are part of my past.  They are part of my testimony, but they do not hold me.  They do not have my emotions or my relationships.  When God called me to this ministry, I would have never imagined the experiences that would come with it.  I would have never imagined being able to love unconditionally.  I would never have imagined not having a bad attitude based on the things that were going on around me.  I would have never imagined the peace that comes from getting fit on the inside.  I still have a lot of work to do on the outer package and I am far from perfect on the inside, because I am a work in progress, but I am grateful for what has already been accomplished.  Size 14 is okay, but I know this is not where God intends for me to remain.  2 Corinthians 5:17 is the theme scripture for this ministry.  I never knew how God was going to make me an example of it in the natural.  I knew He was going to make me the face of it, but not to what extent.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  Some of the stuff God wants to make new in us, the stuff that is to pass away, we may not even see as a problem, at least I can say I didn't.  Honestly, I did not even know the issues existed.  Insecurity, jealousy, bad attitude, negativity, controlling, etc., etc., etc.

Spiritually,  you would have thought I had it together.  I did.  I was in church every Sunday, worshipping and praising God.  Actively involved in the prayer ministry, teaching ministry and trustees ministry of the church I attended.  In looking back I know I was heavy.  I was heavy with the dos and don'ts.  I was heavy with the spirit of religion, but not as loving or kind as I should have been.  I knew Christ but did not have the attitude or mind of Christ.  I tell people that every church I have attended taught me something.  My first church, Antioch got me saved.  My second church, FIBC. taught me the rules and taught me how to do things in excellence.  My third church, Berean taught me to love people, the rules are not always the most important thing, especially not at the expense of the people.  My fourth church, Desert Life taught me that church, like heaven should be multicultural and it taught me to minister to people no matter what they look like, because underneath our skin, our struggles are the same.  A divorced person or single parent still has to figure out how he or she is going to move forward no matter what race they are.   My current church Fountain of Life is teaching me community.  Touch those that are in your sphere or influence, your family, your neighborhood, your job. love them and bring them to Christ.

The greatest lessons God wanted to teach me about ministry did not come from the church, but from ministry.  Spending the time loving on and being with the people He called me to.  The fitness ministry is more than an exercise class.  It is an opportunity to show those you meet the love of Christ.  It matters who you have on your team.  People working with you need to be genuine, loving, caring and concerned for the people they meet.  It is not enough just to take their money with a good attitude.  The team God has blessed me with is teaching me to greet our community in their own language, Spanish and not to just immediately pass them off to someone else.  Greeting people is important and it makes them feel loved.  I had to learn that everyone that is around you is not necessarily for you and sometimes, you have to shake the dust off your feet and move on.  This was a process.  Because of my compassion I allowed some people to get to close and God had to teach me how to back up.  At first thought I saw this ministry as an evangelistic outreach, but I was going to come at it in a very churchy way.  That is not what God wants.  He wants me to present options to the total person about fitness in every area of their lives not salvation only.  Total wellness options (physical, spiritual, emotional and relational) and not to be upset or offended if they do not take them.  Some plant, and some water.  I don't even need to know which one I am doing, I just need to be obedient to God.  My greatest lessons have been tuaught in the class room aka the kitchen of ministry.  I have made quite a few mistakes in my spiritual walk, but I choose every chance I get to error on the side of Christ.  If I am wrong I will be wrong doing what He told me to do. 

Romans 12:1-2 says, 1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  As God is growing me in this area, He has used His word, prayer, experience, fellowship, pastors, sisters and brothers in Christ, devotionals and every way imaginable to keep me moving forward and for that I am grateful.  My responsibility was to make myself available for His use and to be obedient and faithful.  He has grown my faith and trust in Him in ways I could never have imagined and for that I am thankful and spiritually lighter.

Emotionally, insecure and not even aware of it.  In my mind I thought it was okay to always want it my way, because I thought I knew what was best, based on education, experience and knowledge.  I thought I was compromising.  Now I know that inability to compromise, I mean really compromise is just a sign of emotional insecurity.  Unable to allow other people to give the input that God might have given to them.  Unable to take a chance that what that person was proposing just might work, but instead wanting to convince them to do it my way.  I was sure that what they were about to do was a mistake and I had to convince them before it was to late.  How did I know what God was going to do in any situation?  I didn't.  I had to trust that He could work in and through them the same way He could work in and through me.  When I was wrong He changed me and He could do the same with them.  If they were wrong and their decision impacted me, I had to trust that He would protect me and He has a track record of doing that.  My ministry partner always told me to say it once.  I finally get it, it's on the person making the decision, but my trust has to be in God.  I have no idea what God is going to do or why He is allowing things to happen the way He is, but I trust Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to lean not to our own understanding, but in all of our ways to acknowledge Him and allow Him to direct our path.  I finally get it.  He's got this and I just need to do what He tells me to do.

You know when God has placed people strategically in your life for a purpose and you should be able to trust that God is going to work things out for the good of all of those involved.  Insecurity will not allow you to accept that as the case and may cause you to push against the very thing God wants you to pull towards.

Emotional security also takes away fear.  The enemy can no longer get in your head with the same lies he once used to get you off course.  I don't have time to worry about what God gave someone else or what they might try to do to me or take from me.  My focus is on completing the task assigned to me and making sure I connect, yes, making sure I connect to the people He has sent my way to assist me in completing the task-collaborating.  The old Angela could not have collaborated, because she could not have trusted.  My trust and faith in God have been strengthened over these past 10 years. 

Relationally, surrounded by people, but still distant.  I wanted to ensure that those around me would not make mistakes.  I would hear them and at the same time not hear them, because I was attempting to get them to hear me.  My greatest challenges were my son and my business/ministry partner.  I had already made up my mind and as they would both say, I did not listen.  Now I want to listen.  I want the discussion to take place when they have my undivided attention.  The only real way to be relationally fit is to get into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  It is not about religion and it never has been.  As we get in to a right relationship with Jesus all of our other relationships will line up.  We will see people as who they are and that our job is to love on and encourage them, not to change them.  The only one that can change them is God, but your focus has to be on allowing Him to do what He needs to do with you.  I thought it was everybody else for a long time.  When God really got a hold of me, I saw it was me, I don't see them in the same way.  Nothing about them changed but everything about me has. 

A friend once told me that God showed her how powerful I was in the spirit.  I said un hun.  Then she said He spoke to her and said, she will be even more powerful, when I really get a hold of her.  At the time I did not understand what she was saying and over the years, I have tried to remember her name.  As I was writing this article I finally understood.  He really does have me now and I finally remembered her name.  Thank you Charlene Miller Lewis for sharing that word with me so many years ago.  Another intercessor shared Joel 2:25 with me and I did not understand that then either, but I do now.  I thought I was okay, but the power I was operating in was my own, now I sense something different.  I don't fight any more God fights through me.  He is in control of my tongue and my actions, I don't have to defend me any more.  I remember sharing our Temple Time Bible Study Guide with another friend 9 years ago and she said it's good when you are ready.  At the time I did not understand that either and was some what offended.  I get it now.  Thank you Berinda Wallace.  Thank your Bryan Willingham and Carroll Roberts for your patience.  I get it.  I am not as physically light as God or I would have me to be, but He has done a work from the inside out and I am grateful.

My emotional security has allowed me to let people be themselves.  I no longer feel the need to help you get t right, but instead to pray for myself and each of us to hear God and get it right.  God knows the plans He has for each of us and He knows what it is going to take for us to get there. 

Every step God has taken me through over the last 10 plus years has been a necessary one.  Failing to go through it would have caused me to miss or delay my destiny.  One of my team members at work told me she has never seen me smile this much.  The truth is I never have.  When she does not hear me talking or see that smile she immediately comes to see what is going on and I know her concern is genuine.  A smile a real one trully makes you look 10-20 pounds lighter, because you are no longer carrying the weight of the world, but the lightness of Christ.  I am not talking about going through life like you don't have a care in the world.  I am talking about the peace that comes from living a life that is pleasing to God.  Allowing God to deal with all of your stuff.  I am talking about allowing God to take you through daily moment by moment deliverance of attitudes and issues that hinder your forward progress.  I am talking about giving others the authority to speak into your life and to bring needed correction and being open to honestly hear it.  He has taught me to listen and not talk, while He works out the specific details.  Thank you God this is big.....

Transformation is a dqily, moment, by moment, hour by hour, day by day process, but it will not happen unless you submit to the process.  God is trying to bring us out as pure gold, with changed minds, changed attitudes, changed speech and changed behaviors.  I have noticed my tongue is not as sharp and my responses are not as quick.  I no longer sound like the angry Black woman (yes we do sometimes sound like that).  Sometimes, I am still amazed by the changes, but I have commited to stop referring back to how I use to be unless I am doing it as part of my testimony.  Whenever I would say it at work it seemed as though Shawn had developed a case of amnesia.  He can't even see me doing that stuff any more it is foreign to who I have become.  But I can tell you that what God does is amazing.  Trust God to lead you through your transformation.  If He does it, it will become a finished work and there will be no turning back.  It's not reversible. 

I have not always understood what God was doing or purposing in my life.  I am grateful He did not do it my way.  I am grateful that God did it just the way He did.  He knows what is best for me and what it would take to sustain the ministry He has purposed and destined me for.  It had to be a lasting work.  I have to make decisions that I can stand on and stand by.  I can't wave to the left and to the right or everyone will get confused.   People are watching and waiting for me.  He is putting new people in my life, strong players with other experiences that will help to move me along, my insecurity would not have allowed me to accept their help, guidance or constructive criticism.  I need them and their ideas and suggestions.  While I have a lot to give, I also have alot to learn from those God has sent to help me.  Thank you Sis. Annie, Pastor Monica, Pastor Annette.  I finally put my foot in the water, but I think it was the timing of God.

Let the work, God's perfect work continue from the inside out so that you can be whole and complete.

Scriptures:

2 Corinthinans 5:17

Romans 8:28

Romans 12:1-2

Jeremiah 29:11

Psalm 139:13-15

2 Timothy 1:7

Proverbs 3:5-6

 
 
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