Aug 30, 2013

Fitness Friday: Intentional Fitness - the Long Road to Print

It’s said that no matter how long the road, the walk down that road starts with one step. My first step was on 12/2/1995:

"This is the beginning of my “I wanna teach” journal…a place to collect thoughts, analogies, themes, and inspirations on possible preaching subjects."

Then a little more than a month later, I realized the road was not a freeway:

"I must be strengthened and matured more in Him before teaching so as not to lead others astray – accountable!  And I need to write down plans – can’t speak from the heart at the beginning – too much me!"

At about that time I received some of the initial ideas about a spiritual fitness teaching. And the Lord began His work to heal, educate, encourage, and humble me. As I look back, I see that the book and I have both come a long way since my initial notes.

And I made the journey one step at a time: sometimes running, sometimes crawling, but always moving forward.

1996:  I moved from Illinois to Raleigh and was thrown on…I mean, gently placed on the potter’s wheel for a season of major healing and re-forming; the teaching on “Keeping Fit to Build Faith” began to take shape, and I began to share it informally with friends.

2000:  I met my husband (who lived across the street from me, story in the book) after passionately sharing with God about how little I needed one and how happy I was with just Him; I officially taught the lesson to our women’s group at church, using the “Fat to Fit” acronym for the first time.

2001-2007:  Incredible breaking down and transformation in my life through marriage, conferences, church experiences, moving, and a major job change; after attending the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference (BRMCWC) for the first time in 2006, I began to form the teaching into a book.

2008: The Lord continued to work deep healing into my heart; I attended BRMCWC for the second time, received the ministry name “Life is Not a Formula” from the Lord during worship, and made a commitment to self-publish the book within the next year or two.

2010: As I experienced a miraculous breakthrough in my heart, the book made its debut at a conference in St. Louis as “Fat to Fit: Working Out Your Salvation”.  

I thought I could see the finish line and my dreams would be fulfilled. I was wrong.

2010-2012: More job changes and personal changes, then I began to enjoy the fruits of all the healing (yes, the Lord does complete what He starts and it is amazing!). The book sold a few copies here and there, but mostly remained on the shelf.  I sensed the Lord said “wait” – you know, the infamous “wait on Me” that we all long to hear.  He gave me the grace I needed to place it in His hands…and to enjoy rest from my journey.

Then at the Lord’s direction this year, I removed the book from print, made a few edits, and changed the cover. I also attended the BRMCWC in May and received invaluable editing help and publishing guidance. Following that guidance, I am releasing Intentional Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation so Others Can See Jesus” through CreateSpace within the next few weeks.

Maybe I’m finally close to the finish line.

But in reality, even if I am, it will only be the starting line for the next part of the journey.

I share this to encourage all of you who have Projects, Ideas, and Big Dreams the Lord has placed in your heart but they haven’t happened yet. Maybe you can’t see how things will ever happen. For me, the journey from initial idea to book publishing has been 18 years. And I needed every last bit of that time and every single thing that happened to get me to this moment, right here and now.

For that I am more thankful than I can put into words.

Speaking of here and now, (drum roll please), I promised you last week I’d share my “top 10” uses for Intentional Fitness. Without further delay, here they are (not in any particular order).
  1. At the end of each chapter, I’ve included challenge questions. These can be used to help you think about where you need to grow and change in your spiritual walk.
  2. The same questions mentioned in #1 can be used for discussion in a small group Bible study.
  3. If you have a table with one short leg, the book is just the right size to make the table stop wobbling. If one is not enough, use two.
  4. If you’re reading the book outside and it’s hot, you can take short breaks and fan yourself with it.
  5. If you’re reading the book outside and it’s cold, use it as kindling to start a fire (of course, only if you’ve finished reading it).
  6. Have a copy in your kitchen – it makes a great fly and mosquito killer.
  7. Have a copy on your end or coffee table – people who visit will think you’re spiritual. In fact, have a copy on all your tables – they make great coasters. 
  8. At your church or your gym, hold a combination physical/spiritual fitness class. Combine use of the book with other tips on nutrition and exercise.
  9. Use it to fill a very small space on your bookshelf that needs filler to make all the books stand up straight.
  10. Great to give as gifts – great size for a stocking stuffer.
As you can see, it’s a very versatile book – one that no home should be without. 

COMING NEXT WEEK: The release date.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE:  What first step can you take toward your own Big Dream?  What is stopping you from taking that step? You can do it!


  1. This is awesome, Mary! I went to BR for the first time in 2007, and I've been through several refinements: physical, spiritual, emotional, relational. I love your advice to keep moving forward. Not always easy, but it IS always worth it.

    As evidenced by your upcoming release! Can't wait to see it!

    1. Thank you, Susan...yes, with God it is ALWAYS worth it. I'm so thankful He is patient with us :-).


Thank you for your G-rated comments!