I'm Growing

I'm Growing

Posted on May 16, 2017

BY KEVIN MURRAY, GRACE ATTENDER & ELDER

Growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone. Which may explain why I was yelling “I’M GROWING! This is crazy but I’M GROWWWWIIIIING!” as I careened down Sequatchie Mountain Road on my bicycle. It was at this point that I began second guessing my decisions. How fast am I going? (I was too afraid to look down on my speedometer.) Why am I riding 104 miles with 10 other Conquest riders from Grace Church? Why are we going through 3 states and climbing 3 mountains on the same day? Is this how my life ends, crashing on a mountain that I can’t pronounce? I was at a decision point: I could continue to panic or I could pause, pray and reflect on how my life has transformed from being tired and empty to becoming energized and full. As I rolled along the 104 mile route, I prayed and reflected on what has transpired in my life in the past three years.

Growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone. Tweet: 
Growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone. Tweet This

Three years earlier my wife said to me "Kevin, you should see your face right now... I haven't seen that look on your face in 15 years" I'm not sure what I looked like when Debbie said those words, but I can tell you what was going through my mind and what was on my heart. I had hope! I was thinking about the possibility of running, cycling and playing hockey like I did when I was a kid. For the first time in very long time, a series of puzzle pieces were coming into place and I realized that I had a real opportunity to live an energized and fuller life, one that sought out God’s plan for me. After struggling with my weight for most of my life, I sought help from others, prayed and I eventually had bariatric surgery.

Sometimes, God steps into your life through others and gives you a wink or a nudge. During my first trip to Haiti, I received a "nudge" from God. We were playing with kids in Chambrun and there I was, weighing 330 pounds and in a country where so many people struggle to get minimal nutrition to sustain a healthy lifestyle. One child came up to me, looked me in my eyes while he poked my stomach and simply asked the most profound question concerning my obesity. He simply asked "why?" Such a simple question but there were so many loaded answers. I was overweight because I was self-medicating and stress eating with food. I was pouring my life into others and into work at unsustainable levels. I wasn't taking care of myself. I wasn't physically active and I was constantly lethargic. I couldn't think of my future or longevity because I was doubtful that I would live very long. I believe that God had sent this Haitian child to nudge me towards God's plans that he had in store for me. God provides moments in your life that allow you to directly see His divine providence in action. I think of these moments as ‘Take God at His word’ moments and I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”



The following month, I witnessed the accident that resulted in Doug Gripp's death and I will never truly know how much it has affected me. I do know that it has changed my life. As I drove Doug’s truck back to his place that evening, I knew that I had to make the most out of the life that God has given me. I realized that I got a chance to come home to my wife and kids whereas Doug did not. This experience along with a “taking God at His word” moment while I was in Haiti eventually led to a series of events that allowed me to lose 136 pounds.



During the 104 mile ride, I reflected Paul’s writing to the Ephesians “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” My old nature was tired and I felt empty. Now I feel energized and get a sense that I am able to live a fuller life for God’s plan. THIS IS SIMPLE BUT NOT EASY. I pray. I pray a lot. I pray each time I eat or feel the urge to make a bad decision. This mindfulness helps me considerably and as I look back on my health journey so far, I was able to lose 136 pounds by making 100's and 100's of wise small decisions. When I make a bad decision, I don't get depressed or give up. I simply get back on track and put things in perspective to ensure that it was only one small bad decision. When I stop and pray, I become mindful that God has a plan for me and I can reach this plan by surrendering myself to Him.

The support that I receive is so encouraging and it helps me tremendously. I have overwhelming support from my wife. I receive encouragement from people at church, my hockey community and our cycling community. The struggle IS real but we must continue this struggle together in community. Sometimes, God shows up and asks you “why” through the words of a Haitian child. However, this time, God showed up at the 104th mile in the encouragement of four friends as we rolled across the finish line together.

Grow with Me

Are you ready to make a change? Do you want to live the life God has planned for you? Get in community and take the first step to healthy living! Whether it's joining an exercise group or eating healthy, just start. Stop waiting for tragedy to strike or for someone to point it out. You can do this and the people of Grace want to help. Learn how to take the first step here.

Comments

Posted by Jimmy FauntLeRoy on May 23, 2017 @ 2:55 pm

You rock, Kevin! I am inspired brother - not just with your resolve - but that you have been actively leaning on God through the process. He started a good thing, but you are clearly leaning on Him every day, whether that day is difficult or triumphant, to continue to grow. Great stuff - thanks!

Posted by Jimmy FauntLeRoy on May 23, 2017 @ 2:55 pm

Thanks for sharing Kevin! It's amazing to hear your story, your heart and the way God has nudged you along during this life change! Truly inspiring, praise God!

Posted by Brian on May 17, 2017 @ 4:48 pm