Not My Place — Keeping the “Big Things” to the “Big Guy”

If only you’d known about CrossFit four years ago…you could’ve saved your father’s life.

The enemy’s words shot through my mind like bullets from a sniper rifle. I’d just been blessed with the most marvelous opening week at our CrossFit box, and now the age-old adversary was attacking, determined to rid my heart of joy and replace my giddiness with guilt.

One of my dear friends and CrossFitters I coach has remarked to me on several occasions, “You’ve saved my life.” CrossFit’s effect on most first-timers is almost hypnotic. People who consider themselves too weak, too out of shape, too fat, too slow, etc. are astonished to find themselves irreversibly hooked as they do things they never thought possible. After a week or two of consistent CrossFitting, there’s no denying the strength, stamina, energy gained, the inches lost, the enthusiasm for fitness restored or uncovered for the first time.

Many of you reading know that my dad passed away three years ago at the young age of fifty-six. Though he struggled with obesity for most of his adult life, he was strong as an ox and exercised religiously. For all the twenty-two years I was blessed to know him, he only missed workouts when we traveled as a family or if he was sick, which was extremely rare. Every other evening, he jogged up and down our quarter-mile driveway or cycled throughout our rural neighborhood on his road bike. On the other nights, he would do pull-ups from the basketball goal, triceps dips on a brick wall behind our garage, and bench press, curl, row, and squat in our garage. (He would’ve loved CrossFit.) 

I’ve learned that whenever the devil comes against us with hell-wrought lies, one of the best defensive moves we can make is simply to state the truth. Here are some of the truths that popped into my mind when he tried to tell me it was poor fitness that took my dad’s life:

-My dad’s blood pressure was under control and his cholesterol levels healthy.

-He didn’t have heart disease.

-I had just spoken to him minutes before his death, and he was one-hundred percent himself: delightful to talk with, fascinating to listen to,  impossible not to hug, never without a smile and a spirit-lifting joke or compliment.

But more meaningful to me than medical facts about my father were the spiritual circumstances and signs sent to comfort my family and bring us incomprehensible peace as our world crumbled around us.

There are numerous “coincidences” I could share, but honestly, they’re so precious to me that I keep them close to my heart and far from cyberspace and strangers ;-).  However, in reading a book titled Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife, I’ve been blessed to recall two of the ways in which the Lord was preparing my mom and me for my dad’s graduation to glory.

I’ll be back soon to elaborate on these two literal God-sends (or, as my mom and I refer to them, God-winks). Suffice it to say in closing, I know that my dad is in Heaven, and that he was ushered there at the precise moment our Sovereign Lord ordained. For me to dwell on what impact I could have made on his health had I been more educated, more proactive, even more attuned to any observable heart attack symptoms before his death would be abject foolishness.

The Bible says that our “days are determined” and that God has “decreed the number of [our] months and has set limits [we] cannot exceed” (Job 14:5). It’s sinful pride, inherent in each of us since the Fall, that tempted me to think I could have done something different to prolong my dad’s life. It’s a Holy Spirit-endowed gift and responsibility that enables me to help others get healthy and strong…”saving their lives.”

Everyone I coach each day in the CrossFit box has been sent to me, I believe, by God. He has a plan for their lives, a mission or two for them to accomplish before they’re called home, and He wants them to be both spiritually and physically fit to face whatever the future holds. A tremendous load is lifted off my shoulders (there are enough loads to worry about in CrossFit!) as I simply obey my call to help others and leave the details to my Commanding Officer.

One day, we’ll know the answers to all of life’s toughest questions, the ones that, if we let them, can keep us up at night and distract us from daily activities. Until then, we can’t let the enemy flood our thoughts with paralyzing self-pity, guilt, and regrets. Instead, we must keep our focus fixed on our present purpose on this planet, and let our Advocate, the Holy Spirit, remind us who we are in Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ    Romans 5:1

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.     Colossians 1:13-14

Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

3 thoughts on “Not My Place — Keeping the “Big Things” to the “Big Guy”

  • I lost my mom 18 months ago and my Nana a few weeks ago. I’ve struggled with a lot of of regret and guilt at what I could have done differently. This is a great message and reminder to me that I am not the one in charge. God has a plan even if I don’t always understand it. Thanks for sharing your heart 🙂

  • Beth


  • David Tyler

    I have just this week recalled the guilt I have carried over not befriending a guy in high school who was ridiculed for his effeminate mannerisms. This guy was a musical prodigy and a genius, and never, ever was accused of inappropriate advances on other guys. He was just “different”, and to some, therefore, a threat. Paul committed suicide just after graduation. I have, since then, attempted to convey to people that “different is good”! We don’t have to allow anyone to stereotype us or use our “differentness” to advance their agenda. After all, there are millions of differences between us; we’re none of us the same and that is part of God’s perfect design! But my guilt remained all these years and would come to accuse me of responsibility for his death.
    Diana, thank you for reminding me of God’s wisdom and how much confidence we can have as his forgiveness cleanses and opens up the “future and hope” He promises to his children.
    I am so thankful for your work in helping people know new hope, and I am so proud to be able to call you both “daughter” (in-law) and “sister”!!

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