The Ride of Your Life


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I felt like Hamlet.  In optimum condition or in an inoptimum condition; that was the question I faced yesterday morning.

I was pondering whether or not to go out for a ride on my triathlon bike.  The night before, I was hit by a shot of inspiration in the form of my friend Marc Payan (@Payan90x) who started his P90x journey and is chronicling it on Twitter and a blog.  However, when morning came, I realized why I hadn’t been on my bike but a handful of times since that half Ironman triathlon back in May; a boatload of excuses!

You see, an optimum bike ride, I had been telling myself, requires a fair amount of time.  I didn’t want to just go out there for minutes, I craved HOURS on the road like a REAL triathlete.  But, yesterday morning promised the opposite right out of the gate.

First, my tires weren’t holding pressure well.  Second, I couldn’t find my sunglasses; how was I to be protected from errant projectiles aimed at my eyes?  Then, by the time I was ready to take off, the ride was only going to be about hour.  Hello, not of optimum length!

I literally paused for a couple of minutes and thought this through.  What would that crazy nut @Payan90x do?  That guy’s face on his “reflection video” was going to drive me nuts if I didn’t head out for the ride.  Forget this, I was hitting the road! So, on I went riding into the sunrise.

Well, what I experinced was pure joy!  My legs felt alive again as the air blew across my exposed eyeballs and through my helmet air vents, rustling my 1/4″ long hair! This was what I had been missing and I had almost missed it again!

How many other things had I missed out in my life because things weren’t in optimum condition?  So, I ask you the same thing?  What have you missed out on because you wanted the circumstances just right?  Did you choose not to pursue a relationship, a job opportunity, a decision about your faith, or any other risky situation?

While I know that every circumstance is different, but I invite you to take a chance at that “inoptimum ride”.  You may just be in for the ride of your life.

Happy trails!

-Steve Chaparro, http://www.LifeWorkout.net

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To Be Alive Again!

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This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at a Women’s Health Seminar along with three great friends.  It was a great success in that the topics discussed were extremely practical and relative to the experience of women trying to achieve a healthy life.  In fact, I applaud the women that attended because it takes courage to show up for a health-related conference.  Here’s what I mean.

Before the conference started, I was talking to the pastor’s wife who is the women’s ministry advisor.  She shared that the attendance was low that day.  It seemed as if many women didn’t care about the issues of health.  When we concluded our conversation, we both determined that it was more about being afraid to face the issue of health for fear of what they might discover.  In fact, one of those that did NOT attend had questioned her why she should attend…to be told that she was fat?!

In reflecting over this for the last two days, I have come to realize that this is a common response to many things in life.  Who can relate to the fear of going to your doctor for a check up, balancing your check book, going to a marriage counselor, stepping on a scale, or even going to church?  I had one friend who told me years ago that if he stepped foot inside a church his feet would sizzle due to his ungodly lifestyle.  It’s hard to face the truth about our marriages, our finances, our spiritual life, or our health so we have a natural tendency to stay away from situations that would require us to do so.  I know, I have been there many times and will be there many more times before my life is over.

However, here is something else that I know, that until we face life, we don’t have the option to choose life and ultimately attain it.  My dad always used to say that we are always making choices.  Even when we avoid making choices, we are making a choice to do nothing!  Is it possible that we give up the dreams of becoming alive again in our marriages, finances, faith, or health because we have determined that the pain of facing it is too great.

We have all heard the scriptural adage that “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”, right?  I have seen this principle proven countless times.  Marriages have been restored, finances have abounded, faith has been deepened, and even health has been attained when these courageous people purpose in themselves to have a better life by facing it head on.

Is it painful to face the facts?  Absolutely!  One of the women’s leaders at this seminar had shared the previous month about healing your heart, both physically and spiritually.  She had encouraged the women to get a physical heart checkup.  Two women later reported back to her that they had gone to their doctor and found that they did have heart conditions, but that they were treatable.  When you face the facts, you won’t always get great news, but at least you can face it before it’s too late.

So, I urge you to do the tough thing, do the right thing; face life so that in the end you can attain it.

Desperate for life,

Steve Chaparro, www.LifeWorkout.net

Two Fellows in One Ship

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The other day, I challenged a good friend to a workout. 

You see, he’s a black belt martial artist and I am an endurance athlete.  I texted him to ask when he was going to man up and go on a run with me.  He responded by saying that he was up for the run… after I went to a MMA workout with him.  As soon as we cut through the testosterone-induced banter that followed, we set a date.

Bright and early the next Monday morning at 6 a.m., we met outside his place.  We took off and just started talking.  It really wasn’t meant to be highly intense workout, it was more about multi-tasking; getting in a great workout and reconnecting with a great friend.  Before we knew it, our legs had swiftly carried us across three miles and it didn’t even phase either of us.  My friend quipped about how easy the run was with a partner.  Later in the week, he told me that he had duplicated the same run by himself and that it was much harder.  It reminded me about the value of fellowship.

Fellowship is a biblical term that is loosely defined as sharing in someone’s journey.  My pastor uses the joke that it is “two fellows in one ship”.  I like that description.

Every one of us is on a journey.  Every one of us is trying to work out life.  I called these LifeWorkouts.  When we face life alone it can be hard.  If life were likened to a marathon, the miles never seem to pass quick enough and it may seem that are going to “bonk”, or shut down.  It is hard to find the internal courage and strength to push through these walls.

That’s when its important to travel our journeys with friends.  When I train for a marathon or a triathlon with a training partner, the minutes and the miles go by so much faster and easier.  When we share in each other’s life struggles, it doesn’t mean that the struggles will go away, but we have increased energy, strength, and drive to dig deep and push through them.

One of my favorite scriptures, Proverbs 27:17, says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

So, find a ship, find a friend, and go for a ride together!

~Steve Chaparro, www.LifeWorkout.net

A New Arrival, I’m a Daddy Again!


Okay, okay, so it’s not a new baby boy or girl, but it’s a new baby nonetheless.  It’s a brand new website!

My financial coaching company has just launched our new website, www.LifeWorkout.net and I am just as proud as a new daddy.  To be honest, it was very hard to concentrate on anything else until this little guy arrived.  We are very excited to have another way to get our message of financial freedom out to those that need some one-on-one coaching. 

Take a look at the website and you will find some interesting statistics on how financially stressed much of Amercia really is. In spite of all of that , there are some really common sense steps that we can take to get our FinancialLife back in order.

We would love to get some feedback on how you think the website might be improved including other elements that we don’t have. In the future, we will have our blog as part of our site as well as a video blog.  We will also have a resource store where you can purchase items to help you with your FinancialLife Workouts. 

If you are interested in learned about the financial coaching services we offer, you can submit a contact form as part of the website and we will get right back to you.  As the website grows, we are considering offering other types of coaching as well such as fintess coaching, business coaching, and even life coaching. 

Talk to you soon!

~Steve

Are You Out of Whack?

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The other night I, literally, did not sleep a wink.  My mind raced the whole night about possibilities. I wrote things down, I checked updates, I read scripture, and I even ate leftover green chile enchiladas (thanks, Babe).  The next day, my body was out of whack.  I was of no use to anyone.  It made me think of how our lives are sometimes out of whack.

The human body consists of many systems.  Depending on who you talk to, there are between nine and eleven systems such as the circulatory, respiratory, and reproductive systems.  In order for there to be health in the body, all these systems need to work well and in unity with one another.  They depend on each other.  When one or more systems are out of whack, then there is a threat of disease, or as I will call it, DisEase.

Conversely, our existence is also made up of LifeSystems.  In general, our LifeSystems are comprised of our BodyLife, our SoulLife, and our SpiritLife.  If any one of these LifeSystems are not working well, or are in disunity, then there is danger of DisEase as well.

On one end of the spectrum, our BodyLife is all about our connection with the tangible things of this life such our bodies (i.e. nutrition, fitness, energy), and our possessions. 

On the other side, our SpiritLife determines how we interact with deeply rooted convictions and beliefs such as our faith, intuition, and wisdom. 

In the middle resides our SoulLife, or as I life to call it, the mission control of our being.  Not only is it the seat of our mind, our will, and our emotions, but it also determines how we will lead our lives.  It determines how we will approach our families, our relationships, and our careers.  It searches for answers to the age-old questions about what gives us meaning, a sense of purpose or fulfillment.

So, how do we keep each LifeSystem healthy and working in unity?  Is it even possible in this age of distraction, procrastination, and imbalance.

Consider how Jesus was described at the age of twelve years old in Luke 2:52;

 “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”

My goal is to compel thoughtful interaction, so please feel free to comment below.  Soon, I will be writing about LifeWorkouts.

~Steve

When the Curtains Close

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Sometimes the curtains close in our lives as if to say, “The show’s over”.

Our visions fade to black.  Our dreams are laid to rest.  Our goals are replaced with the acceptance of the status quo.  Why not?  The show’s over, right?

Well, know this, God allows curtains to close because He’s getting ready to blow your mind.  You see, the next act can’t happen until the previous one ends.  If you’re in an intermission, then stretch and get your popcorn ready because God’s going to resurrect your business, rekindle your ministry, or restore your relationship.

Rest… then, enjoy!

The Greater of Two Pains

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We all have things we would like to change.

First, we can’t change what we can’t control.  Second, we must decide which pain is greater; the pain of “change” (sacrifice, behavior adjustments), or the pain of “settling” (frustration, complaining).

Three years ago, I was complaining to my wife about my being overweight.  After months of hearing this, she responded, “So, what are you going to do about it?”  I had been “settling” for, or accepting, my situation.  I realized that the pain of settling was far greater than the pain of changing.

So, I started running and lost 30 pounds.

Be Still…for 100 Words


Turn it off.

…Turn off the TV, turn off the computer, turn off the cell phone, turn off the Ipod, turn off the radio, turn off the Kindle.

Stop.

…Stop talking, stop thinking, stop worrying, stop regretting, stop crying, stop yelling, and stop working.

Listen.

…Listen to that voice that is trying to be heard above the noise.  That voice that says there are plans for you; plans that are for good…for hope.  The stage curtains have been closed because a new scene is being set behind them.  Can you hear it?

…“Be still and know that I am God”.

Bad Races, Spectacular Finishes

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A bad day can also be a spectacular day.

As an endurance athlete, just as in everyday life, I have seen this lesson come to light countless times.  When I am training for a marathon or a triathlon, I would obviously prefer to envision the race unfolding under best conditions; the weather is crisp, my body is well rested, my mind is determined, my diet is on track, my legs are loose, and the course is easily conquerable.

However, if I were really hard-core, I would relish in the pain of things going wrong and still pressing on.  In my last marathon a year ago, I tackled the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Rock Seattle Marathon.  I had decided to tag along with the group that was shooting for 3:45 finish time which would be my new personal record (PR).  I scoffed at the advice of the other pace group leaders who advised that I should not attempt to PR on this very tough course because it was very hilly and challenging.  I smirked internally as they did not realize all the great training that I had done.  So, against the advise of veteran marathoners, I set out to blaze the trail.  Well, needless to say, in one respect, it didn’t turn out so well.

For the first 9 miles I was dialed in which that meant that I was going faster than I had ever gone before.  As it turned out, these were the easiest miles of the 26.2 mile course.  Then I hit the hills!  I thought, “what am I doing?”  I felt like I hit the infamous “wall” 11 miles too early.  This was supposed to happen at mile 20, not mile 11!  I thought of quitting many times, but since this race was undertaken to raise funds for cancer research and to honor a good friend’s fight, that was not an option.  So, I trudged on, digging deep, well beyond my physical ability.

It became painfully clear to me that I was going to miss my time goal by a wide margin.  It was hot, I was in a lot of pain, and the finish line seemed to get further, not closer.  As I entered downtown Seattle, I felt the a rush of adrenaline as I sensed the closeness to the goal.  I mustered a sprint to the finish for a time of 4:11.

Yeah, I missed the goal by a good 26 minutes, but I have to say, that of all my races, I can sincerely say that this race is the one that I am most proud.  In spite of my early meeting with the “wall” and my disrespect of the hills, I was able to call for the strength and determination to give it all that I had to finish as if I was going to win the race. 

You know what?  I did win the race!  I could have given up at any point in the race, but I didn’t.  I conquered my fear of failing.  I conquered the temptation to quit.  I finished the race.

Earlier in that training season, I remember running with a training partner.  We both agreed that the worst running workout is sometimes the best mental workout.  That couldn’t be more true in our everyday lives.

We have visions about how are lives are going to turn out, but life doesn’t always go to plan does it?  Sometimes our marriages, our families, our finances, our careers, and our faith can hit the “wall”.  We are so tempted to throw in the towel because it would just be easier than having the suffer the pain of disappointment.  But, I am here to urge you to dig deep.  Know that God has a plan for you that is greater than the despair that you find yourself in.  Dig deep into what God has for you.  Dig into His strength that can only really work when we give up on trying by our own means and methods and reliance on our own strength. 

How can we experience God’s strength until we have come face to face with our weakness?  How can we be humbled by God’s faithfulness until we have been demoralized by the unfaithfulness of others?  How can we be exposed to the grace of God until we have unleashed the rivers of tears in our hearts?  How can we taste of God’s never-ending provisions until we have found ourselves in positions of great need?  I think that picture is pretty clear…

So, when you are in the middle of a bad race, remember that bad races are the breeding grounds of spectacular finishes!

~Steve

A Peaceful Discomfort

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I am unemployed.

Part of me is very uncomfortable about that.  The driving, ambitious ‘Type A’ side of me is like a wild stallion trying to break out of a corral, or a zealous athlete pleading, “Coach, let me back in!”  I have options that I can pursue, but I have chosen to be led by God so I don’t end up in a place where I have defrauded myself of what God has prepared for me.  But, this is uncomfortable.

If I let this discomfort get the best of me, I begin to fear of how I will soon pay the bills and I question whether my family will be okay with medical coverage.  I don’t like not (bad English, I know) working towards a tangible goal.  I don’t like not knowing where I am going.  I am a risk taker, a goal maker, a play maker…so, this is uncomfortable.

However, the other side of me is so very much at peace with this season in my life.  In fact, the intimacy that I have with God now is far greater than I have ever had before.  Because I have questions, and because am seeking for clear direction, my desperation for Him has multiplied.  Not because I am fearful of what can go wrong in my life, but because I am “gasping” for what can go right in my life.

I know with absolute confidence that this is the “place” where God wants me in right now.  I know that when people say that they are in “transition” their friends nod knowingly as they know that’s code for unemployment or a lack of “place”.  I think of Abraham when God told him to leave his place of comfort, the place where his family and friends lived, the place where he had accumulated much wealth, and to go a place called “Yet To Be Determined”!  He didn’t tell him where exactly he was going, he just said “go”.  He had for him an inheritance that was as abounding as the number of sand grains in the desert and as numerous as the stars in the sky.

I know that great things are just around the corner.  Things that are greater than my grandest vision.  Things that I would have before laughed at allowing myself to imagine.  I think of, and draw inspiration from, God’s words to the prophet Jeremiah who experienced his own conflict of peaceful discomfort:

“For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

I think discomfort is good.  Without discomfort, we have no opportunity to find intimacy and peace with the Comforter.

~Steve