Do You Have Spirit?

By | February 29, 2004

Religion is a very important aspect of physique transformation. It addresses the “soul” aspect of the total self (mind, body, and soul). Religion can be a difficult topic due to the existence of so many different beliefs. Some people are very open with their religion, and others consider it to be extremely personal. As a former atheist (now a Christian), I feel that a discussion of the relationship between religion and physique transformation is essential for continued success.

As a child, I was constantly inundated with religion. My grandfather is a Baptist pastor and was always willing to share his views with me. My parents took a more moderate approach, trying not to influence me but allowing me to decide for myself what my true beliefs were. We only attended church for the holidays. When I grew up and moved out on my own, I became an extremely selfish, angry, and cynical young man. As a result, I proclaimed myself an atheist and set out to fight the “evil world” that was doing so many cruel things to me (that is the view I held at the time).

After a few years of floundering in this sea of self-hate and cynicism, drawn into a blurry lifestyle of drinking, smoking, and utter laziness, I began to realize that there must be more to life than the next drag on a cigarette or shot of whiskey. I realized that my “friends” were living in the same rut that I was, and were not the right environment to evolve and move on with my life. I decided that it was time to change, but I did not know how to make the change.

I started by addressing the one aspect of my life that I hated the most: my job. I was miserable where I was, and wanted out. I gave my resume to a local recruiter and made it very, very clear that I did not want to leave the state. In all honesty, I had lived most of my life in Florida and the prospect of truly striking out on my own was terrifying to me. So I was adamant about not packing up my bags and moving somewhere new.

An opportunity arose in Miami, which was a bit far away for my taste, but also a tropical paradise in my eyes. I was flown down for the interview and shown the “fast life” of Miami, and was instantly drawn in. Unfortunately, my desire to relocate stemmed from the decadence that was pervasive on the beaches of Miami, rather than any other desire to change. At the time, I thought it was simply random fate, but now I know otherwise – when I tried to accept the job offer I was given, my lifestyle caught up with me. My wake-up call was the message from human resources that they could not accept me due to factors in my life at that time.

Another recruiter in the same office caught wind of my attempt to relocate to Miami. She aggressively promoted a job opportunity in Atlanta, Georgia. I told myself that there was no way I would ever move that far. I was, however, excited about the prospect of flying to new cities that I hadn’t visited before just for a job interview, so I accepted the invitation for the experience and to visit Atlanta. Nothing more, nothing less. It was a decision that would change my life forever.

The cab drive to the office was uneventful. I remember being startled at how many trees there were in Atlanta – it was like a city nestled in a forest. I also remember how long the cab drive was. I had brought $50 expecting this to suffice; the cab ride alone was about $75. The interview started with me asking for extra cash to pay the cab driver, and I assumed right then and there that there was no way I would be receiving an offer.

After the interview, I stepped back into a cab to ride back to the airport. My stomach was full of butterflies at the prospect of moving – the area was absolutely beautiful, and the job opportunity was amazing. I was excited, but had already made the decision not to return to Atlanta – it was too far, and I was afraid of having to live completely on my own, without my friends and family that I was so familiar with there to comfort me.

The cab driver began to speak, and that is when I found Christ. He was not pushy – as an outspoken atheist, I was always ready to criticize people who tried to “preach” to me and was quick point out their “flaws”. This man asked politely if he could share his views with me – I figured, what the heck? I knew it was going to be a long cab ride.

“You are ready to change, but your mind is muddled. Your heart is here, but your mind is holding you back. Remember, your heart is the antenna of your spirit. When we make mistakes, it is because we get caught up in our mind – in the five senses, in what our body asks of us – rather than listening to our hearts. Your heart is right – it is an inner sense connected to your spirit – it is telling you that the time to change is now.”

Those words had so much meaning. This was exactly what I felt – in my heart, I longed to “escape” from Florida to Atlanta, but my mind was full of reasons not to.