For Whom and For What

“For whom and for what,” is a question learned from my Dad that I ask myself when training my clients. Who am I working with (mom, weekend warrior, grandpa, pro athlete, secretary, etc.), and for what purpose? Is their goal to just “stay in shape” and be able to keep up with their kids? Do they want to prevent bone loss or correct bad posture caused by their day to day activities and job? Or are they an athlete who wants to get strong, lean and powerful? It matters, because what we do with one person we do not always do with another. Believe me I do not have my 70 year old clients doing box jumps on a 3 foot step…not that some of that could not do it! However, that is not going to help them reach their goals and could very well put them in the ER!
I always ask this question when designing programs for others, but I never gave it much thought towards myself or my activities. Have you? Who is your focus? Why do you do what you do? These questions can be asked of almost anything in your life….your job, activities, hobbies, etc. When I started to think about this, I uncovered some ugly truths about myself….maybe you will too?
For years I lived a “triathlete life.” I swam. I biked. I ran. Then I ate, slept, and repeated it all again. Eventually, I raced, and raced, and then raced again. I had years where I felt fast, strong, quick, light, like I was breaking through a barrier, and I was on a high in many ways. There is no explanation for the feeling after an accomplishment such as an Ironman or marathon or even a 5k, if it is something you have trained hard for, and put your heart and soul into, but who was I doing this for and why?
It is only now that I look back and start to think about it and what I accomplished, what I went through to get there, sacrifices made, and also how I had one sole focus. Me. There were missed family functions, early bed times, early rises, lack of energy to do anything fun, etc., and I compromised relationships, my job at times and other things to do what I did. Now, do not get me wrong…I did love it, and I still cannot believe God allowed me to have such awesome experiences. However, the “who” I did this for was mostly me, for the pride and attention that came with it. I finally found something that I was good at, so I really did enjoy the attention I received, the compliments, the label (triathlete), and I sought the pride in others eyes. See, I told you this was ugly! It is pride, and it is fear of man too. Proverbs 29:25 states, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
I am not saying sports, hobbies, jobs, etc. are not good to do or be involved with, but it goes back to, “for whom and for what?” If you have them in their proper place, that changes things. I was consumed by that world, and the biggest person that I left out of my life was Jesus. It became an idol, an identity, and I forgot that I was first and foremost a child of God. I am not my sport, my job, my failures, my successes, etc., and neither are you! There are many who participate in these events where that is not the case, but for me it was. It became all about me, my training, my accomplishments, me, me, me. Colossians 3:2 states, “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Unfortunately, for me, my thoughts on Jesus were secondary to myself.
When the bottom dropped out a few years ago I was bitter, lonely, and in pain, literally. Injuries, surgeries, flare ups of my illness, etc. all started to take a toll, and somewhere along the way I got older too. (Still trying to figure out how that happened??) All this time Jesus was waiting with open arms to catch me when I fell, because guess what? He knew I would. There is a transformation that has been taking place in my life over the last few years, and this time it has nothing to do with me. It is all Jesus and what He has done for me and through me. He took me low, but as Luke 14:11 says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Well, by darn, he humbled me, and continues to do so. After another failed attempt at a race (in one week I was to do an event) I can honestly say I am o.k. with it. There is a reason, and only God knows, but I know this – Isaiah 48:17 states “This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’” As long as He is leading me and my steps are for Him, and not for me, anything that comes into my path, whether good or bad, is for my good and His glory. He is refining me, like gold, and I am pretty sure He is not even close to being done!
I am still under trials he has placed in my life, and it is hard, as I am sure you can relate too. We all go through trials. But I will remain under them and wait upon the Lord as he continues to lift me up, because I believe He will. It may not be in this lifetime, but I am not living for this lifetime, for the glory, attention, and love of others. I am living for Him and His kingdom, for my eternal home. I hope you are too! The more I have focused on Him since He got my attention, the more joy I have, joy that far surpasses any high from finishing a race! Now, I am striving to exalt Him, to praise Him, and to share Him with all I know, because the “for whom” needs to be Jesus, and the “for what” needs to be His glory and honor and praise!

2 thoughts on “For Whom and For What

  1. Ray Osegueda

    Beautifully written Lis! Endurance athletes (myself included) lose focus on the important things when juggling everyday life with the training it takes to live that lifestyle. It has humbled me to see the Facebook posts of triathletes who are fixated on all things triathlon when they have families. I hate to think that I was like that, but I was and still am! (Marathon training) Thanks for the punch in the gut!

    1. esr123 Post author

      Thanks Ray! Yes, it took a lot but God got my attention and continues to do so. I just realized, that for me, my identity needs to be in Christ first and not in what I do or don’t do. And ultimately I am here for Him not me! It is humbling and also freeing! Thanks for reading 😊


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