Be Strong & Do The Work!
"Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work."
- 1Chronicles 28:10
God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
220 lbs & I was going to teach a fitness class.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11
But Moses said to the LORD, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?” Exodus 6:30
They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Mark 1:21-22
I grew up at the Jersey Shore. At 150 lbs, I was considered fat and teased by my classmates and peers relentlessly. Big hair, flat stomachs and tanned legs ruled the world. The teasing bothered me but it never stopped me. As a baby, I suffered a head injury and began having grand mal seizures…..24 a day. I lived inside a hospital room in NYC for almost 2 years of my toddler life. The doctors told my parents that I would never have a normal life, never be in a mainstream classroom or drive a car. I would always need assistance. My parents sought out a radical doctor that was willing to try a different approach…... diet. He started me on a strict ketogenic diet and a low dose medication and it worked! It reset my central nervous system and by the time I was six years old, my life began returning to normal and I was able to be active. As kids that needed to get from one place to the next, we rode our beach cruisers EVERYWHERE and regular outside activity was just part of who we were. Once I turned 17 and was able to drive, I went to the gym and fell in love with step aerobics and strength training. I was motivated by seeing definition form in my muscles and the friendships that were formed in the class. The instructors always inspired me. They appeared happy, strong and confident and I wanted just a little bit of what they had but I never had the courage to ask them I never even had the courage to speak to them. Just how did they get up in front of the crowd and TEACH fitness in front of all of those people while remaining calm and smiling? I had no idea how to get started and I was too intimidated to ask for fear of being laughed at. Afterall, this was an entire decade before the world wide web and Google were apart of everyday life. Time passed and as adulting, marriage and kids took over. Exercising became less frequent and I began to yo-yo diet. I tried every new fad to lose the weight that had crept on over the years.
Fast forward to 2012, we had moved to Winston and now had 2 girls, ages 12 and 6. I was at my highest weight, 220lbs, and I had just lost my mother to lung cancer. My oldest daughter was prediabetic and I knew I had to lead by example. I purchased 3 Groupons and my kids and I began attending dance fitness classes. As we were leaving class and loaded up in the minivan, they both started singing a not so appropriate song. I turned around and said, “Stop singing that! Where did you hear that?” Their response, “In the class we just took.” My heart dropped. I was so focused on the moves that I didn’t even understand what was being sung in the lyrics. I went home and typed “Christian Fitness” into the search bar and a few options popped up but nothing that was local or worked with our schedule. At that moment, I heard God call me and say, “It’s your turn”. Who? ME? BAHAHAHA. But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11
I found REFIT, a dance fitness company that offered a certification that allowed me freedom to choose my own music and that’s when it began. I began watching Youtube videos and learned some moves. Have I mentioned that I never took an official dance class…...EVER?
With the support of my church, I burned a CD (I was so behind with technology!) and began teaching twice a week. I know I looked absolutely ridiculous and looking back it is apparent that I knew nothing about fitness fashion, headbands or choreography. I had heard that there was this King and his name was David and he danced until his robe came off! And David danced before the Lord will all his might, wearing a priestly garment. 2Samuel 14
I just had a willing heart and I knew that God would do the rest. Six years later, many of our participants have not only become friends but they have become instructors and teach their own classes to reach more people. There are now 14 classes in Winston-Salem, High Point and Thomasville area happen weekly as a direct result of obedience to God! Although our classes are not 100% Christian music, it’s clean and family friendly, empowering fun. At the end of class, we give it all back to Jesus as we close in devotion and prayer. Most of the classes are offered free of charge because we see it as a ministry. We want everyone to be able to become healthier without adding financial stress to their families. Our community has been a catalyst for women and their families and together, we are learning to do life well. Participants have gained confidence and are empowered to step into more challenging areas in their life. We have witnessed life changing transformations and the biggest ones are not physical but spiritual. My most recent favorite is a participant that finally gained enough courage to take English as a second language.
Sure, I’ve received some criticism. I’ve gotten side eyes and glances because I’m wearing a tank top and have jiggly arms. I’ve overheard, “Bless her heart she has the courage to do this.” I get that not everyone understands me or my heart, and that’s ok. God is concerned about the size of my heart, not my thighs and as long as He is willing to send me, I shall go.
Lord, help us to have the right heart posture and attitude over the calling of our lives. Help us to be open and authentic to others so we can lead them to you. Lord, we’re thankful that you’re not looking for people that fit into a box but rather people that stand out so we can reach more and build your Kingdom. Send us, Lord. Use us, Lord. Everything that we need, you have already given to us and have already ‘pre-qualified’ us. We know that if we do only what we think we are capable of then that doesn’t glorify you and we want to glorify you….that is the cry of our heart. Fill us up with your confidence and supernatural ability to conquer the task at hand….no matter how big that may seem. Lord, thank you for your word and the ability for us to know the truth because when times of doubt come we will know your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Teresa Levy ~ CTC Influencer
Teresa is a Prayer Warrior, SWHW Local Leader and a REFIT Fitness Instructor. She is from New Jersey and moved to Winston-Salem with her husband Bill (21 years) and two daughters, Rachel (19) and Erica (14) and two yorkies, Baby and Bruce.
She works full time in the corporate world and loves to spend her down time leading a fitness ministry, volunteering, and serving. Beach or mountains? She'll choose the beach every time. She loves to encourage women approaching or in the mist of mid-life so they can live well for their family and communities.
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