- Abbey Hayes
Ffitrwydd a Ffydd // Fitness and Faith
Updated: Jul 28, 2019
Some things you should know about me before you read this blog: the love of Jesus radically changed my life, I teach fitness classes in America and I’m in love with the nation of Wales.
When I found out that I would be going to Wales, one of the first things I prayed for was that I would be able to teach fitness during my time here.
This was not motivated by an effort to make money or stay in shape, but because I believe God (being the loving Father he is) gave us physical representations of his sacrifice and love so we could understand the things that seem impossible. Fitness teaches us endurance. Exercise teaches us how to access strength that we could not possibly have on our own. It teaches us how to fight through suffering, knowing that there is a reward in the end.
You have need of endurance, for when you have done the will of God you will receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36
I know that God gave me a passion for fitness as an avenue to share his love, so that is why I began praying for this opportunity. I told pretty much everyone who asked me about this trip that I was going to teach fitness classes in Wales, and I was convinced that God was going to open that door.
When I arrived in Wales, I became a little less convinced that teaching fitness was going to happen. I failed to realize that there was paperwork, laws, security issues and certifications that were all barriers to teaching at a gym.
I kept praying. I kept asking. I kept realizing the impossibility of the situation. However, one AMAZING day, one of my friends, who happens to be on staff at the local gym, let me know that this dream that I had pretty much accepted would not happen, was now a reality. I WAS GOING TO TEACH FITNESS CLASSES IN WALES. God keeps his promises.
Now, why is this so important to me? Well, I realized that first-world countries have very little need for endurance. Everything is at our fingertips. Pain can be temporarily escaped through addictions, and we never really have to force ourselves to endure anything. I believe that God gave us fitness to practice endurance, to learn what it is like to power through something that feels impossible, and to realize that there must be something or someone bigger than ourselves to carry us through the unsurmountable. And that someone is JESUS!
I know it may sound silly to think that you can find Jesus in the middle of a sweat-filled workout room with blaring music, but he’s there. I know God is present in the fitness classes I am teaching in Wales. THAT IS SO EXCITING!
I have seen fitness play a massive role in my own faith. After going through a very difficult time, I found myself going for a run to destress. As I was running, with worship music blaring through my headphones, I felt hurt by God. Everything in my life kept getting harder and I did not have a lot of joy. As I was running up a mountain, my body was physically exhausted and I did not think I could keep running. My breathing was getting out of control and I had yet to see the top of the mountain. I couldn’t help but think that what I was physically experiencing was how my life felt. I wanted to turn around and stop running. Suddenly, the worship song lyrics that were pumping through my headphones clicked with my heart, “We breathe to worship you.” I realized that I had been so exhausted trying to keep it all together and avoid pain, that I ended up avoiding God, the creator of the World. But, he created me to worship him, even without trying, LITERALLY BY BREATHING I am glorifying the creator of the World. I don’t have to try. I don’t have to strive. He has overcome. I pray this over all of my fitness classes and any people that I train or train with. That we learn how to worship, endurance, strength, and diligence through physical training.
I have been honored to teach Tuesday and Sunday classes at the local gym. I even got to teach fitness classes in the schools! The people here are absolutely amazing. The kindness and joy of this nation is overwhelming.
Finding opportunities to teach people endurance can open up so many conversations about the sacrifice the Jesus made on the cross and the freedom we have because of his resurrection. Next time you’re in the gym, on a run or doing sit-ups in your living room, think of the endurance that God has given us, and then remember what he has promised. That truth can get you through ANY workout!