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“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25

I’ve been leading a few wonderful women in a Fitness Community called Fitness Freedom since June of 2019. It’s been a very humble beginning with slow and steady growth. This community was built on prayer & faith. It’s precious to me. I do not take the responsibilities given to me by the creator himself lightly. These women matter. Their goals are important. Their willingness to make their health and goals a priority is so inspiring to me. Recently we’ve moved indoors as Colorado weather doesn’t allow for us to continue to meet outdoors. The snow coats the ground like a powdered white blanket most days. Others it’s too windy or teeth chattering cold to be outdoors for any extended period of time. At any rate, we’ve moved indoors. One of our locations was the local community center in my neighborhood. I never have more the 2 guests at a time. We often brought our small children and worked out mid morning while most people are at work.

As it always seems to happen people like to ruin a good thing. Complaints about our children quickly rolled in. Let me be clear I understand that our children aren’t perfect and neither are we. We didn’t neglect the space and we always cleaned up after ourselves. Still, complaints were filled. Soon following I received a notification that I would no longer be allowed to utilize the space. I wasn’t surprised. Thankfully we have other options. What was shocking to me is that someone would use their unexpressed frustration towards me or Fitness Freedom as an opportunity to publicly humiliate me and belittle our community. I was referred to as a “Jillian Michales wannabe and beach body coach.” All of which I’ll choose to take as compliments because those people and programs are actually HELPING PEOPLE. Still, it stung. I reached out to this person and expressed my concern and frustration. No response.

I felt relief expressing myself but something inside kept telling me “THIS IS NOT OKAY!” I decided to publicly take a stand against the bullying directed towards me and my community. I couldn’t believe the outpouring of love and encouragement I received. Coming forward about my hurt and intolerance of this kind of behavior set me free. It helped me realize that I’m not alone and people believe in our community & what God is doing here. Sometimes it’s best to turn the other cheek. I’ve don’t that more than I should. In this case I felt a strong pull to bring this to light. Someone who didn’t know me or take the time to meet me simply made the decision that it was okay to tarnish my reputation. It would have gone under the radar. Completely unnoticed except by the one or two friends that commented as well. That’s what sin, jealously and darkness do. They try to stay hidden. They hurt others in the dark and don’t want to be exposed. Enough is enough. It’s time to take a stand for what is right.

My heart breaks for young men and women who think this behavior is normal and acceptable. It breaks for their insecurities and wounds from their past. But it doesn’t excuse the action. It’s never okay to belittle someone else to make yourself feel better, superior or dominant. I’ve been on that end as a teenager. I get it. You hurt and you want to hurt others. You feel threatened and you want to lash out. You feel you don’t belong so you try to tear down other communities. It’s only human. But there is a better way. You can get help. You can be venerable and talk about your hurtful experiences. You can choose kindness in the face of all those who have wronged you. Maybe I could of let this go. Maybe I could have extended grace and mercy but what about the next person who becomes a target? Sometimes it’s best to speak up. My intention was not to bash her or hurt her. My intention was to bring light to a situation that happens far too often. Being a bully online or in person is NOT OKAY. It should not be tolerated.

The internet isn’t the enemy here. Jealousy, insecurity and a hardens heart is. In every trial justice is served. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Revenge is the Lord’s I’m not after that. All is forgiven. I can move forward and I will. This won’t distract me from what God is doing. If anything it drew me closer to him. This won’t stop our fitness group from continuing to meet together or grow. If anything it will bring more opportunity and exposure. Finally, this will not defeat me.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John‬ ‭1:5

I believe in this community and this experience has only confirmed that others do as well. Sometimes all we need is a little reassurance. A little support & encouragement goes along way. I also realized just how many other fierce women have mu back & want nothing but the best for me. That’s an incredible feeling. It’s amazing how God can take a confusing and hurtful situation & turn it into something beautiful. Without God things like this would without a doubt discourage me. It’s been a long journey full of challenges, change and overcoming hardships. Each chapter is a new beginning. I’ll begin again as many times as it takes. I can’t thank God enough for the incredible privilege of leading this community and all of the blessings it’s brought. Community is so important! It helps hold you accountable, it helps you grow, it picks you up when you get knocked down. Community no matter how small can make a BIG difference in your life. I’m grateful for my church community, both fitness communities, my Arbonne community and all of my friends and family. If you are feeling frustrated, alone or unfulfilled I would encourage you to get involved somehow somewhere. You can join a gym, volunteer, join a book club, find a church, join a small group. The list goes on and on. All you have to do is be brave enough to start somewhere. If you are looking for a fitness community Fitness Freedom would love to have you join! We offer group and online programming. I’m also happy to take you on as a client for lifestyle, fitness or nutrition coaching. You were made for more. You were made to be a part of something bigger than yourself. You can do it! Please feel free to reach out on social media, leave a comment below or email me at fitandfree15@gmail.com. Finally I’ll leave you with a scripture to meditate on next week.

“but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:38-39‬ ‭

Friends are for climbing mountains.