Total Transformation

April 2015

Nick McDonaldWhy am I running a marathon? The easy answer is I want to challenge myself. However, I did not wake up and all of a sudden decide to run a marathon. The journey leading up to deciding to run took about one year. In early February of 2015, Four Seasons sent me to the Transformational Leadership training. It was an eye opener for me. I was most amazed at the Bible references and how the Bible can help guide you, as well as help you through problems and troubles in life. My knowledge of the Bible was minimal. I thought the Old Testament was how God is going to punish all sinners and the New Testament consisted of stories of Jesus that taught to give and be generous. I didn't think it related to everyday life.

Transformational Leadership training left me feeling a little naïve about the Bible. I felt I needed to grow spiritually and physically. I felt I could do more and be better at being a husband, father, friend, and employee. I also felt I was in great gratitude to FSE for sending me to a seminar that, for me, was primarily about self-growth and bettering your life.

The first question I had was, "How do I better myself spiritually and physically?" I knew if nothing changes, then nothing will change, so I searched for ways to change. The most glaring and obvious was my physical state. I was 35 years old, 5'11" and 282 pounds, and was just placed on high blood pressure medication. I wasn't sleeping well due to snoring. Most nights I slept on the couch so my wife and kids could sleep without me waking them up. This left me very tired during the day.

I drastically changed my diet. I stopped eating meat, cheese, breads, and anything processed. I also started working out at the gym. I was very lucky to go to the Transformational Leadership training with another FSE employee, Mr. Mike Magyary, which has turned out to be a blessing. Whenever I struggled with getting to the gym, he had a short, impactful phrase to motivate me: "Just get to the gym! Don't worry about how long or what you're going to do; just show up."

Whenever I felt sluggish, I remembered Mike's words. Over a five-month period, I lost 30 pounds and was getting in much better shape. My snoring was minimal and I was able to sleep in my bed again. My blood pressure medication was reduced. However, my diet became a little more flexible and I plateaued with weight loss. I noticed the better I felt physically, the more I had an urge to grow spiritually. I was sleeping better, had more energy during the day, and was overall happier. I was also getting great encouragement from my wife.

FSE was another tool I had in the box. I was getting positive praise and motivation from everyone at FSE. Having such a great culture made work enjoyable and I was proud to work with such a great group of people.

Because of my new enjoyment of general life, I wanted to keep improving. I started going to a different church. Through this new church, I was started to go to community and Bible study groups. I found myself becoming closer and closer to Christ in everyday life. I learned by other people's experiences how to give yourself to Christ.

The Transformational Leadership concept of bubble jumping was making a lot more sense to me. I realized to truly be a follower of Jesus, I must relinquish all control and allow the Lord to work through me. I stopped trying to control each event in life and tried to allow the Lord to guide me through each day. I pray every day for my heart and mind to be open to what God has planned for me.

When I started running longer distances, I felt overwhelmed with the Lord's presence. It was a time of thought and prayer for me. I used the TFA from Transformational Leadership training: If you change the thought, you change the feeling, and then you change the action. Like most people, I viewed running as not fun, but when I thought of Christ, and would also think of the people who can't run, my view of running changed. My oldest brother, John, has been in a wheelchair since he was 21 years old. I began to think of running as a privilege.

My wife has run eight marathons and uses running for a base for her continual improvement. I watched her on the sidelines long enough. I wanted to challenge myself and spend more time running (i.e., time of contemplation with the Lord and giving thanks for all the gifts He has given me).

I have currently lost an additional 12 pounds since I started training for the marathon, bringing my total weight loss to 42 pounds. I would love to say I changed because of my strength and commitment to being better. The reality is, I owe everything I am able to do to the Lord's power and grace. He is my focus every day and I pray He continues give me the strength and good health as I train for the 26.2-mile Flying Pig marathon on May 1, 2016.