This story appears in FCA Magazine’s May/June 2018 issue.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” — Proverbs 10:9 (NIV)
My life coach shared something with me that he believed could alter my future.
“You can’t get where you want to go,” he said, “until you stop lying about where you’re at.”
It wasn’t just what he said, but the way he said it. It jolted me. After some time I realized, “Hey, wait a minute — did he just call me a liar?”
I know he used that specific language to make sure I was paying attention. It worked. I haven’t been able to shake it since.
He, in essence, was questioning my integrity.
Having integrity means being willing to back up what you say with action. Good intentions on their own don’t produce integrity. My coach saw gaps between my desire and my discipline. He saw gaps between my words and my actions. Then, in a loving way, he began to expose the excuses I had grown used to disguising as reasons for why I fell short.
The Bible is full of passages about living with integrity. But Proverbs 10:9 (NIV) has always stuck out to me: “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely.”
When we’re exhibiting integrity, we never have to worry that someone will catch us living in a way that is inconsistent with what we say we believe. On the other hand, when we lack integrity, we’re always looking over our shoulder to make sure no one finds out we’re doing the wrong thing. The truth always has a way of revealing itself, doesn’t it?
"Having integrity means being willing to back up what you say with action."Coaches have a way of asking questions that expose some of the lies we’ve been telling ourselves. They can help us determine if we’re living with integrity. Here are three questions that act as a mirror for me as I strive to experience transformation and reach certain goals:
• What obstacles are in my way?
• What’s keeping me from becoming who I am made to be?
• What’s preventing me from reaching my goals?
Pay attention to how you think about those questions, because your answers might say a lot about you. If your answers are consistently pointing the finger at outside sources, you might be an excuse-maker. Maybe a lot of the reasons you aren’t making progress are really just excuses, which exposes a deeper issue of integrity.
I’ll put it this way: If I know what I need to do to accomplish a goal, and I simply don’t do it or I make up excuses along the way, then I’ve exposed a gap that only I can close.
You can have reasons or results. Not both. And, if you’re anything like me, you just want results.
The older I get, the less time I have for excuses. So, as we pursue optimal health, let’s be true all the way through.
Here are two simple ways we can display integrity with our health.
Have integrity with your fitness. We have to keep our commitments to exercise. If you commit to “sweating every day,” you need to do it! Or, if it’s four times per week, put it on your calendar and don’t let how you feel stop you. There are plenty of days where I have to talk myself into getting to the gym or exercising while I’m traveling. But having integrity means keeping my commitments to exercise, showing up and putting in the work to reach my goals.
Have integrity with your food. This is the one where I have a tendency to compromise — especially if it’s a craving. By now, many of us know which foods are good for us and which foods aren’t. Whole foods — the ones that haven’t been processed and still maintain the integrity of how they were grown — are the best. Highly processed foods — the ones that lack integrity because they’ve been modified from their original design — are the most harmful. It’s not that complicated, but it takes a concerted effort to make the smart choice whenever your stomach tells you it needs some food.
Want to know the most beautiful part of those two pieces of advice? Both go hand-in-hand! When you make wise, whole foods choices, you naturally have more energy and want to be active. And after you finish a great workout, you don’t want to ruin it with an awful food choice. Energy begets more energy, and the momentum becomes real!
I know living with integrity can be hard. It’s not easy to do what we say we’ll do and constantly line up our actions with our words, values and beliefs. But that is what we are called to do, and that’s why people with integrity stand out from others. They live in such a way that God is glorified and that’s what we all want. Let’s pursue God together, and I’m certain we will find the life and freedom found through the path of integrity.
Intentionality with integrity:
1. In what areas do you lack integrity with your fitness? What commitment will you make to get back on track? Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
2. In what ways do you lack integrity with food? What commitment will you make to get back on track? Read Daniel 1:11-17.
About the author
Jimmy Page serves as the Executive Director of Field Ministry-West Division of FCA. As a 20-year medical fitness leader and former National Director of FCA Health and Fitness, he models and promotes principles that lead to abundant health and life. Jimmy is an author of True Competitor, One Word, Wisdom Walks, Life Word, and Called to Greatness. He and his wife, Ivelisse, started a cancer foundation called believebig.org following her victory over cancer. They have four children and live in Fort Collins, Colorado.