Have you ever looked up from life and realized that the target you had been aiming for was completely wrong? Have you ever lifted your head from the busyness of the day and noticed that all these things you have been chasing after have left you feeling empty and unfulfilled? My life right now is a prime example of that exact ah-ha moment. Maybe you are like me; stubborn. When I get my mind set on something, I have a tendency to chase after it wholeheartedly, never paying attention to the consequences that may come along. Sometimes God has to really shake my core before I even open my eyes to see what's happening around me.
These "things" we chase in life are not always bad. In fact, most of them are good things. But when we let them take the place of God, the #1 priority in our lives, these "things" can wreck havoc. For the past four years, I have poured my heart and soul into this dream of running a successful business. It truly has been my #1 prayer and my #1 focus. Please, don't hear me wrong: running a successful business is a great thing, but not if it becomes more important than the things God says is important.
Working in the fitness industry often involves early mornings and/or late nights. Nobody goes to the gym during the 9-5 work hours. So for my husband and I, this has meant living in passing. As he walks in the door from work, I often walk out. Before we had our child, we were able to make this work fairly easily. We could find spare time on the weekends or the evenings that I didn't teach to make time for each other. But then the light of our life, Saber Charles Hostettler was born. And EVERYTHING changed. The first year of his life, we were very fortunate to be able to take turns keeping him during the week. Lucas would work in the day and keep him in the evenings. I would keep him in the day and work in the evenings. But as you can tell, this left no time for us as husband and wife. And today, we are working very hard on fixing a marriage that is not longer thriving, but just surviving. It didn't just happen. We didn't just wake up one day and realize we were no longer thriving as a couple. Day in and day out over a 4 year time frame, we stopped making each other a priority. We chased all the wrong things. I chased my career over quality time with my husband. He chased his own desires over quality time with me. With the help of God, we will get back to thriving. But in order to do that, we have to make each other a priority over our careers. God NEVER EVER intended for our work to take place over our families. If this stands true in your life as well, let me be the one to tell you from experience my friend: YOU ARE CHASING THE WRONG THING! You see, that career will eventually let you down. Your position may all of a sudden disappear. The salary you were making may one day be cut. The business may one day fail or leave you feeling less fulfilled. Why? Because a career cannot take the place of God.
Why did I put this career first over my family for so long? In my mind, I would justify it. I'm doing God's mission. I'm helping women hear God's truth daily. Truth: God's mission would never involve me putting my family second to my work. The reality is, I was chasing my own dream. I have always had a dream of running a successful dance/fitness studio. I envisioned making more money, climbing my own ladder of success. My husband also runs his own lawn care business. Often times, it's easy for him to fall into the same trap. We are always striving to grow, working just a little bit longer, missing just one more family event, to make more money. Please don't hear me wrong here; making more money IS NOT a bad thing. But when it becomes more important than God's mission for our lives, YOU ARE CHASING THE WRONG THING! We all chase after more money so that we can buy bigger, better things, only to find that once we get those bigger and better things, we are still left unfulfilled. Material things will always leave us empty in the end. No amount of money, no fancy car, no large house, no shopping spree will ever bring lasting fulfillment. Only God can. I started this career with a mission to encourage women, all while pointing the glory back to God. Somewhere in the midst of running a business, it no longer was completely about building His Kingdom, but I instead started to focus more on building my kingdom. I dreamed of the day that the business was making great money. I focused on a new, bigger, better building. I lost the focus. Building Soul Fitt became my priority over actually getting soul's fit. This past year, I have had to make the conscious decision to stop staying at the studio until 7 pm every night and getting home at 8. I have had to set my hours when I have a babysitter and when I am not taking away from my family life. Sure, this has costs me money. I haven't been able to make as much as I could. But when I was working my tail off putting in long hours and making the money, my family was falling to the side. And I promise you , I wasn't any more fulfilled. My marriage, my friendships, my personal health, my spiritual health; all the important things were suffering. More money cannot fulfill us.
Up until I had my baby, my body image was that "thing" I chased. Being in the fitness industry, I've always felt this pressure to look a certain way. So, I worked hard to maintain that. I thought, "if I could just weight this much, then I'll be happy". "If I could just look like her body, then I'll be happy." I would become obsessed with counting calories, macros, avoiding social events, working out for hours, all to maintain this certain body image. But you know what? Even when I was 120 pounds with 18% body fat, I thought I didn't look fit enough. That number on the scale will not fulfill you. YOU ARE CHASING THE WRONG THING! Sure, health is important. I 100% believe that. But if it is consuming your thoughts daily, it has become an idol. God demands that we do not have idols in our lives.
What is your "thing" you have been chasing? Your thing that has become more important than God? Your thing that has taken place over Him? Your idol that you are obsessing over? Don't be like me and wait until it completely smacks you in the face to realize your priorities are all messed up. Start today. Get your priorities in line. God first, family second, career third. If you keep your life in this order, then and only then will you find fulfillment. Career, relationships, material things, health; they will all leave you feeling unfulfilled at some point in life. But if your life is focused on Christ alone, then when the things of life let you down, you will keep moving forward with your head held high. Make God your #1. He will never let you down.