In the last few years of hard work honing in my craft, I have finally reached a mini-milestone after 10 years of business. I am no longer a sideshow or the back up speaker at an event or speaking engagement. I think back to the first speaking engagement. It was at a church that was invited to.
Although the pastor knew I was invited he kept forgetting my name during the introduction. I remember him getting so frustrated, he shrugged his shoulder and said, “Hey uh, fella just do your thing. By the way your 45-minute presentation is cut to 5 min. Dr. “Such and Such” needs to speak, so he can get to his next engagement.”
I could have let my ego get the best of me and just walked out but I didn’t. So I swallowed my pride, left my power point in it’s case and gave them the best 5 minutes of my life. When it was over they requested that I come every year. Each year they remembered me a little more until finally, I was a main draw, instead of an under card.
A few months ago I presented for the fifth time at that church. It felt good to know that I would have my full time with know interruptions. This time, “Dr. Such and Such” would have to wait for me. Once the respect issue was cleared, my eyes were open to a whole different issue.
As usual I arrive early for the church “heath breakfast. We’d begin with prayer and then it was time to dig in before presentations. The first part of the food table looked perfect; oatmeal, fruit and brand cereals. As I moved down it got worse; pork bacon, pork chops, butter grits, white toast, fake orange juice, preserved fruit, sausage and pancakes with plenty of syrup and butter to go around.
At that time I was dealing with a sick father and older brother, suffering from preventable diseases. With that also on my mind I got extremely upset. I sat at a table with some familiar faces from the previous year and asked what changes they made since last years visit.
The responses were, “Lord knows I’ve tried,” “I’ve been praying about it,” and “I’ve been meaning to get on it.” The comment that really set me off was, “CJ, just keep us in your prayers.” I then looked around the room and notice no physical change in anyone in the crowd. On top of that the deacon that invited me looked frustrated that I did not finish my death plate. He murmured, “Uh, CJ. In my day we finished our plates!” As he said that the tables around me nodded their heads in agreement. I had enough.
I demanded to speak immediately. I originally had this fun presentation that was supposed to entertain, but like every year I had to toss it. What that church got was five minutes of a stern lecture from the angry black trainer. Instead of the usual message of hope and positivity, I simply spent a few minutes explaining how each one of them will die if their habits continue. This time there was no standing ovation. You could almost hear a pin drop.
When I was done, I left the podium, a la I got “Randy Watson.” I put the microphone down and started to walk out. The deacon followed me. I felt horrible and did not know what would come out of his mouth. He put his kind hand on my should and said, “Well Mr. CJ you have our word when you come back next year you will see a change.”
I think of all the tap dancing I did in the past had minimal results. The thing that seemed to work the most was absolute directness. From that point on, my message has been even sharper.
A few months later, I saw one of the members of the church. She looked a lot healthier than when I saw her last. She walked up to me and said, “CJ, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you come back to present. We realize prayer alone can’t make us healthy.” That is what I call hope.
I am so sick and tired of our communities being labeled as the most susceptible to every disease known to man. I am more disgusted with our ability to laugh in the face of educational information that will change your lives for the better. What is even worse, we are doing nothing so God can do something. That is not how God works.
The churches are just one example there are plenty more Ill share in this hour. The excuses and empty prayers, without action stops today, because prayer alone can’t get you healthy.
You don’t have to be a fighter to feel like one. So let’s train!
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For more on CJ’s Functional Fitness go to www.cjff.org or call 1.424.456.7306