Soul Stirring Star

Soul Stirring Star

Ever since I was a small boy the story of the miraculous star in a dark cold night projecting where the Savior of all had come to us held a particular mystic place in my heart and imagination.  Could it have really been real?  If so, what was it? A supernova, just a bright star, or something else even more meaningful?  Could you have actually followed it to where a small child lay in a manger?  How did it occur just at the right time?

Why Mystery Is Necessary

By David Valentine, co-founder of Rethink and partner/practitioner of the Veritas Lifestyle and Veritas Life Adventures


A couple years back I was talking with a dear friend who claimed to be an agnostic for years. I asked him if he had come to any conclusions? He said, "I've actually come to the conclusion that I'm an atheist."

"Well...that must be comforting to have figured it out," I said.

His response was unnerving, "Actually it's quite depressing. There's nothing beyond this, and I've figured out how the universe works."

What was so interesting was…I, as a Christian, had come to the exact same spot. I believed in Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, Church, the resurrection, and I was miserable. I believed I knew how the universe worked.

Life had lost its mystery. I was depressed, and slowly the pendulum began to swing the other direction—questioning everything I thought was for certain.

Mystery, it seems, is a necessary element for the human soul to thrive. When we fall prey to the idea that we have this world figured out our soul begins to shrivel and die. It doesn't matter if we come from a religious perspective or non-religious perspective—this belief system is toxic.

The philosopher from Ecclesiastes says of God, 'He has put eternity into mankind’s heart...

An infinitude of time and space are dwelling within the finite beings of men and women. So of course we become depressed when we believe we have it all figured out, because it goes against an intrinsic voice deep in our being that whispers, "There is more.

This is why my parents used to set a place at the table for my imaginary friend when I was 3. For a child there is most certainly something or someone more than meets the eye. The universe is a great mystery, and they are just scratching the surface.

The problem is we ‘grow up’, our creativity wanes, and awe for life shrivels.

The solution to my depression was subatomic particles.

The world had lost its wonder, until I began to further examine how the world works at its smallest levels. Growing up we are all indoctrinated with Newton's understanding of the universe functions. An object will stay at rest or remain in motion until an outside force acts it upon. A + B = C. The world is predictable and acts in a certain set of predefined ways.

Which generally works in our every day lives. However, at the subatomic level, Newton's laws don't apply. Electrons do not rotate around the nucleus in defined rings, but rather appear in one location and then appear in another location. They do this without passing through the distance in between the two locations where it was seen. Not to mention the location in which it appears has no predictability.

Atoms are made up of 99.9% empty space. So if all of the empty space in atoms were removed the entire universe (Every living thing, planets, solar systems, galaxies) would fit in a sugar cube.

If two subatomic particles are merged together and then torn apart they would maintain an awareness of the other after their separation. They would mimic—it's hypothesized—one another's movements.

The universe is more bizarre, out of whack, and crazy than our daily lives would like us to believe. When brilliant subatomic physicists say things like, "Yea....we don't know why it happens that way" it tells me something about God.

God is bigger than our conceptions of him. We can use very specific language about Him and yet, we need more poetry than specifics. Because we don't know everything about Him, the universe, or the subatomic world.

I found myself walking out of depression this Spring as I slowly began to embrace the overwhelmingly beautiful truth that I don't know everything.

The universe, and God, is bigger than that.

Every step, intentional

A 30 Days of Veritas Tale

By Grant Boatwright, ED Veritas Life Adventures

One thing I have always told the Seekers in the program is, “I will never ask you to do something I am not willing to do myself.” The same goes for my buddy David when he started this #30daysofveritas initiative. So in conjunction with his lifestyle transformation I am challenging myself right alongside him to push myself further than I have before, trying to outdo one another in honor, and keeping each other accountable in what to American’s seems an eternity of time: 30 days straight of the Veritas Lifestyle, no matter the circumstances. Like David pointed out, this would not be easy; no simple pill or instant gratification will see this accomplished, so the only thing to do to make it to day 30 is begin with…

Every step, intentional

My #30daysofveritas fell just before a long 2-week road trip my wife and I had planned for two years: journeying across southern US states from Texas, up the southeast coast, cutting across the Smokey Mountains, visiting her graduate school and family in the northern heartland of Indiana and Illinois, and finally circling back to Texas where we began. How in the world was I going to keep the Veritas lifestyle going on the road, driving for multiple hours a day, no home gym to work out in, and having to miss our church home group multiple weeks? Unable to feed my body what it needs, work it out, or feed my soul in the usual, easy, and routine ways I had formed around my house, I was going to have to get inventive.

Every step, intentional

So I packed an extra bag of small workout gear: bands, push-up stands, my new suspension TRX toy, and my body weight (plenty of resistance there) for my workouts. We got easy snacks full of nutrition and light on calories for the long car rides: dried seaweed (like potato chips but better), kind bars (for that sweet tooth), kombucha (for digestion), and superfood bars (for extra nutrition). And of course to feed our souls we got a inspirational yet hard audio book (Unbroken) to realign our perspective and see how a man in TRULY overwhelming circumstances found and kept his faith, soul, and will alive!

Every step, intentional

The first part of the trip went swimmingly. Woke up at 4 am to work out with Jashley and start the road trip off right. Didn’t buy any extra snacks at gas stations (really wanted those powdered donuts). Then the storm broke… literally. The setting was our 7-mile hike to LeConte lodge in the Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee; this is where we really had to remember

Every step, intentional

Just like the 30 days of Veritas, we had an end goal when we started the trail: the lodge.  At the end of the 7-mile trek, the lodge promised both a comfortable bed and equally comforting dinner. Along the steady incline, lined with beautiful ferns, towering pines and oaks, and even boasting a rainbow waterfall; the thunder rolled in, and on came the pouring rain.


Every step intentional

Although we knew how long the trail was, and were fairly sure we were on the right one, the trail did not have any progress markers. To further compound our anxiety, we got a late start, 3:45 pm, and needed to be at the lodge no later than 6:45 pm or we would miss the very much-desired meal.

Every step, intentional

So with the thunder rolling around us, the rain blinding us, the slate rocks on the trial growing increasingly slippery, no indicators of how far we had hiked or how much we had left, Jashley accurately described our predicament as, “not being able to see the forest from the trees.” We had an end goal, but no way of knowing when, or if, we would reach it. Every bend in the trail looked the same, every tree looked like the next, and next, and next. Tired, moving slow, the incline of the trail only increasing, our wills started fraying. But this is why I train and why Jashley and I live the Veritas lifestyle. So, with my mind and will steeled, I encouraged Jashley (and myself really) to take it one step at a time, and make

Every step, intentional

At 6:30 we finally reached the trail fork I knew was near the end, just .6 miles of steep slippery slate rock trail to go (what the lodge staff called the hellish .6); and 15 minutes to do it. At 6:45 exactly we stumbled into the dinning hall, soaking, physically spent, and mentally haggard; but there, still waiting for us, was an abundant, steaming, mouth-watering meal. After dinner, the clouds broke, a beautiful sunset was arrayed before a breathtaking view of the valley below and we found a roof and soft bed inviting us in.


Every step, intentional

I want to tell you it was smooth sailing from there, but as I have always found in life, obstacles keep coming, trying to bring you down. However, I would not let my 30 days of Veritas falter.

When one of our friends could no longer host us, and as I was stuck in a 4X4 hotel “fitness center” I still got a good Insanity Max workout in. When, at a local park near my cousin’s house I tried to get some sprints in (via David’s inspiration) I misstepped, rolled my foot to the outside, and heard an old injury return in the form of two quick pops. My high intensity plyometric and run training on the trip was finished. For every step forward, it seemed like I was doomed to take four back; but I was determined to push forward, nurse my foot back to health, and make

Every step, intentional

I am now reduced to yoga and Tabata style controlled movement interval workouts. The foot is healing. Despite the temptation to eat out since we are technically on “vacation,” I kept up with my Shakeology meals and healthy eating. Then we get a phone text. My mother-in-law took a bad fall at work and fractured her femur; the news is still coming in. Needless to say it was a kick in the gut, especially after such a great day of work and presentations the day before at Jashley’s grad school. However, with consistent prayer and pulling together I know this will work out in the end, as long as we continue with

Every step, intentional

And so, my 30 days of Veritas tale continues. It has its valleys, and its peaks; and through it all I know I have Him with me. He tells me to take courage, that He will never forsake me (Joshua 1:5-7), that He has plans for me; which He promises to see to fruition, to benefit me, and give me a life of abundance (John 10:10, and Jeremiah 29:11). I am confident now that the good work I am doing during my 30 days of Veritas and beyond will not return void; that whether in my body, my mind, or my soul, through Christ I will see His work in me accomplished (Philippians 1:6).

In summation, I am seeing my body tested, but growing stronger. I am seeing that you CAN eat healthy on the road. And in all this I continue to see my faith and spirit awakened more each day. All I need do is continue with what I started, one foot in front of the other, keeping…

Every step, Intentional 

Now I ask you, what will your #30daysofveritas tale be?

"Hi. I'm Cassie, and I'm addicted to sugar."

by Cassie Byard
Women's Director at Veritas Life Adventures

  Sometimes when I tell people what I do for a living, I wonder if they mentally look me up and down and think, Seriously? You teach kids holistic health? But... I’ve seen you eat pizza. And didn’t you say you’ve struggled with depression? Also, you have more than 15% body fat. And love handles. And I can see your cellulite through your jeans.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying I think I’m fat. I’m actually quite happy with my body, but I recognize that I may not fit the bill for some people’s idea of a holistic health advocate. I’m not trying to make a point about whether or not I physically look the part (that’s for my next blog :)). What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t take long to look at me and see that I have not “arrived.”

I am not the perfect model of health. Not because I have love handles and like pizza, but because there’s no such thing as the perfect “model of health.” Health is a not a final destination that can be quantified and then attained, especially if your measuring stick for success is acquiring a specific body type. When I talk about health, I’m talking about treating body, soul, and mind with care and respect. And let’s face it: I do not always make choices that respect my body, soul and mind.

Like the rest of us, I am on a journey. Every day I am faced with choices to respect myself or to stumble and try again tomorrow. Some of these choices are easy for me. I could even say I’m good at making some self-respecting choices consistently. But I also have lots of areas of struggle, and always will, because I am on a journey that doesn’t have a final point of arrival.

This isn’t to say we can’t have goals along the way. Maybe you’re determined to finally run that 5k or that marathon, so you make specific body-challenging choices for a season. Maybe you’re like me and want to break that sugar-happy habit, and certain boundaries and accountabilities need to be established for your body's benefit. Perhaps your stress levels are through the roof and it’s time to prioritize some serious rest and revitalization. Maybe that Netflix account is sucking away life and creativity, and your mouse or remote needs to be decommissioned for a while. Whatever it is you want to accomplish, go for it and be proud in both the process and attainment of your goals! But please don’t think it means the journey is complete.

We do not make this journey in order to “arrive” somewhere, or in order to attain “perfection.” We push on because as we learn to respect and love our bodies, souls and minds, we find ourselves fuller, healthier and better able to love and respect other people, too.  Sometimes it's rough and sometimes it's smooth sailing, but always it is a journey that urges us to move, invites us to keep on keepin' on, and promises reward and fulfilment simply through participation.

I have not arrived, for there is no arrival; the journey is the destination. But it's a worthwhile journey, and I invite you to join me on it!