It finally happened. I guess it is something that comes to many people as they age. My doctor told me I had to lose weight and do heart-pumping exercise for 15 minutes a day. I have known for a very long time I needed to do some aerobic exercise but I just didn't want to do it. I stay active. I care for my son all the time which means lifting him (so I counted that as lifting weights). I sit a lot but I also am up and down all the time. I stay busy and I usually take a leisurely walk daily (but that doesn't count for the heart-pumping exercise, said my doctor).
These last several years I knew I was using excuses. I knew what I needed to do. I used to exercise all the time. I just didn't care enough to do it.
But God is persistent. Before my doctor told me this last week, God had already put a couple things in motion. First, my mom gave me a very nice pair of running shoes while I was visiting. She'd bought them for herself but they didn't work out. Here they are below:
So now these shoes have some South Dakota dirt on them. I run at about 5:05 in the morning while my coffee is brewing. Then I come back and read, pray and journal. I've done it three days now and I am committed. It feels right. I had attempted to exercise in the past but it was always a chore. I'm actually enjoying it. Plus, it's good for my dog Zeko who's getting older. He's 12 years old.
This morning as I took off running (it's more like jogging and walking fast) my body felt a bit odd. I realized I might be seriously running back because I had taken a couple of pills last night to get my digestive system to eliminate waste faster (if you understand my meaning). And I could tell when I started out this morning they were working great. I made it back thankfully before they had their full effect!
I am one who puts the mind above the body. I enjoy learning new things. I enjoy reading and writing and researching. They are my passions. So in the past it has been very easy to justify not spending time in heart-pumping exercise. Yes, I was told to lose three pounds, but I typically stay at a decent weight without exercising. My clothes fit comfortably and I look pretty fit (because the lifting of my son has put some nice biceps on me -- though I have flappy triceps) so I could get away with doing nothing. And I just didn't care. I think I already said that but I say it again because it is a very strong emotional choice in me. It even might be a fatal one. I don't care because some days I long so much for heaven. I get to see Jesus face-to-face and my Maggie. Don't worry. I'm not suicidal but when I choose to neglect my health, even passively, I am hastening my own death by choice. When we don't take care of ourselves physically that is what we're doing.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body."
Our culture is obsessed with bodies and being fit, being toned, being ripped and being thin. It is ridiculous and obscene the amount of time people spend on their bodies. Some professions demand it. Like a professional dancer needs to dance hours a day. Or a professional weight-lifter needs to lift weights. But if it isn't for a practical purpose, I truly think being fit has become an idol. Many people in our culture worship their own bodies.
That being said, as Paul writes above, our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and we should do our best to be healthy so we can do the work God has set before us. Part of being healthy means we need to exercise our bodies. There is a balance that needs to be achieved. Health is a good reason to exercise. Obsessing about weight or appearance are NOT good reasons to exercise. We should find our identity in Christ and in Christ alone. Sometimes, even if we take care of ourselves physically, our bodies will be hit with sickness or accidents that dramatically change our appearances, usually negatively. If that happens and our identities are wrapped up in our bodies looking a certain way, we are going to be messed up emotionally and mentally.
I hope you find some kind of exercise you can enjoy that will get your heart pumping a few times a week (but be careful with those waste-eliminating helpful pills). Maybe you already exercise. If you do, great. Just be sure to examine your own heart and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. God will help you in that. You are not your appearance. You are not a certain weight. You are not toned muscles. If you know Jesus Christ personally, you are a child of God.
"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" 2 Corinthians 13:5a