My last blog post was about idols and the first two on the list were “good health” and “physical appearance”. See that blog post if you want some insight as to how to know if you have made these things an idol.
Also before I start, some (not all) pictures I included *should* be linked to other blog posts about exercise. They are not mine and I haven’t read them fully to make sure they’re not crazy, but they could provide more resources for you!
Next, here is my confession: I really struggle to exercise regularly, and this struggle comes from my lack of self-discipline! A few things have happened over the last 5-6 years:
1) I graduated from high school where I was constantly involved in at least one and often multiple sports that kept me active. I didn’t even have to think about exercising because there were practices, sometimes mandatory time in the weight room, and then obviously the games. I never fully jumped on the gym bandwagon in college.
2) I hate, hate, HATE, how many girls and women in our country have body image issues! I saw how many people were getting sucked into exercise, counting calories, eating disorders as a means of control and to make themselves feel better and it really made me sad. So what did I do? Made sure I did the exact opposite, which is almost never the way to handle a situation, I have to say. I think there is a time and place for extreme measures, especially when we know our weaknesses. (I think I will do a post later about “personal legalism”.) But so often we react to things by hopping clear across the spectrum to the other extreme when that isn’t necessary or even productive.
3) I join in with the rest of the world in trying to convince myself, “There’s no time!” This is a lie. We make plenty of time for other activities that are not necessary. I do not always manage my time well and do not choose the activities that matter over the ones that are more fun or convenient.
4) I am lazy. ‘Nuff said.
So there is my struggle in a nutshell. Up until recently, I have chosen to not spend the time and energy it would take to start working through this area in my life.
I will now insert a disclaimer:
1) I know I am skinny. (People who are overweight are judged so openly that it is just accepted and “funny” and they are assumed to be lazy. People who are thin are also judged and not taken seriously and despised… None of these are biblical attitudes. Just food for thought.)
2) I know I may not struggle with the same exact things that you do.
But I also know a few more things:
1) We tend to dismiss advice when it comes from someone who isn’t exactly like us or hasn’t had the same experiences. Prov 1:5 says, “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”
2) Physical training is valuable to God. 1 Tim 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Physical training is in fact of some value for many reasons but it is not the most important thing and should not be made an idol.
3) The First Lady launched a campaign to decrease obesity for a reason… it is a problem in our country!
4) My husband and I have just recently discussed how technology and our overall attitude of get more results for less work has slowly affected our society. I will be the first to stand up and say I love technology and my dishwasher, but really, we are a bunch of lazy, unmotivated, undisciplined, selfish individuals! Seriously. I say that in love. Who wants to be those things? Prov. 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
And here is a list of reasons to exercise from the Mayo Clinic website. They can be found with more details about each one here.
1) Exercise improves your mood. (see website for details) My cousin, Jena, over at Life is Beachy Keen often mentions how her evening runs help her recover from a stressful day at work.
2) Exercise combats chronic diseases. (see website for details)
3) Exercise helps you manage your weight. (see website for details)
4) Exercise boosts your energy level. (see website for details)
5) Exercise promotes better sleep. (see website for details)
6) Exercise can put the spark back in your sex life. (see website for details… at your own risk!)
7) Exercise can be – gasp – fun!
I think everyone can find at least one thing on that list that they could benefit from.
I alternate between trips to our apartment complex gym and doing these YouTube videos from home. I am attempting to work out at least 3 days a week for 30-60 minutes. I recommend these videos because they leave me little room for excuses. Even with the apartment gym sometimes I have to traipse through the snow to get over there. There’s my excuse! With these videos, I can do one in between loads of laundry right in my home. Everyone has what works best for them and yours may not be YouTube videos. All I’m sayin’ is find what works for you instead of finding excuses!
Like I pointed out at the beginning, I have really struggled in this area in my very recent past. However, I would go so far as to say it is a sin to not care for the bodies God has entrusted to us for this short period of time (compared to eternity). When something is a part of God’s will for us and/or His commands to all of us, I believe that is when we apply this verse:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13
I want to take care of the body God has given me, I want to look good for my husband, and I want to have more energy to do my other tasks well throughout the day and get more done! If my motivation is to please God and make His priorities my priorities, I fully believe He will give me everything I need to accomplish what I set out to accomplish. I do NOT think this verse means I can expect God to help me do anything my selfish motives cause me to pursue. I may achieve them, but outside of God’s will. Different post, different time! :o) I just hate when that verse is abused!
I am hoping to discuss discipline and time management in upcoming posts so check back in for some encouragement and especially to hold me accountable!