Do I? Or do I not? These are the Shakespearean-esque questions I ask myself around 4 p.m. on a daily basis. It’s not just a moral dilemma, or an emotional pondering, or even a battle of the will.
It’s all those, and so much more for me.
I’m asking myself whether I should tie up my laces and run.
Not run from some personal problem—I mean literally run. To pound the pavement of my suburban neighborhood, with one foot in front of the other, watching the sprinklers with the kids squealing and the teenagers sitting on their hoods playing music whiz by. Or rather, crawl past me at a snail’s pace. I’m not a very fast runner.
This is my dilemma almost every late afternoon.
While I haven’t been consistent as I had hoped this year (spring in central Oregon is cold, I tell you), I have run more in the past few months than I have in years.
And there’s just one difference between all my years of feeble attempts to “get back in shape” and this year… it’s my reason for doing it.
Sure, I want to see my pre-baby body again. I’d love to reward myself with ice cream after dinner because I burned calories earlier that day. And nobly enough, yes, I want to be a role model for my kids and be a mom who cares about her fitness.
But those aren’t the reasons I’m exercising anymore. Well, okay, those are some of the reasons, but they’re more byproducts to my current single, solitary focus.
Which is this: to honor God with the body He gave me.
That’s it. And I know that’s a Sunday school answer. But it’s hit me like a ton of bricks the past few months how I write off making exercise a priority because of time, or tiredness, or even more ridiculous—it’s really not that important.
It is important that I take care of this instrument that carries my soul around on this earth, if for no other reason than to give Him glory.
I’ve been reading Gary Thomas’ new book, Every Body Matters, and it’s constantly hitting me square between the eyes. Listen to this:
“Christians who don’t take their health seriously don’t take their mission seriously. What we’re really saying is, ‘My life doesn’t really matter.’ But because of the ability of God to work powerfully in any repentant sinner’s life, every body does matter.”
My body doesn’t really belong to me anymore, so really, it’s a matter of stewardship, not personal glory. It’s about taking care of these muscles, bones, and this skin on loan to me from my Creator.
If I sound like I’ve got this down pat, think again. I daily battle my will, and many times, I cave. Just ask Kat, my accountability partner. Every Friday, I DM her on Twitter with how much I exercised that week, and there are times when it’s not pretty.
But I get up and give it another go, because I’m blessed with two legs that can run, arms that can lift, and a heart that can pound. As Thomas also says in his book, “What if exercise and discipline in eating isn’t as much about physical health as about honoring the God who made us?”
Exercising regularly isn’t a sure-fire ticket to a long, happy life, disease-free. I know that. But there’s something about moving my body and working up a sweat that increases my overall zest for life. Just as sitting on the couch is a downward spiral for me, so is working out an upward one—I think better, sleep better, love better, and work better, all throughout the day. It’s as though my body is doing what it was created to do.
Regardless what happens to me in this life, I don’t want to be guilty of sullying up my earthbound vehicle, much like a teenager who tosses fast food wrappers in the back of her dad’s borrowed car. I want to say this:
“If I’m going to hurt in this fallen world—and everyone of us will—I’d rather hurt and be sore getting in shape than hurt and be sore because my body isn’t fit.” -Gary Thomas
I’m sharing this to encourage me just as much you, because it’ll help me to reread this post on those days when I don’t feel like pounding the pavement once more. I’m very much on this journey with you.
I’ll end this post with one final thought from Thomas: “By God’s design, we are a people with souls who desperately yearn for intimacy with God—people whose souls reside in bodies that can hinder or help this pursuit. Which will it be?”
Join me, will you? Let’s exercise our bodies together, if for no other reason than to sing praise to our Maker.
By Tsh, Simple Mom