I was in some deep thought yesterday and had trouble going to sleep last night. I have often brought up the subject to my husband wondering what are the markers I am looking for so I will know when I am ready to exercise again. Health-wise, it is easy to set a goal or a target weight or time frame, but spiritually, it is not so cut and dry. It is a waiting game for God to show me. Yesterday, I believe He showed me something. I think that maybe He is redefining exercise for me. I can't start back until I see it differently. Bear with me as I explain this thought process...
A series of separate, unrelated moments, when lumped together, set my mind into motion. I got to thinking about our temples. God gave us our bodies as temples for worship. Our whole purpose in life, after all, is to bring glory to God. At what point did society as a whole forget that? Do you think the Israelites woke up in the morning doing push ups or stomach crunches? No. They got their exercise working, I am sure. I don't remember reading in the Bible where they went beyond that to get leaner or look a certain way. Obviously this is not because they were perfect. They built false gods to worship, for instance. Society today doesn't need to construct a god out of stone because we have figured out how to worship things such as materialism, people, and our own bodies. Let me be specific for the sake of an example. A six pack. Not the beverage kind, but I am talking abs. Yes, some freaks of nature are born with such, but for the vast majority of folks, it cannot be achieved beyond a strict diet and exercise. For me and the thickness of my skin and the distribution of fat on my body, I have to have a very (unhealthy) low body fat to achieve one and it is still only the kind that mostly only makes itself visible when I am moving. For me to devote time and work out with the intense purpose of achieving a six pack, more definition, or what have you, is for me to seek glory for myself. I thought about it and seriously, there is no way (that I could possibly think of) that a six pack brings glory to God. None. Whatsoever. Why do people want things like this? Why have I always wanted to achieve such as this? For admiration. For praise. Defined abs or legs or muscular hiney do not turn people toward Christ. Instead, it says "Look at me." I know someone might be getting mad at me right now. Please don't. I don't like it either, but I really don't think I came up with it on my own. Am I saying that I think people with muscular, lean bodies are sinning?!? NO!! That is not what I am saying at all. I am saying that I believe (as of yesterday when these things crept inside of me) that exercising BEYOND what is required to be healthy or what is enjoyable (which means that relationships are not sacrificed, health is not compromised, joy is not stolen), is reaching for something unholy. It is to attain a goal. One that does not bring God glory, but glory to self. I don't think there is anything wrong with doing the type of workouts I used to do ON OCCASION, when I feel like it and it is enjoyable, BUT no one wants to do it everyday. Stop before you claim that you do. A while ago, I would have said the exact same thing. However, there is a great divide between wanting to do something (think: wanting to go to the park, wanting to play outside with your kids) and feeling the compulsion to do something (think: I want to because I am afraid if I don't ____ or I want to because I want my body to look like ____). I exercised compulsively. While I definitely enjoy exercising, getting my heart rate up, sweating, and my first exercise love of lifting weights, I did not enjoy the intense workouts I made myself do every day. I was tired. I was ill. I was rushed. I know some people need to exercise for health and they do not enjoy it so I am not saying everyone should sit on the couch if they don't like exercising. Maybe traditional exercise is just not for them and they need something more recreational. That is another subject.
I think when I do exercise again, it will consist of lifting weights some every week because I need that for my health, especially since I have spent so much time underweight. I don't want my bones to break into pieces. I will probably try some new videos that will be fun. I will run and jump and play outside with my little man. I will ride a bicycle with him in tow and my husband beside me. I will not have a do or die routine or number of days to work out; and I will not choose exercise over fellowship. I will never let it interfere with being a wife and a mom. I will strive for health and a life, not for six packs and low body fat. I am sure this won't all automatically come naturally; but with work and getting my heart right, it will be easier. I still don't know when I can begin as I am still waiting on God to help me heal and show me things (and on my spiritual leader to give me permission).
I may have not said things perfectly. Some may be rolling their eyes. If so, just chalk it up to a blogger's rambles. I do truly believe that this was a revelation for me from my Father. I am excited because I feel that I can carry it beyond this particular area of my life and relate it to materialism, modesty, etc. In everything, I want to ask why I am doing it or desiring it. Is it for my glory or for God's gory alone?