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Does Jesus Care About My Workout Routine?

Months ago, a friend asked me to blog/ramble out my thoughts (& my thoughts on God's thoughts) on exercise.

I should note that the concept of God having an opinion on exercise is amusing to me.

I didn't write the post, because I was fairly discontent with my body (isn't everyone, in February??) and didn't want to think about it.

Now it is June and I am slightly happier with how I look and less lethargic than I was all winter. But I'm not convinced my attitude is all that better.

On most days, when I am feeling sane and calm and thinking more about the rest of the world than myself, I think this about exercise: we should do it. We should be active and healthy and social. Or alone, if that is what we need. We should be balanced and neither overthink nor neglect our well-being. Just know yourself and take care of yourself, and stop kidding yourself.

I feel better about myself, healthier, more alert and happier when I am consistently exercising/active. I like competing at sports. And I like getting away on my own for a walk/run and using up that excess emotional energy.

But I'll be honest, on other days, exercise is the vehicle for feeding my unhealthy attitudes and dreams/despair over what it means to have "the perfect body."

When someone commented recently that I am going to lose weight in Spain, my first response was joy at how GREAT I might look when I get back. Then sadness that it won't last through the winter. Then anger at myself for thinking this way. And then I settled on an attitude of justified self-indulgence for the next month: "Who cares what I eat?! Spain will rectify everything!!"

All of these responses are wrong, I think. I can't deny it. They all centre around the idea that exercise and an active lifestyle is more about being skinny than healthy.

Why can't this be more straightforward??

This is my concluding thought: we are a strange culture for the very fact that "exercise" is something separated from our natural lifestyle. In theory (I think this is how heaven will be, and therefore this is what God thinks), exercise shouldn't even BE a thing. We would just naturally have active, integrated lifestyles. Those who feel God's pleasure when they run, will run. Those who are happiest on the ice will play hockey. And people like me, who love to walk through the woods, will wander for hours.


Vanessa said…
Fantastic thoughts.
For me it's a daily battle.
Not the battle to exercise. That seems to be something I always want to do. Mainly because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good. If I "look" better because of it, yay!
But the thoughts of accepting my body and loving myself and my curves and STOP COMPARING MYSELF to others who are built differently.
As I said to Jamie the other day, "A woman who is confident with her looks is a sexy, sexy woman." and he agreed.
Teagen said…
I love running and I am so so thankful for every day I can run. I have dreams that I'm running as fast and as far as I want and it's as easy as a sedate stroll. And it makes me think of that part near the end of The Last Battle, and it makes running-me smile really big, because running purely for the joy and glory of God is something I have experienced the shadow of and I am so excited for the reality. Further up and further in!
Alasdair said…
This book has been recommended. I'm planning on getting around to reading it...
Beth said…
vaness - all true. and thanks for sharing.

teagen - YES. like that book.

alasdair - what book? Last Battle!?!? HAVE YOU NOT READ THE WHOLE SERIES!?!?!? And you call yourself British.
Alasdair said…
Ahem. yes, I forgot the link. How embarrassing. Here it is:

And yes, i've read the whole series, at least more than once. And after Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the Last Battle is my fave
Heather said…
I agree. Exercise I dislike very very much... but I enjoy having an active lifestyle that incorporates social and physical health - hiking or biking with family or friends, walking/biking to do my errands rather than driving, ect.

On another note, food is another issue with our culture. Our obsession with fat-free foods and dieting is horribly unhealthy. I say if you eat unmodified, real foods and take the time to enjoy them with family and friends, health will naturally follow without having to count calories or worry about how much fat there is. It's the habit of eating alone, or on the run, which can be unhealthy.

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