All of my life I have struggled with getting enough exercise. I seem to be able to do it for a while and then I quit the routine. I envy those who seem to enjoy it and thrive on bodily movement. I have one daughter who thinks dancing is fun. I prefer to sit in the library and read!
I prefer to excuse my lack of exercise as a physical or time issue, but if I’m honest with myself, it’s really a spiritual one. My body is God’s temple. I know that and I practice it when it comes to sexual purity, but somehow choosing to stay healthy doesn’t feel like such a priority—and I know this attitude will come back to bite me someday.
A tithe of time for a 24-hour period is 2.4 hours. I can manage to devote one hour to nourishing my soul and another hour to feeding my spirit, so why can’t I devote one hour to maintaining the body?
So . . . is it a priority to me or is it not? It’s time to put my excuses down on paper and examine my heart.
#1 I don’t enjoy it, so it feels like a chore, and chores feel like . . . work.
#2 I don’t have it scheduled into my daily routine.
#3 Routine, for me, is best kept if it’s scheduled for first thing in the morning, but I have other priorities in place already for that time slot.
#4 It’s a time factor. I don’t have enough time in my morning routine to add a half hour of exercise. But if I delay it till later in the day, other things crowd it out.
#5 It’s a timing issue. I don’t want to do it when I’m too hungry or too full. I know–more excuses.
#6 I’m not hurting enough. Only pain seems to get me motivated.
Here’s my visual: I see a stand-up, circular shell (like a stiff grass zana mat in a Nigerian village).
The soul/spirit inside may be nice and supple, but the shell is hard and rigid. And that’s okay if I plan to remain in one place. And that’s okay if my body is paralyzed like quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada and I don’t have a choice. But I do have a choice.
What is my motivation to loosen up the shell? If the soul starts to move, and the shell can’t keep up, the shell will trip and fall on its face. And then the body will become dependent on other people to care for it. (Forgive me, my daughters, if that happens.)
I can see myself in a race, zana mat around me, but now I have feet and legs. So what’s keeping me from finishing the race? Those pesky excuses.
Postscript: Once I worked through and addressed each of my excuses, I began walking my neighborhood 2-3 times a week with no emotional resistance. I invested in an iPod so I could listen to podcasts and books on tape, and I started to snap photos of trees and flowers that reflect the changing seasons. Eventually, I found myself looking forward to this body movement (I still can’t bring myself to call it exercise!)