Finding a happy spot with exercise has been a journey that is almost 11 years in the making. Since the month I first started running at the age of 14, almost 15, and now I’m a few weeks from being 26, I’ve wrestled with how a healthy amount of physical activity fits into my life. How do I glorify God with my exercise but not let it become an obsession or an idol?
That happy spot seemed so elusive for so long. I realized how influenced I’d been by social media, by the things I had absorbed after years on Runner’s World forums.
And it took years to root out the thinking that exercise was about:
looking a certain way
weighing a certain number
obsessively eating so that I would be the ‘healthy’ one
the way it makes your body feel
the way it helps you get stronger and doesn’t damage your reproductive ability
the happiness of being outside in God’s creation
I had to distance myself from places on the internet that made me feel like I had to do a 5-10 mile run everyday. I had to draw closer to people who were reminding me that exercise was about freedom not bondage.
And now I’m in a happy spot that has showed me that my body can handle:
2 days(ish) of running per week
3-4 days of weightlifting
For a long time, I thought, ‘I can’t do weight-lifting. It’s not as hard as running, and therefore I wouldn’t be as tough of an athlete.’ But I thank the Lord God Almighty for my brother who has told me over and over that it’s better to be strong than starving. To have someone, so close to me, remind me of the beauty of strength (not looking ‘ripped) but being functionally strong and able to enjoy every day activities, has been one of the most healing things in the world for me.
Running has taken on a new joy, because i don’t ‘have to do it’, but I do it when it sounds good and fun.
Weight lifting is fun, but I don’t spend hours doing it. I often don’t even spend 50 minutes doing it.
Walking is fun, because I love just being active. I don’t have to be burning ‘X’ amount of calories.
I’m learning to ENJOY being healthy again, in body, mind and spirit. I’m still fighting some of the thoughts and doubts about my body and food, but each day the battle gets easier.
Finally, I’m learning that exercise is NOT about exercising in order to enjoy food.
I can enjoy:
on the days I don’t exercise.
It’s about giving God the glory with the rest, the food, the happy exercise, and I’m still learning, and I’m thankful to say that by God’s grace I’m freer than I have been in a long time.
MAY THIS ENCOURAGE YOUR HEART TODAY! May it remind you that your happy spot doesn’t have to be someone else’s. God made you unique, different, and we can glorify Him with so many different forms of activity.