For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14
Another reason that people often say that they are not worried about having a “hot body” (see last weeks post), they just want to “feel better about themselves.” After all, if you google “benefits of exercise”, you will find articles claiming that exercise can make you happier, smarter (yep!), and better than you are now. Although I do not think it is problematic for us to use physical exercise to help us reduce a little stress (I know for me my morning routine gives me a little time to think about and plan for my day, gives me a little clarity and energy), we must be careful not to base our mood on whether or not we get to exercise. Another thing that can happen is that we tend to let our mood or opinion about ourselves be determined by what others around us are doing at the gym, (or what they look like compared to us.)
One time my husband and I trained to climb a mountain in Colorado. We prepped ourselves here in Florida for months and even did several practice hikes before we attempted our ascent of Mt. Bierstadt, a 14,000 ft mountain. I can tell you that we were both feeling like we were accomplishing something great–physically, mentally, and spiritually. That is until we were passed by SEVERAL groups of people including one man who was running with his dog (he actually passed us twice, once on the way up and then again as he made his running descent with his energetic doggie still keeping the pace.) Maybe you haven’t experienced that, but have you ever joined a gym to try to improve your health? You sign up for classes, make a plan that seems challenging yet possible for you, only to be discouraged when you can’t understand the directions in yoga or you feel like your heart rate is at is “max” only to have the lady next to you ask if you are almost finished with your warmup!!!
What is good for you does not have anything to do with others. Your fitness goals do not have to “measure up” to anyone else’s. At the end of that June day in Colorado….the man who ran up the mountain covered the same ground as Mark and I…and we got to enjoy more of the scenery!! (That doesn’t make his goal less valid than ours, but, in the end, we both accomplished what we set out to do, the way that was best for us!)
Sometimes we think we need to exercise in order to feel better about ourselves, to be “better”. Yes, there are benefits to exercise and we need to learn how to incorporate exercise into our routine in order to maintain good health. However, nothing we do–the amount of exercise, the foods we eat, how much time we spend volunteering, cleaning house, or (this one’s for me) writing blogs:)…none of these things should be where we place our mood or our value of ourselves. Our true worth only comes from God, through His Son, Jesus.
In today’s verse, we see that we are cherished creations of God. He thought, planned, and designed us–not just our outsides, but into our innermost parts. How might thinking about yourself (body and soul) as ALREADY wonderfully made change the way you exercise and take care of your body?