By Kimberley Payne
I know that God created me as a whole person and so I need to take care of my whole self. I’ve learned that there is a direct relationship between my physical, emotional and spiritual health. To become more physically healthy I can exercise, eat nutritionally and stretch my body. I know that practicing healthy living is a way to glorify God. So why don’t I do it?
It was only some short months ago that I looked out my living room window to see a gorgeous day outside. Fresh snow covered the landscape and trees were heavy with a blanket of white. The sun reflected off the field in a splash of sparkles – it appeared to be another beautiful winter day. But it was frigid. The thermometer stood at minus twenty Celsius in the sunshine. I canceled my walk (yet again) because of the cold.
For months, my routine was to get my children ready in the morning, walk them to the bus stop and then walk around the neighbourhood by myself. It was a good time to get my body moving, my blood flowing and my mind thinking. On this walk, I practiced my “walking meditation”. It was a time when I connected with God and talked to Him through my thoughts and prayers. It was a special time between us that I had come to cherish. On my walks, I explored my life and gave praise and thanksgiving for what He had given me. I opened my heart and poured out my troubles. I gave thought to others and prayed for the needs of my family, friends and community. After my morning walk, I returned home to hot coffee and my pen and paper. I recorded any enlightenment God had shown me, and I reflected on my prayers. It was a time for me to not only talk with God, but to listen for a response.
However, my routine was interrupted when I started a new work schedule and instead of walking to the bus stop I drove the children. Then other days in the week seemed to become busier and I found myself itching to get to my office to clear away the things of yesterday. Instead of starting my day with a walk around the block, I started to weigh it up against other conflicting priorities. The act of walking had to convince me that it was worth it. Each day it was a battle – walk or not walk? Without this walk, I didn’t get my usual energy surge needed for the day. Without this morning boost, I felt like I was dragging myself, and so I also did not have the enthusiasm or desire to do my other exercise – strength training. I was on a downward spiral. Without my morning walk, I not only missed out on the healthy physical benefits, but more importantly I denied the spiritual healing it had provided.
I’ve learned that prayer, Bible study and journal writing are to my spirit what exercise, healthy eating and stretching are to my body. All require discipline and I need to practice them daily. I know that they are significant in improving balance in my life, improving my quality of life and boosting my mood. They help build healthy relationships; with myself, others and especially God. They can melt tension, reduce stress and provide peace. And with a pure motive, they delight God.
My lesson? Just do it! What I learned is that when I didn’t give myself the choice, I went for a walk regardless of temperature or mood. However, when I made walking an option, I had to think each day, Am I up to it? Do I have time for it? Is it warm enough or cool enough or dry enough? Each day I put myself through a dance of questions, instead of just doing it. “Just do it” (the saying made famous by Nike) has tremendous impact. If I would just walk in the morning, instead of giving myself the option, I would not have to worry about what is more important on my list of things to do. I would return from my walk refreshed and ready to face the day. A healthy body would give me the energy and enthusiasm to carry out the purposes that God has for my life. I need to be faithful about doing something each day in order to realize the full potential of God’s plan for me.
It is no longer snowy and cold outside and I can enjoy outdoor fitness once again. It’s open to nature hikes and family bike rides; spur-of-the-moment volleyball games on the back lawn, and lots of swimming; gardening and bug catching with the kids. There are no rules. There is no clock.
I am invited to take a fresh physical and spiritual attitude on a daily basis. God created my body to be built for action. Therefore, activity is needed to keep me fit. His law in nature is to exercise, eat right, and serve Him. I need to take care of myself and obey the law of nature. Taking care of myself physically is one way to honour God with my body.
Blessings on the road to health!
Kimberley Payne, a former Personal Trainer who lives in Ontario, combines Christian commitment with ten years experience in the health and wellness arena. Visit her Website www.kimberleypayne.com, and you can connect on Twitter @fitforfaith.