My days don't feel complete if I don't exercise.
We are probably all aware of some of the benefits of exercise, like weight control, mood enhancer, and energy booster (visit the Mayo Clinic website for more benefits of exercise). I honestly feel better after I exercise. But, sometimes I think I take it too far. Most days, I quickly pray and get my quiet time out of the way so I can exercise, because my whole day revolves around my exercise schedule. Exercise should be a priority, only because we know that it's a good thing to take care of our bodies. But for it to be my No. 1 Priority? Above all else, including my time with God?
I think the problem is that I exercise to stay thin, and I equate being thin with being beautiful.
My heart desperately seeks this elusive, intangible thing called beauty, and most of the time I have many questions (see Tuesday's post), but I rarely feel like I have any answers. And all those open questions in a person's soul can cause one to go to dangerous places to get them answered. One of my dangerous places is overexercise and incessantly tabulating my calorie intake in my head. Another is seeking affirmation from other people. Much of life seems to exist on this fine, narrow path, which I can't seem to stay steady on. It seems that if you swerve too far to the right or to the left, you end up in a ditch. I don't want to end up there, but I also don't feel like I can consistently stay on the straight and narrow. That leaves me with the feeling of being very...stuck. And afraid. And very anxious.
I end up wobbling and unsteady on this narrow path because I don't know what else to do.
I was reading a passage of Scripture (2 Chronicles 20, suggested in the bible study I'm currently in) this morning about King Jehoshaphat, who is going to be attacked by some other armies. It turns out that kings sometimes are afraid, too, because the Bible says that Jehoshaphat was afraid so he turned his face to seek the Lord (vs. 3). Then, he says these words that caught my attention: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (vs. 12).
When I am feeling unsure, wobbling to and fro, I very rarely lift my eyes and look to Him. When I don't know what to do, I tend to look to those dangerous places. I say to myself "I don't know what to do to feel pretty, so I'll exercise as much as I can", or "I don't know what to do to feel beautiful, so I'll depend on other people to make me feel pretty", or "I don't know what to do to feel pretty, so I will let the number on the scale determine my worth." All of those places are dangerous places to be. I will surely end up in the ditch of anxiety and fear if those things are the things that I am depending on to build me up.
Jehoshaphat's words are simple, yet powerful: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You."