catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 2, Num 13 :: 2003.06.20 — 2003.07.03


Making time

I've been blessed with good genes. Effective metabolism and muscularity run in the family, so I don't need to exercise much to maintain my weight. I get regular comments about how small I am and how much weight I'm capable of lifting. Why is it then that I feel so unhealthy?

For the past several years, regular exercise for me has mostly consisted of walking up and down the necessary steps to get to my apartment. Now, however, I'm living in a ranch house with one measly step and no more excuses. I live in a beautiful hilly area, but I don't regularly bike or hike. I live on a lake, but I don't regularly swim or row.

I could blame it on my dislike of exercising for the sake of exercise or I could blame it on the somewhat anti-sports culture of the "artsy" crowds I hung out with in high school and college. But there are physical activities I really do enjoy, the aforementioned biking, hiking, swimming and boating, as well as playing Frisbee, soccer, softball, volleyball, floor hockey.

I understand all of the benefits of and reasons for exercise, enjoying nature, including the created nature of my own body; having more energy; honoring the gift of a body by taking good care of it; honoring my future by improving my present health. But I fundamentally lack discipline and that continues to be a huge struggle for me. Why is it that I can find time to do my hair in the morning, but I can't find the time for exercise or regular devotions?

I would argue that regular physical exercise parallels—maybe even in some waysis—a spiritual discipline, one that I unfortunately have not acquired yet, along with the discipline of daily devotions/spiritual exercise. One obstacle for me is not being part of a close local community that collaboratively values these exercises enough to do them.

We met a couple this past weekend that could reasonably be described as "health nuts." He used to weigh 270 pounds until his wife convinced him to go vegetarian and start exercising. She works at the local fitness center and ran a marathon on Sunday. It was hard to tell how old they were because any signs of age were contradicted by physical energy and muscle tone. It was easy to tell, however, that they had developed a culture of physical health in their home—a small community where daily exercise is essential and junk food is disdained.

As often as Rob and I say that we should exercise, neither of us takes the initiative to do it. And just as we don't have that support system between ourselves, we don't have it with anyone else either. The other night at our small group meeting, it was revealed that only a handful of us actually make time daily for active reflection on the Word and even fewer of us make time for physical exercise.

But this lack of connectivity with others outside of myself is not wholly to blame. There is also a lack of connectivity within myself—a disparity between mind and body, soul and schedule. While I don't think any of us can fully avoid this disparity as fallen creatures, we cannot be resigned to it. I must see it as part of my journey to learn how to set aside time for that which I know I should be doing. I know that it is God's will that I be a steward of my time and my body and I want that stewardliness to be more than just a whim. I desire to be more whole, more consistent.

And I suppose that desire is a starting point, but where do I, a creature too well practiced in ignoring the still small voice, go next?

Discussion topic: Obstacles to health

How have you struggled with either of these disciplines, either exercise or devotions? What has been helpful for you or others in overcoming obstacles to physical and spiritual health?

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