Exercise. What does that word elicit for you? To me, believe it or not, it inspires me.
While many overweight people dream of fitting into a certain size, or making heads turn, my biggest dream is running. I long for, and even yearn for the ability to run as fast as I can. I dream of training and physically disciplining my body. I dream of one day being an Iron Man! I want to be a triathlete, running, biking and swimming!! I dream of this. I don’t know what it is inside of me. Tenacity, drive, or the Holy Spirit, but when I think of exercise I dream of running. Is that weird? Yeah, a little. But, I mean it.
There are verses in scripture that align the Christian walk with athleticism. Such as…
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” – Hebrews 12:1
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
This comparison is something that most athletes really understand. Having never actually been an athlete, I don’t know what it is inside of me that is so drawn to these verses. But I understand this so well! I believe there is an athlete deep inside of me. The only way I can possibly connect it is that all my life I’ve been in training. Spiritual training, that is. To this day, the struggle has been between me and self-control.
This training has equipped me for, Lord willing, one day defeating that sin within me. And also for enduring, in spite of set back or pain!
Today, I am in pain!!! I am sore all over my body. My abs especially feel like they’re angry with me for what I put them through. Yesterday I rode the exercise bike for a while. I haven’t done this in a LONG time. I love being on the bike and riding as fast as I can. It’s a comical sight, because my massive stomach hangs all over the place as I ride. So to others who watch, it may look weird. But, from my own perspective, looking down on my body, it cracks me up to see my tummy flaps flapping away as I peddle. As I look down I can see the small changes in my body. Little by little my stomach is getting smaller. Watching this happen, makes me laugh, but it also keeps me going. The stomach flapping is what made my abs so sore. I never thought I’d get an ab workout on the bike. But I did! It’s encouraging!
One day, one moment, one pound, one ounce at a time, I must endure. I must run the race in the midst of pain. Today my body is sore. Tomorrow, Lord willing, the same things will no longer make me sore. And one day, this whole fat girl sensitive exercise routine of mine will be but a warm up. I’ll think of these days when I’m running, biking, and swimming my way to being a better version of myself. I hear you Lord. Endure. Even when I’m flailing, failing, or wailing, endure. And one day, Lord willing, many years from now I too will get to say to my spiritual children, just like Paul did in 2 Timothy… “I have fought the good fight. I have FINISHED the race. I have kept the faith!!!!”