My husband and I have finally got into the habit of exercising together regularly. We are about to embark on a hard-core workout for the summer (P90X). So, I felt it was necessary to dust off this guilt-inducing blog and do something productive with it.
If you enjoy the article, I hope you will go to this other blog, morphingmyself.blogspot.com and follow me as I fight to become mentally and physically tuned up (which, I believe, will be quite a spiritual tune up, as well). Maybe along the way you will be motivated to tune up an area of your life that you have been avoiding!
They say that it takes 40 days of a repeated activity to create a new habit. I am not sure who “they” are, but I have been getting up at 6:15 for the past three years to help my son prepare for school and I have yet to make a habit from it. Let’s see, with weekends and summer vacations and holidays aside, that makes around 540 days that I have pushed that snooze button come 6:15, and when the weekend arrives, I sleep right on through my weekday waking time by a good two to three hours! I am not any closer to becoming a morning person after three years!
Seventeen years ago I had a dental hygienist friend share that if you could only brush your teeth or floss for the rest of your life, flossing would be the best choice for your teeth. Although I had rarely flossed to that point, I immediately acquired a faithful habit to floss my teeth, and have rarely missed a day since!
I wonder how “they” would explain that?!
Proverbs 19:2 tells us that “even zeal is not good without knowledge...”, which explains why one can undertake many “good” things and burn out quickly because we just don’t fully grasp the benefit. I guess I am still looking for the “good” in “good morning” at 6:15 am... and it is still alluding me!
As I approach this P90X experience that looms over my summer, I am aware of the need to arm myself with knowledge of how important this 90 day event will be in my life! You see, I believe it will be every bit as challenging for me mentally as it is going to be physically. And, frankly, I am not an endorphin junky, nor am I a Type A “git-er-done” personality. I am inherently lazy, I must confess. I have always felt-- deep down in my secret, unrealistic heart-- that I am called to live a life of leisure.
Due to good genetics, that I can take no credit for, I grew up eating whatever I wanted (which did not include much of anything healthy...corn was about my only “vegetable”) and was able to remain stick thin. The need to gain weight was my excuse to over indulge in junk food galore. I mean over-the-top galore! Tanning in summer with a canister of Pringles and a large carton of Whoppers was a day well spent in my mind!
Oh, I definitely developed some habits the first 20 years of my life. Mostly the habit of only doing what comes easy and with very little effort. I had a lot of natural ability that kept me from needing to work hard for things I wanted. My desires revolved around satiating my desires, and it was a catch 22 of self indulgence that I still struggle with today.
Marriage and homeschooling four children tend to beat the laziness out of a person but that ugly skeleton in my closet still likes to come tumbling out pretty regularly. And, although I haven’t wanted to gain weight the past, oh, 15 years, I still only carried around an extra ten pounds or so, which is easy enough to hide when you are 5’ 8”. But that 10 pounds has slowly crept up the last few years and the blubber in the middle has become increasingly hard to suck in. It has also been increasingly hard to take any of that blubber off, the older I get!
Life being what it is, I am busy all of the time, tired most of the time and have justified my lack of working out quite believably. This past year I’ve noticed a marked change in my mental self; I have gone from at least sincerely wanting to change my slothful ways to reluctantly wanting to change and on to (almost) giving up because it is just so hard to change! Hard to find the time, hard to find the “want to”. Ultimately, having the “want to” will cause me to find the time, I am having to admit, and that desire is waning with each passing year.
There’s a little, feeble voice of reason deep down that whispers a harsh reality: “If you don’t do it now, you never will. You are teetering on a precipice of will: what you choose now is going to define you for the rest of your life.” I can feel a sort of “biological clock” ticking...urging me to do this while I can, or I will just give up and eventually find that I am trapped in my weakness and even calloused to the Spirit’s conviction in this area of my life.
Interestingly, Proverbs 19:15 states, “laziness induces deep sleep,” and I can tell you that rings awfully true when I get into a pattern of extreme self-indulgence. When I readily justify going back to bed in the mornings and taking naps during the day, the more I want to go back to bed in the morning and take a nap during the day. Vicious cycle.
The next line of Proverbs 19:15 proclaims that “a lazy person will go hungry.” How true that was for the time period in which it was written! Growing and harvesting crops and making every meal from scratch is hard work! If only the lazy people of Bible times had the pre-packaged junk food of our age, they wouldn’t have had to experience such hunger! Like most of us Americans, we can continue our SAD diet, fending off hunger, and remain inactive... and then get on about half-dozen prescription meds when we reach middle age. Ah! The wonders of Western civilization!
One area that, over the years, I have gained a lot of knowledge about is healthy foods and the benefits of eating a more primitive diet. Sprouting grain, grinding flour, drinking raw milk...I have much head knowledge and quite a bit of practical experience in this realm. The zeal to eat better and the knowledge of how to do that have made the mental procrastination even harder because I really do know better...and yet I continue to make really bad choices. Bad choices are just soooo much easier to make than good ones, aren’t they? Or is it just me?
Especially when you can hide those choices behind being tall and fairly thin. Which has morphed into hiding behind being tall and wearing clothes that fit in a certain way to hide the fact that I am not so thin anymore. Which is trying to morph into giving in and buying the next size up in clothes...
Enough is enough. The only thing stopping me, is me. My weak flesh and my years of coasting along must come to an end or there will be no end in sight to my self-loathing. That may sound very unbiblical but I don’t know what else to call it when you continually ignore the urging of the Lord in an area...God invented guilt to drive us to Him and his forgiveness and his wisdom...when we push that aside the conviction decays into condemnation as we continue to serve ourself. Walking around under a cloud of guilt is unhealthy and will allow all sorts of problems, physically and emotionally, to set in. God does not intend for us to live that way yet it is often our default setting, sort of a self-sabotaging mode.
So I am trying to get prayed up and psyched up for this “boot camp” workout. I cannot fool myself with any sort of illusions of ease and natural desire. This is going to be hard! But--hard is ok! Hard is good! Hard is what I need...EASE is my enemy! This must be my battle cry this summer!
I need this transformation Lord, just as much in my mental state as in my physical body! Let this journey be one of discovering new strength in You and a time of building character within myself that will overflow to other areas of my life. Help me to keep my eyes on You, to offer my pain of body and mind to You as a living sacrifice each day. It is nothing compared to the sacrifice of your Son, but it is the cross I am to take up at this time in my life. With You, I know that all things are possible. I am so weak but I know, Lord, that You are my strength. Thank you!