Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Staying Fit

Being back in the United States has not been so good for my physical health. To put it bluntly, I've packed on the weight. I'm not obese, at least not yet, but I'm certainly carrying more than I did a year ago and more than I would like to. I won't blame it on Coca-cola or McDonalds. Yes, those temptations do exist and indulging in them (with moderation, I believe) has helped to add the pounds. But ultimately they cannot be blamed for the choices I make about my lifestyle. The simple fact is that the American way of life is not conducive to staying in shape. Whereas I used to walk a lot and ride public transport to get around, now I almost always end up driving the car. (I have walked or biked to our local grocery store at times, but when it's 108 outside, that's not a very pleasant undertaking.) I eat more than I need to because it's there and it tastes good. So I haven't achieved a healthy, balanced lifestyle as I had wanted. It's not the government or society's job to fix this inbalance. I need to be responsible for myself.

I think that much of this will naturally correct itself after we return to our work overseas. I'll be back into walking again and the availability of calorie-laden foods will diminish. But this year has made me aware that I'm not getting any younger and I need to be disciplined in maintaining this body, just as I need to be disciplined in maintaining my spiritual health. I think that this can be taken to an extreme, where the body becomes an object of worship and longevity becomes the goal of life, forgetting that no matter what we do these bodies of ours are temporary and our eternal home is not in this life. I have not been guilty of this. I'm much more guilty of neglecting the body, which Scripture refers to as God's temple. I've treated it carelessly and I am now understanding that by doing so I have dishonored God.

I want to honor God with my whole life, including the body he's given me. I cannot set the number of my days--that's in his hands. But I can determine to maintain my health so that I can live those days to the fullest for his glory. With this in mind I have begun an exercise regime. It sounds quite impressive when you say it that way: "exercise regime." In fact my plan is quite simple. I want to start the day with 30-40 minutes of exercise, utilizing the Wii Fit that we recently acquired. This program provides a helpful framework to keep me accountable as well as providing activities that I can do right in my own home. Once we relocate I want to augment that with time cycling, hiking or other activities. I started my morning workout a couple weeks ago and I already feel better physically, even though it has not yet made a significant dent in my waistline. (Why is weight so much harder to remove than it is to add?) I've got a long way to go, but it feels good to have started on the journey.

A admire a friend of mine, who although in his 70's remains very active around his home, building and creating things. In addition, his health has enabled him to travel overseas regularly, where God is using him to do some great things. I hope that when I reach that age, should God grant me that, to be as active as he is. But it won't happen if I don't maintain my health along the way.

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