As a youth my mother and father very rarely took us out to eat. Not only did we rarely eat out but also we did not have have much chocolate or candy around the house. This, most likely, was one of several reasons why my parents saved a lot of money. Things were very tight and having a family the size of ours it would not be prudent to eat out often.
One specific memory I have after moving out had to do with FREEDOM! This is NOT the freedom to stay out all night or go wherever I wanted to go but rather this freedom had to do with the fact that for once I would eat exactly what I wanted to eat and when I wanted to eat it.
Taco Bell – YES PLEASE! McDonald’s – ABSOLUTELY. Coke? I don’t mind if I do. How about Burger King? Oh momma, yes, yes, yes!
This was freedom. Twelve Packs of Mountain Dew or Coke in the fridge along side Hershey’s and Zero candy bars.
Over the years I have learned the importance of eating healthy and for the most part I do a good job. However, the freedom to eat whatever, whenever has not really completely departed my desires. If my wife wakes up at 1 A.M. desperately needing a White Castle I am quick to volunteer to get it (them).
Becoming fat and out of shape were the results of these late night burger runs and days of several Cokes and eating donuts, fries, cakes and sweets. At one time many may have looked at me and think I am not that bad. Some may be tempted to say I am too hard on myself. Be assured, I hide it well and no I am not too hard on myself. A good 30 to 40 pounds need to hit the road.
Seven weeks ago I began working out again. Don’t be misled, I do very much enjoy working out but the hard part is transitioning to follow a diet plan. Restrictions are necessary so there is not any excess food intake and thus sabotage any benefit from the work outs.
I was thinking about all the junk I put into my body. Sometimes it was in moderation but there were plenty of times moderation was not even in my vocabulary. The result is unhealthy high cholesterol, weight gain and it could lead to heart disorders, problems sleeping and overall it is not good nutrition for my brain.
So here I am finishing week 7 of early morning runs, late afternoon weight lifting and replacing cokes and cakes with gallons of water, green tea, lean meats and proteins. Through this process 3.5 inches has disappeared from my body. A lot of work remains but that is okay, this is a lifestyle I wish to keep as long as this body of mine is physically capable.
This is written in humility. By no means is there ANY desire to brag. However, there are TWO points:
1) Lack of challenge and discipline makes one weak. The Bible reminds us that exercise does do the body SOME good. The important thing to remember is there will be a day where this body of mine will not be able to run another step or push another bench press. This body will fade away. That which is spiritual will live on.
So, how are those spiritual challenges and disciplines coming? How much investment is being made into spiritual things which include: prayer, fasting, memorization, reading, sharing, serving, learning, meditating and praising. When was the last time a real spiritual challenge was a strong pursuit? Is my relationship with God something that consumes me and is the highest joy?
2) The Holy Spirit can work through our simple day to day activities to produce His fruit in our life. When I work out I sleep better and I eat better. When I eat better and sleep better I act better and make better decisions. When I am healthy because of proper nutrition, exercise and sleep I am more patient with my wife and those close to me. Even my actions display less aggression. (My wife says it is because I am taking out my frustrations on the heavy bag)
One maybe tempted to think that the fruits of the Spirit come through exercise. This is NOT what I am advocating. Posted below is a video of a dialogue between one of my favorite pastor’s John Piper and R.W. Glenn where they discuss this very topic.
Let us be healthy, physically and spiritually. Let us make every effort we can to do the best that we can to take care of the blessing God has given us. Let us make every effort we can to make pursuing God our highest joy and priority.
i believe that Jesus is God’s son