Something that has so bothered me lately is how I used to feel I could glorify and worship God through working out. I loved running, I loved movement, I loved dance– until its only purpose became “how many calories am I burning?” I refuse now to work out when I know I am being tempted by the enemy, and have been able thus to do some workouts lately that I don’t know the calorie burn of and really just enjoy because they make me feel stronger.
Here are my top ten reasons to exercise– but nothing beyond short, light workouts for those in recovery– that don’t involve/have influence from the enemy.
Strength. Our bodies were built to move and do incredible things for the Lord’s purposes. To travel great distances, to stretch, to endure– it’s quite amazing what they’re capable of!
Betterment. Any type of genuine growth of the muscles is a good thing. Eating disorders often convince that muscle growth is not a good thing, but it certainly is a good thing because of course strength is a good thing! Any sort of betterment is for health and strength more fit for Christ’s purposes in us; and if working out causes one to be weaker , it is enemy-led.
Natural. I think that most exercise should be a natural movement rather than a planned workout sequence, which for many people can be destructive and meticulous. God didn’t intend for people to spend tons of time in the gym on set out routines. Playing sports or dancing; running or walking; lifting heavy things and working hard; for most people, this is just natural. But because we’ve become a people more acquired to spending hours on end just sitting, workouts for those who do not have that destructive/disordered past can certainly make sense.
Circuits. Right now, just when I feel like it, I like doing ab circuits. They give me more stamina and just make me feel genuinely good, not in a disorder-pleasing way but in a truly healthy way.
Dance. I love teaching dance and taking dance classes, both of which I’ve found I’m truly working for the Lord in praise and thanks for movement and my body.
Slow Runs. I have often been able to go for runs without checking my calorie burn, just listening to worship music or sermons and taking in the Creation and marvelling at my breath and His sighs.
Stamina. Being able to stay strong, endure obstacles, and push through physically– this is important. And has nothing to do with the aesthetics an eating disorder often likes to zone in on.
Untouchable. Exercise is something the enemy has no owner over in my life. I should this be able to exercise and rebuke any of his attempts to control it. I should also be able to not exercise and praise the Lord just as much.
Victory. The victory in beating personal records in exercise is one we can praise the Lord in– but when the enemy says, Your victory is in the calorie burn/whatever it may be, that is where we must lean on the Lord and know when to step back from working out.