“Exercise is a CELEBRATION of what your body can do, not a PUNISHMENT for what you ate.”
It has been a life-long journey for me to arrive at this life-saving epiphany. And yes, I do mean life-saving. You CAN exercise yourself to death – I am living proof of that – by a sheer miracle and the grace of a God whose purpose for me had yet to be realized.
But even nearly dying couldn’t shake this mindset from me. It is a hard habit to break. It took 25 years after “death” came knocking the first time for me to truly embrace this concept.
As someone whose sense of self was, for the longest time, based on the approval of others, I never felt worthy enough or deserving enough – even at one point – for food. Proving myself through exercise – the one thing I knew I excelled at – became my measure. Miles ran, calories burned, sit-ups slammed, squats burned out – I counted everything – because in my eyes – I didn’t count.
Living like this is not living. Living like this is akin to dying to life – every single day. It left me with a broken body and an empty core.
I continue to see my hip replacement much like Jacob’s wrestling with God during his longest night. Jacob’s life was one of never-ending struggles, fears and anxiety that led him away from God. When he came to a point where he could struggle no-longer he met his greatest challenge yet – God’s blessing.
In all my “faithfulness” – I have struggled – endlessly – to be who God wants me to be – to earn the ultimate approval. But here’s the thing – we can never earn God’s approval – we can only accept it as a true gift.
And it is a true gift – what my body can do today – and who I am as a child of God. How much fuller life is when I celebrate who I am and what I have accomplished with Him than when I wrestle over who I am not and what I have failed to do without Him – always looking for approval from a world that most likely sees me very differently than I see myself.
Accepting God’s blessing is the hardest most freeing thing I have done. It has changed my life, how I live it, and how I share life with others.
Let your light so shine!