A few years ago, after sharing my heart with a counselor-type friend, she turned to me, looked intently into my eyeballs and said in an authoritative therapist voice,
“What does Julie need?”
I think the answer she was looking for was perhaps along the lines of, “Freedom from this particular sin struggle…” or “To have a more intimate relationship with my husband…” or “To grow in wisdom.”
But instead I responded with, “30 minutes on the treadmill, 3 times a week.”
I’m a little embarrassed to admit the shallowness of my response, but I guess you could say that this small pocket of exercise had become something really important to me and my emotional/physical well-being.
Then about 8 weeks ago I hurt my knees pushing it too hard on said beloved treadmill and in order to preserve my ability to walk, I declared a fast from exercise so that they could heal.
And, ironically, at about the same time my knees were injured, life just seemed to get 5 steps crazier and I do not even understand how I fit 30 minutes of treadmill time, 3 times a week, into my schedule before.
This has been quite difficult for me as the healing process has been slow and unfortunately, without some exercise, my body has changed a bit over the last 2 months. The things that were semi-flabby are now very flabby and my pants are snug and I am running out of ‘flowy’ shirt options, if you know what I mean.
It has been REALLY tempting in this state, for me to get discouraged. To let the fact that I am uncomfortable until I can get home and put on stretchy yoga pants make me grouchy. The voice of condemnation says I’m not working hard enough, it’s all my fault somehow, I’m ugly and not good enough and should just accept it and buy new pants.
And then that little annoying voice also reminds me about it being swimsuit season – UGH.
But here is the good news that I have felt the Lord whisper in my ear the past couple of days –
There is grace for this.
I am in a season. I’m not giving up on making healthy choices. I try my best to eat good food and not have too many accidents with that Costco-sized bag of chocolate chips in the pantry. I know that summer is coming and maybe my knees will finally be ready to gradually get back into some kind of workout plan.
Somewhere along the way, though, that exercise time had become a little too important to me as I discovered how my identity – my beauty and worth was all wrapped up in the thing I thought I ‘needed’ so much.
I think the Lord gently uses situations like mine to remove the idols of my heart so that I can remain steadfast even if my knees are not treadmill ready ever.
Because perfect bodies don’t exist.
I’m holding my body and my schedule out before the Lord as it encourages me to do in Romans 12:1 and I am trusting that He is pleased with me and the ways I am choosing to spend my time in this season.
I need to teach, I need to serve my kids and hubby, and sometimes life just has a mind of its own.
Like the day I wrote this post. I had planned to come home from work that day, change clothes, and hit the treadmill for the first time in 2 months. But on the way home I got rear-ended at a red light, spent an hour talking with the police, came home, made a few insurance-related calls, cooked dinner, bathed the boys, rocked Happy Baby to sleep because he was in the car with me and needed some extra love and comfort, read to Happy Buddy, drove to Walgreens to pick up some antibiotics for Happy Buddy who has a double ear infection, washed the lunchpails for tomorrow, went outside to admire the hubs’ hard work of installing gutters around the outside of the house, and then made him dinner.
Then at 10 pm I sat down with the hubs to watch Gilmore Girls and blog instead of exercise because I felt that one of you needed this message.
Perhaps one of you had a baby recently and are overwhelmed with the responsibilities and you’re frustrated with the extra baby weight but you think that even if someone put a treadmill in front of you, you would fall asleep on it. Or maybe you’re in a super busy season like me and waking up at 4 am to go for a jog is just not practical (nor is it good for your sanity). Or maybe you have an injury too. Or maybe your metabolism just isn’t what it once was.
Whatever the reason, dear sisters, take heart.
We do not give up on striving to maintain healthy and strong bodies, but ultimately, we don’t let guilt keep us from remembering what is most important.
You are beautiful because of Jesus.
You are beautiful because you choose to exude HIS joy no matter how you feel.
That confident smile of yours is what people will remember – not that little bulge at the pants button.
And heaven… Heaven doesn’t have metabolism issues or bummed out knees or treadmills.
That is what
Julie needs we all need. <3
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits for this life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
(Hey there, sweet friends! I would love it if you would stop by Happy Home Fairy again tomorrow for a GIANT Summer Giveaway that I am unbelievably excited about. See you then!)