Thursday, September 20, 2012

What working out has to do with being holy

When I started BeEmbraced, I knew I wanted to write about things that were important to me but also related to the "be embraced by the journey" theme. It's easy to see how exploring my faith, writing about my marriage, and calling others to community correspond. And even my adventures in the kitchen can be considered a journey.

But what about my recent Fitness Friday posts, love of exercising, and goal setting for 10K's... what does working out have to do with being embraced by a journey?

Exercising with friends is the best!
Here, Alex (a best friend of mine) and I are about to go biking by the beach.

This interesting and engaging video from John Piper addresses how physical exercise relates to sanctification. (Click here to watch it, which I highly encourage!)

The premise is that without taking care of our bodies - through sleep, healthy eating, and exercise - we are more tempted to fall into bad patterns (i.e. sin) like impatience, irrational anger, slothfulness, etc...

The reason that our shortcomings are often exaggerated when we don't get enough sleep, or eat junk food, or watch hours of TV instead of going for a walk is because we are physical and spiritual beings. The two are connected.

Michael Hyatt, in his popular post "Slay Your Dragons Before Breakfast," discusses why he considers slaying the dragon of physical lethargy sometimes even more important than slaying spiritual lethargy.
"I use this weapon [engaging in exercise] to cut off the dragon’s left head: physical lethargy. Sometimes, I think this is even more important than the middle head [spiritual lethargy]. Why? Because if I am not exercising regularly, it negatively impacts every other area of my life. It becomes more difficult to manage stress. I find that I just don’t have the energy to fight the other beasts I encounter."
Just as we are called to be good stewards of our time, talent, and treasure, we must also be good stewards of our bodies.

I find it very intriguing that Paul uses the metaphor of an athlete in training to describe spiritual endurance, reinforcing the connection between body and mind:
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." -1 Corinthians 9:24-27

We take the time to get oil changes because we know our cars run better and longer when we do. Shouldn't we also take care of our bodies by getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising in order to run the good race?


  1. I've been thinking about this recently. Thanks were jotting down your thoughts on this and linking to other discussions of the intersection of faith and fitness. I need to give this more thought, but so far, I have simply observed (as the Hyatt quote says) that exercise helps me manage stress which bring more focus to my faith.

    1. Marilyn, I definitely agree with you - exercising helps me stress less too. Plus, running helps clear my head and prioritize better! Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. I love this post! My retreat next weekend is going to have a bit of a focus on our physical beings. I'm for SURE going to check out that video!

    1. That's great- I think the video will prompt a lot of good discussions! Thanks for checking in!

  3. i love this...that you wrote a section about WHY you post so much about exercising! it's just so true and closely linked with the foods we eat. "I do not run aimlessly."

    1. Thanks so much! Health can easily be taken for granted, so why not appreciate the journey of healthy eating and exercise? :)