I have never been one to exercise, just thinking about exercising made me want to take a nap. I had always got my exercise from the activities I did at my job and walking back and forth across the large campus I attended. So in the past year since I have been unemployed I have gained some weight, actually a lot. I was taken by surprise back in December when the nurse at the clinic told me how much I actually weighed. Heart disease runs in my family, on my father's side, so this was a wake up call for me . I also believe that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit resides so we are required to take care of our bodies as best as we can. So I had to make changes in my life. I consulted a dietitian to change my diet and promised myself I would exercise more. Just as when my life changed when I welcomed the Lord into my life, my life was changing with new eating habits and a membership to the YMCA.
But as easy as it is to neglect our relationship with our Lord we can neglect our healthy diet and exercise routine. You know how there are those mornings you just do not have the time to spend a few minutes in prayer or daily devotions because you woke up late, the dog needs to go out more than once, or if you have kids they just don't seem to be cooperating with the schedule so you shrug off Jesus thinking you will have time for him later. But then later comes and he standing over you as you are putting the chicken in the oven and you tell him not right now, you are busy. Then you you find yourself too tired to say your night prayers and the rosary. You tell yourself tomorrow will be different you will double up on the morning devotions to make up for today, but it doesn't work out that way and you find your relationship with Jesus has weakened and you have backslid.
It's the same way with dieting and exercising. You tell yourself having that one donut after mass will be okay and you give into the craving for that can of Coca-Cola telling yourself it won't hurt,but you can't stop at one. It steam rolls from there and you find it's very easy to go back to your old eating habits. There is also the days you are supposed to go the gym but you find yourself making excuses to play hooky.
I have a habit of doing all that. I crave that can of Coca-Cola every day and on days like today I want to play hooky from the gym. It's been raining all day and I really dislike going out in the elements. It would be so easy to do so, so easy, but not only would I be neglecting my promise to make my temple a healthier place for the Holy Spirit I would also be neglecting time with Jesus. You see when I made the decision to live a healthier life style I knew it would be hard but believed I could do it with the Lord's help. Every time I feel like giving up I think of the bible verse, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13 (NRSV)
There is also the fact if I had played hooky from the gym I would be neglecting my time with the Lord as well as neglecting my exercising room. You see Jesus is my workout partner. People may think I am jamming to some new popular music, but I don't care for the stuff people are listening to these days. I prefer country and that goes along with Christian music. I love my Country Gospel so I may be jamming along to I'll Fly Away by Alan Jackson, Raise Him Up by Randy Travis, I Wouldn't Take Nothing by Ricky Van Shelton, and many others.
I will feel the Holy Spirit moving as I am on the treadmill and fight the urge to take both hands of the handles and wave them in the air, praising Jesus. It's not safe to take both hands off the bars or even one for a long length of time so I would take only one hand hand, raise it in the air and then slam it back down on the bar. The other people in the gym probably think I am having some kind of fit, that is if they are paying attention.
Jesus is right there working out with me, encouraging me to keep going. I can just see him on the treadmill next to me, keeping pace with me, with his beard and his basketball shorts and a Got Jesus t-shirt. So if I skip going to the gym I am standing Jesus up and he loves it when I am with him, just as he loves it when you spend time with him. Next time you go to the gym ask Jesus to join you. He makes the workout more fun.
So if you are ever driving by the YMCA and you look up at the huge glass window on the second floor and see a woman on the treadmill waving her arms in the air like she don't care, it's probably me filled with the Holy Spirit and praising the Lord.