I like to exercise. I really do. I promise that regardless of my current appearance, I do appreciate a good workout. However, if you have recently seen me then you know that I really like eating too.
I don’t like all exercise. There’s no extreme sports enthusiast in my house. I’m not about to sign up for the next half-marathon or triathlon. However, I do enjoy a slow jog with my wife. Even a long walk of forty-five to sixty minutes can be quite enjoyable. On non-running days, I can enjoy using a mini-trampoline for some low impact cardio. Leisurely riding a bike is fun. Playing basketball is my first love, but nowadays I have to be in the right mood to play.
I don’t like all eating. Seriously, all foods are not my problem. I have no desire for foods from the sea. I’m all fished out. Once or twice a year, I will eat some fish from Captain D’s. My wife says that doesn’t really count as seafood. I’m not into eating greens – not collards, mustards, or turnips. Nope, I’m not a salad or slaw eater either. Keep the lettuce and cabbage for yourself. And for goodness sake, please know that adding mayonnaise to anything does not justify calling it a salad. That’s just wrong. My oldest son recently described mayonnaise as the devil’s toothpaste. It is most likely, of the devil.
I think I can sum up why I like to eat often using three words.
- Habit: Just because it’s a certain time of the day, I think I am supposed to eat a certain amount. Hasn’t society trained me to think this way? More than habit, it’s a form of peer pressure that we insist upon one another. We tell each other, “You have to eat!”
- Hallucination: Somehow, I often eat something savory and appealing or something sweet and satisfying because I first daydreamed about it. Inwardly, I possess the ability to convince myself that regardless of how much potential damage I’m causing my body, that it’s still worth the next tasty bite. The best way for me to counteract this is when I’m actively counting calories using my Lose It iPhone app.
- Hunger: What’s that? I rarely get hungry because I’m too busy eating for the first two reasons. It rarely has a reason to knock at my door. Eating early and often makes hunger an unwelcome guest.
When it comes to eating, I’m in no shape to offer advice. However, that’s never stopped me before. So take this encouragement, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
There are two main reasons why I like exercising.
- Holiness: Exercise for me falls into the realm of stewardship. It’s taking care of the body that God gave me to live in. This body is not going to live forever, but “bodily exercise profits” (1 Timothy 4:8). Said differently, exercise is good for your body. I exercise as unto the Lord because I like to be able to preach well. I want my lungs and heart to be in shape so the Holy Spirit can use my voice to preach and teach the Bible. For example’s sake, I know that appearances matter so I exercise for weight management (see 1 Corinthians 9:26-27). So it just makes good sense for a preacher to exercise regularly.
- Wholeness: Moderate exercise feels good. Physically, it feels good to have the sense of accomplishment. It’s also mentally exhilarating to complete a tough workout and experience an exercise high. Regular exercise keeps me in a better mood, helps fight discouragement, and manage stress. It’s not uncommon for me to pray, praise, or practice Scripture while exercising too, so it helps me stay in tune with God. Overall, regular exercise gives me better wholeness of life.
When it comes to exercise, this is what you should do: “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
What about you? Do you like to eat and exercise? Sufficient exercise and proper eating are two of my constant challenges. That’s my confession. What’s yours? Do you struggle with exercising enough or eating well?