Shalom in the Gym

I was a big baby. I mean literally, child birth could not have been easy on my mother. I weighed about the equivalent of a heavy bowling ball, and that would pretty much set the pattern for the rest of my life. As a child, my parents were never particularly fond of sports. That suited me fine, because even at the tender age of seven I remember shaking my head at the futility of running top speed to be the first one to throw a ball through a hole… Especially when I could sit down, open a book, and immediately be transported to an entirely new and exciting world.

I was lucky though… My parents were always very supportive and complimentary; to the point that I became a competent human being without developing the trade mark low self esteem, nerd rage, or other negatives often attributed to being a plus sized gentleman. The luck continued in that my genetic makeup allows me to carry my weight well. You skinny people may never have had to think about it, but there are different… consistencies that go along with being fat… I had the good fortune to hold a relatively solid consistency as opposed to drippy.

As I grew older, I simply learned to view my size as a non-issue. My predilection towards sedentary living encouraged me to become intelligent, skilled with computers, and a deep thinker. For these reasons, whenever the idea of living a healthier life would come up, I could easily say, “Bah! I was huge when I came out of my mom! Clearly God wants me big. Dieting would be going against his will!” Everyone would chuckle and the conversation would move on.

A few posts back I talked about Shalom, a Hebrew word that means “The way God intended it to be”. It’s a blessing in which you wish restoration into someone’s life. Since that post I’ve been doing my very best to live up to what I said and generate shalom in all aspects of my life. I realized pretty quickly that my health was one of the areas that could stand to see some restoration.

I’m not sick. I don’t have any diseases commonly associated with being obese, and honestly, my weight doesn’t evenreally bother me. But I started thinking about the fact that if everything I have was given to me by God, then I’m expected to be a steward of those things… and if that’s true, then maybe I should think about taking better care of my body? I mean… essentially it’s only a rental, right? Maybe I should take some time and paint the walls and dust off the cobwebs and rent a rug doctor before it’s time to move on.

For about a month now I’ve been watching what I eat. I’ve been going to the gym. For the first time in my entire life, I’m finding myself not even tolerating these things, but enjoying them. I’ve started thinking of going to the gym simply as taking care of what God has given me… And when I work up to a sweat, I wonder if maybe God accepts it as a form of worship. (I’ve always believed God was everywhere, but the gym? Come on!) I know that God and those close to me love me regardless of my physical size and abilities… But I’m wondering if maybe doing something healthy for myself is a way of saying “Thank you for loving me. I want to be with you for as long as I can,” to the people that I love? (It’s something to think about the next time I want to skip the gym and buy a cake instead.)

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2 responses to “Shalom in the Gym

  1. YES, it IS a way to say “I’ll stick around a while…God gave me some good folks to hang with.” And bear in mind, as we get older…CONSISTENCIES and other “non-issues” BECOME issues. Nuff said.

    Love you for taking care of you…

  2. Kudos to you for making a lifestyle change! Exercise for the sake of exercising has never enticed me. I played sports as a kid because of the social aspect, so I never had to worry too much about my weight. But I, like you, much prefer to read a book over getting sweaty. It wasn’t until college and the freshman 15 hit me out of nowhere and I realized my face was looking REALLY round in pictures that I finally started running. And while I knew I was doing something good for my body, I didn’t really enjoy it. I’m thinking of exploring other ways to exercise (I’m thinking of trying yoga) as a way of being a good steward of what God has given me… but I’d still rather write a blog post than reach my target heart rate 😉

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