Do I? Or do I not? These are the Shakespearean-esque questions I ask myself around 4 p.m. on a daily basis. It’s not just a moral dilemma, or an emotional pondering, or even a battle of the will.
It’s all those, and so much more for me.
I’m asking myself whether I should tie up my laces and run.
Not run from some personal problem—I mean literally run. To pound the pavement of my suburban neighborhood, with one foot in front of the other, watching the sprinklers with the kids squealing and the teenagers sitting on their hoods playing music whiz by. Or rather, crawl past me at a snail’s pace. I’m not a very fast runner.
This is my dilemma almost every late afternoon.
While I haven’t been consistent as I had hoped this year (spring in central Oregon is cold, I tell you), I have run more in the past few months than I have in years.
And there’s just one difference between all my years of feeble attempts to “get back in shape” and this year… it’s my reason for doing it.
Sure, I want to see my pre-baby body again. I’d love to reward myself with ice cream after dinner because I burned calories earlier that day. And nobly enough, yes, I want to be a role model for my kids and be a mom who cares about her fitness.
But those aren’t the reasons I’m exercising anymore. Well, okay, those are some of the reasons, but they’re more byproducts to my current single, solitary focus.
Which is this: to honor God with the body He gave me.
That’s it. And I know that’s a Sunday school answer. But it’s hit me like a ton of bricks the past few months how I write off making exercise a priority because of time, or tiredness, or even more ridiculous—it’s really not that important.
It is important that I take care of this instrument that carries my soul around on this earth, if for no other reason than to give Him glory.
I’ve been reading Gary Thomas’ new book, Every Body Matters, and it’s constantly hitting me square between the eyes. Listen to this:
“Christians who don’t take their health seriously don’t take their mission seriously. What we’re really saying is, ‘My life doesn’t really matter.’ But because of the ability of God to work powerfully in any repentant sinner’s life, every body does matter.”
My body doesn’t really belong to me anymore, so really, it’s a matter of stewardship, not personal glory. It’s about taking care of these muscles, bones, and this skin on loan to me from my Creator.
If I sound like I’ve got this down pat, think again. I daily battle my will, and many times, I cave. Just ask Kat, my accountability partner. Every Friday, I DM her on Twitter with how much I exercised that week, and there are times when it’s not pretty.
But I get up and give it another go, because I’m blessed with two legs that can run, arms that can lift, and a heart that can pound. As Thomas also says in his book, “What if exercise and discipline in eating isn’t as much about physical health as about honoring the God who made us?”
Exercising regularly isn’t a sure-fire ticket to a long, happy life, disease-free. I know that. But there’s something about moving my body and working up a sweat that increases my overall zest for life. Just as sitting on the couch is a downward spiral for me, so is working out an upward one—I think better, sleep better, love better, and work better, all throughout the day. It’s as though my body is doing what it was created to do.
Regardless what happens to me in this life, I don’t want to be guilty of sullying up my earthbound vehicle, much like a teenager who tosses fast food wrappers in the back of her dad’s borrowed car. I want to say this:
“If I’m going to hurt in this fallen world—and everyone of us will—I’d rather hurt and be sore getting in shape than hurt and be sore because my body isn’t fit.” -Gary Thomas
I’m sharing this to encourage me just as much you, because it’ll help me to reread this post on those days when I don’t feel like pounding the pavement once more. I’m very much on this journey with you.
I’ll end this post with one final thought from Thomas: “By God’s design, we are a people with souls who desperately yearn for intimacy with God—people whose souls reside in bodies that can hinder or help this pursuit. Which will it be?”
Join me, will you? Let’s exercise our bodies together, if for no other reason than to sing praise to our Maker.
By Tsh, Simple MomLeave a Comment
I read this as I sat and debated whether or not to run this morning. I struggle with motivation too, but I often remind myself what a gift our bodies are to us and how blessed I am to have a strong and healthy body to house my soul. Thanks for the reminder:)
Tsh Oxenreider says
Know what’s funny, Kimberly? I wrote this over a month ago, so I needed to read it this morning to tie on my shoes, too. It worked. 🙂
Amy Hunt says
Amen, Tsh…and Gary! God has led me through different motivations to choose a lifestyle that ultimately desires to honor Him. Regular exercise has been a time of communion with Him, I’ve seen all that I can accomplish for Him when I’m stronger and full of more energy that exercise provides, and it has been an amazing opportunity for me to see how much strength He does give me through challenges He’s prompted in me to try different physical challenges and rely on Him…versus trying to prove myself for someone else, punish myself, or be someone who I’m not ready to be. Regular exercise as worship is one of my biggest passions…though, even I need a constant reminder to shift my focus–daily.
I was Showering Early.
Thinking of How I Use to Walk more.
Before Back Surgery & a Weak Foot.
Thinking How I Just had to go Up the Street.
So. God Spoke to me Once AGain Early this Morning.
“I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.”
Johanna Hanson says
Great encouragement and motivation, Tsh. I struggle with motivation, and logistics. I often, though, use the logistic difficulties to keep me from doing what I know I should do.
Tsh Oxenreider says
Logistics are incredibly difficult for me, too. Small children, two parents working at home and juggling meetings and schedules, renovating and moving, etc…. The past month has been pretty sporadic. I’ve been grabbing a run when I can, here and there. It’s all been pretty random.
All this to say… I get that. Logistics. Hard.
This is something that I needed to be reminded of. Thanks Tsh!
This is something that I really needed to be reminded of. Thanks Tsh!
“By God’s design, we are a people with souls who desperately yearn for intimacy with God—people whose souls reside in bodies that can hinder or help this pursuit. Which will it be?”
Ouch. Thanks for the conviction. And inspiration.
Tsh Oxenreider says
I wrote it just as much—if not more—for me than anyone. So in a weird way, I agree—ouch! 😉
Elisa | blissfulE says
I thought running would be a perfect mommy exercise for me (I ran track – very slowly – in high school), but wow I find it difficult to get going. Now I’m considering a short intense workout (like this one: http://wellnessmama.com/5560/10-minute-a-day-workout-plan/) as an alternative.
Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) says
Many great thoughts in this post. I am nearly 4 months post partum and just now getting back into some type of exercise. Love your mindset of honoring God with the one vehicle He gave us. By deliberately choosing to NOT care for our bodies, we are basically telling God “Thanks for my body, but I’m choosing not to use it for your glory.” (I struggled with this during my battle with anorexia.)
I started my healthy living journey back in 2008. I was diagnosed with a disease and told that one of the meds to keep it controlled could cause lymphoma…uh…NO WAY! So I embarked on an adventure to take my health into my own hands. I studied nutrition, fitness and began working out. Today I am so excited because I do not take ANY meds, my disease is “gone” and I am down 42 pounds. I am fitter than I was in my early 20’s and I feel great. I am active, even doing those crazy Mud runs, intense bootcamps and running! My bootcamp friends are my accountability and we have formed awesome friendships. I am able to serve my family so much better because I feel better. Thanks for this post! All glory to GOD!
Way to go, Tricia! What an awesome testimony and inspiration.
Mom Off Meth says
I struggle to start a routine. I’ve started Couch to 5K at least 16 times and have only ever run 20 minutes. Your post is what I needed to hear. I’m still starting “tomorrow,” but you have inspired me to think.
Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home says
I’m sitting here at this moment when I’ll decide whether to “just do it” or not and this is just the push I needed. I’ve worked out much more in the past few months, too. I told my husband Saturday that I wasn’t sure exactly how many miles I’d run, but I could look it up. He asked, “Where?” I told him its actually in the daily devotional journal I keep and he thought that was appropriate because the workout log is another form of inspiration. 🙂
Wow, ladies. You inspire me. I’ve battled my weight my whole life and gave up a long time ago. Now I see that I am important and taking care of my body is a way to honor God in my life. You have given me a new perspective on taking care of my body and thank you.
Tsh Oxenreider says
I’m so glad, Cat. FYI, for you (or anyone else), two books that have really encouraged me lately are the one I mentioned in the post—Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas, and fellow (in) writer Lysa TerKeurst’s book Made to Crave. Maybe they’ll encourage you, too?
I have been trying to train for a half-marathon that I plan on doing mid-October, and am struggling to find the time to train properly because of excuses. I know I am completely myself and at ease when I am running, yet I find it so hard to make it a priority, which in turn leads me down an unhappy/ lazy path. Please pray that I will have the strength and ambition to make exercise a bigger priority in my life.
Beth Willliams says
Praying for strength and God’s ambition to help you succeed in your goal. May you see God in all that you do & glorify Him by runnin and finishing this half marathon.
I surprised people this year by finishing my first ever 5K run. Not bad for someone who never ran before in her life!
God Bless you!
Serendipity…I just signed up for a “walk to run” program at my local Y AND am just right now signing up the whole family to run as a team with another family for the 5K “spooky sprint” (we’re all going as the wizard of oz characters!) thanks for the nudge!
Missy June says
I do believe the motivation for exercise is the key to keeping it up. It can become an idol if we seek it for purely asthetic and self-serving purposes or it can be a form of stewardship as described. It’s long been a part of my lifestyle, and my goal is to be healthy and capable. When I fixate on my appearance or get rigid in my plans, then I notice it’s less pleasurable and sometimes I push aside another opportunity God may be providing.
This is lovely. After all, if we are called to be stewards of the earth, why are we not called to be stewards of ourselves?
Before my babies, I used to be a gym rat, right up until the week I gave birth to my first-born. 4-6 time a week. Now, with 2 under 5 and a doctorate, it feel by the wayside. It took my weight to coming within 7 pounds of my weight the day before I gave birth to that gorgeous first-born to make me realize that I could do something about it and wasn’t. I’m going to print and post this column where I can see it everyday and I aim to make what I’ve been given healthier and more energetic.
I would love to win……….my EXCESS is in the area of clutter …..
Andee Z says
I wish I loved to run. I’ve tried to love it, but I don’t. My time with God is swimming or biking, but at 42, I’m giving up the notion that “running” will be my thing.
However, I have friends that love to run and now they are running for a cause. How awesome that they can honor their bodies and glorify God in so many ways? If interested, this post will tell you more:
Tsh Oxenreider says
I don’t think it matters what physical activity we do, so long as we’re stewarding our bodies by doing what they’re made to do—move! So running, swimming, biking, dancing the tango… Whatever floats your boat is great, in my opinion. 🙂
Nice. I am with ya sister. I love Eric Liddells long ago comment and sent it to my son recently. He is a D1 runner in xcountry and track. I have watched him struggle and achieve 17 mile runs on Sunday mornings and make it to church with his team by 9am.
I told myself I could do three miles on my treadmill when the temps promised 111 outside.
I have searched for “outs’ when it comes to exercise but I know the truth.
I am more the me I am supposed to be when practicing some obedience in my life. Thank you for reminding me today and perhaps I need that book. That and some dark chocolate sound like a perfect combination.
Thanks for being His instrument this morning. I think you have encouraged many.
Tsh Oxenreider says
“I am more the me I am supposed to be when practicing some obedience in my life. ”
Love that, Dale! And yes ma’am, dark chocolate is always a good reading companion. 🙂
Leigh Ishee says
Incredible post! I am on this same journey. But this post has clarified it even more! Thank you Tsh!
I just read this back from my morning walk. I am not running, but I walked over 6 miles. I love this post and want to check out the book you mentioned. Thanks!
sheeba m says
I totally relate to this post…Before I married my hubby I was super fit and probably the best shape of my life then I had ever been having spent most of it being tubby…However I was a different person then…Now with an almost 4 year old I have tried to get back on that same bandwagon and fallen off loads of time since I would injure myself…I have been torn and broken all over…These days when I am running, I use the time to meditate on God and praise Him that I can run in joy becos He has healed me in everyway…
I do not run to promote how I look (as I used to be obsessed about that in my younger days) but now I do it becos God has given me a body and since it is temple of His Spirit within me I will do my best to honor Him with it.
And I believe I do honor Him when I run as anything is possible with HIM even for this broken body and spirit….
I saw your tweet about this post early this morning as I was trying to keep my eyelids open and tie my running shoes. Thanks for the encouragement! I enjoyed reading the whole thing after my run. 🙂
What a beautiful post! I became a runner later in life. I am continually surprised by the incredible ways that God teaches me more about who He is and who He has created me to be through the simple act of running. Thanks for sharing about your journey!
Heather Novak says
I JUST got back from the run I didn’t wanna do today. Your words are SO PAINFULLY TIMELY. I remind myself to be grateful I can run, that I have to much food to eat and now need to work of f that poundage, that I have a full life and thus need to destress from it. May I suggest http://www.jog.fm where you can buy songs based on your pace, ie if I want to improve my 12 min miles, I buy 11:30 tempos! ALso my nike+ is a big gold star for me, tracking my progress, seeing the miles add up. KEEP RUNNING, thank you for the holy confirmation today.
Tsh Oxenreider says
Nice! Thanks for the link; I was just fiddling with my running playlist this morning and feeling frustrated. Appreciate it!
Caroline Starr Rose says
I’ve been running for the last nine years, through injury, jobs, and lots of cross-country moves. In my late twenties I started to truly understand the fact we only get one body and need to make it last for as long as God gives us. Running’s monotony is soothing, familiar, challenging, an old friend. As good as it is for my body, I know it’s even better for my mental and emotional health: if I can tackle my morning run, I can face my day and whatever it will hold.
Tsh Oxenreider says
Yes! I’m finding now that I sometimes need a run just to clear my head. I start feeling pent up, frustrated, and stressed if I go too long without it. Never thought that would be the case!
So, so good. Thank you for the inspiration. “…it’s a matter of stewardship.” – that was a kick in the pants!
What an awesome message! Just what I needed to get me to the gym. 🙂
Holley Gerth says
I love this, Tsh, and can so relate–with me it’s the exercise bike in our back room every morning. Thanks for the encouragement!
Carrie Stephens says
This was fantastic. I was anorexic for many years until God graciously and mercifully set me free. It was the thought of passing my insecurity and self-reliance on to my children that finally brought me to my knees. It is the fear of God, His plans and purposes for me, that still keep me clinging to Him for healthy balance and wisdom. I think women in our culture can be so focused on caring for others that we ignore our own need and health. But we will never be able to be who He has made us to be unless we steward our own lives and bodies.
Karen C. says
Have you had an accountability partner to help you with this struggle? My comment is below.
I think the key for Moms is to look at your day and figure out, “What am I NOT going to do so that I can make space for exercise?” So often the instinct is to jam in exercise time into an already jammed up day. Which is often impossible, leading to unmet fitness goals. But if you come at it from the perspective of trading OUT it seems a bit more manageable.
I exercise at dinner time 3X a week. Husband comes home, I head out. Why? It works for our schedule. What I DON’T do is enjoy dinner/bath with my husband + kids 3X a week. This isn’t a great thing and I’m not advocating this – it just happens to work for our lifestyle. But the point is I wasn’t able to squeeze more in, I had to accept a trade and let something go.
Thanks for the encouragement! I’ve been trying to run more lately too. I usually push a stroller while doing so, but I do think setting an example of the importance of being active (even if I’m not fast!) is good for my kids to see. Listening to Needtobreathe while I run helps me. And I laugh at the irony because, well, I need … to … breathe … after running.
Michelle Montano says
I have always hated my body and defied God because of it. As I grew older and began my journey with Christ I realized that God will not do for you what you can do for yourself. I’ve prayed for motivation many times to catapult me into the change that I needed to make for myself. Reading this post really spoke to me and gave me a new perspective of whose my body really is. And because it does not really belong to me I need to be more responsible as to how I take care of it. I have been overweight my whole life and I have always wished to be someone else. Now I see that I have to WORK to be who God has called me to be and I truly believe that He did not call me to be overweight. I CAN use my body to worship and give glory to the LORD and that is what I will begin doing. Please hold me accountable!
this run thing is funny. I have found that it is only love that can compel me, duty doesn’t motivate as it “should”. About 5 years ago, I woke up in the morning hearing the single word “RUN”. That was laughable because I was a walker, and hated running, breaking a sweat, or exerting myself under a physical discipline; I am almost 60, but in high school I would fail gym simply because I refused to run. This word, I knew was not linked to fear, but to obedience…which I wasn’t, and about 18 months later I was within a dream, experientially knowing running, along a grassy trail, my breath, my body rhythmically enjoying a run; that was odd, in that I had never run for a distance of more than a block, except in nightmares where-in my legs would melt and my fear would overtake me…so, I was chewing it in the inner place where we mull “words, and the word, and dreams”, and so, when I was in retreat within me, waiting at a stoplight, I looked up and saw on the bumper of the car in front of me that familiar oval bumper sticker with the single word RUN…”OK, yes, Lord” and I began at 30 breaths walking quickly, ten breaths running, and so I slowly built up a pace, a rhythm, and a pleasure; now, I love to run. It is a reward, an endorphin high, an invigorated body, but mostly a pleasured spirit who has time being out in creation with my Beloved…It is not duty that causes me to lace up, it is pleasure…and a grateful heart to have set aside time to worship and intercede and love.
Perfect perspective for me today. I was JUST telling my sister that I hesitate to go home between work and a kickboxing class at my gym because I’m afraid I won’t end up at the gym. Won’t be an issue after reading this- so thanks for the fabulous motivation, :-).
i enjoy your web site very much, right now i have a lot of stress in my life-taking care of 89 yrold mom and younger brother that was hurt also. your lessions and versus in life help me a lot.
Becky W. says
Thank you for your post Tsh! I read the same book last fall and it led me to pick “refine” as “My One Word” for this year. So far I have lost 32 pounds and my husband & I are in the process of getting a divorce! I never knew the power of one word before and even though I am going through a painful process I know God is walking it with me.
Yay, Tsh! I listen to your podcasts on my runs, and last week it was the one where you hate to exercise. I thought, ‘oh Tsh, get hooked on running, you’ll look forward to exercise’. So glad to hear that you are!
I started reading Kristin Armstrong’s blog on Runner’s World.com
She too talks about glorifying God with running. Where we hit our physical limits, we ask him to take over and you know what? Some of my best runs have been when I asked him to take over.
I also get the Runner’s World Quote of the Day , a daily email. As soon as I read it I can’t wait to get my running shoes on!
If you sign up for a 5k, 10k, or Half Marathon you will get such a great feeling from getting out there according to a training schedule. I think it gives moms such a sense of purpose, sets a great example for our kids, and most importantly gives us alone time 🙂
Tsh Oxenreider says
Yes, I started reading her blog, too! I love it. And honestly, when I said I hated to exercise, I think I was in a slump. You know how you just have one of “those” days, where everything goes wrong and you just want to veg on the couch with chocolate and a movie? Yeah… it was one of those days.
I don’t hate to exercise most days. I tell myself I’m too busy (not true), but I do enjoy it, particularly running, which has totally surprised me.
I’ve been told a lot (read: Kat) to sign up for a race. I just may next spring. We’ll see! Thanks for your thoughts, Katie.
Marty Larson says
Thank you so much for your Divine timing! It was a much needed perspective on exercising, and healthy living. My husband has lost a lot of weight and, as a reformed eater, he’s been after me. My back has gone up on more than one occasion. This turns it all around and really helps get my perspective where it belongs, and maybe it will help me down the right healthy living path.
Lisa E says
Thanks for the inspiration. I have fibromyalgia, and a daily walk is so good for me. I always feel so much better afterwards, it’s just the motivation to lace up my shoes and walk out the front door that I need! Thank you for the great post today. Just what I needed to get out the door.
April Heather Davulcu says
I just discovered your blog and writing today–I love it–and it is so true!! Thank you for putting it all out there~
Okay, okay I’m going. I was sitting here thinking how I really needed to go out for a walk but decided to look at email first. Laughs are on me because I open this up to read about taking care of myself. I will enjoy my walk!
Oh, thank you for this! (I think). You have just encouraged me to get back in the game. I’m pretty much out excuses now. I needed that kick to start working out again. P90X is my favorite (and least favorite – ouch) method. Kids are too young to leave home while I run… so I jump around in front of them. Funny, they are better at the moves than I am… Thanks for the encouragement!
Your post was just what I needed to read. I really need to get on my fitness game. Before I moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles, I had a mini fitness program of mostly yoga and an occasional tennis match. I need to get a new fitness groove! And it is hard to have excuses when you think about God! Thank you for the reminder and a friendly kick in the bum! 🙂
I’ve been so terrible this summer with my walking! I’ve barely walked since the summer started and I can’t wait to start up in the fall again. I mind the heat so badly that I’ve gotten away from walking. I wish I could keep the food out of my mouth though. And eat healthier. I try but, everything tastes so good! Please pray I get smart and MOVE!
I really loved this. I used to go through this every day with whether I should run or not. I have a love/hate relationship with running, but lately I haven’t even thought about it. I think God’s given me a break from worrying about whether I should run, and also from worrying about losing weight.
But reading this makes me want to get back out on the road just so I can glorify Him. Thanks for sharing!
I love this. I run because my last baby was a C-section and I’m awed by a God who can bring me from not being able to walk around my cul-de-sac back to running a marathon in a year and a half! (I just ran my first one! And I’m not a Crazy Fitness Lady — I started with “I’ll just run 3 miles”…then my sister made me sign up for a 10k…then she made me sign up for a half-marathon…) Every time I run I’m thankful for a God who heals like that.
Delonna @ Chick Flick Diva says
It seems like God is calling me to go run with him and to get this temple of mine in shape. It keeps coming up over the last two weeks. So I better start tying up my Nikes and putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you for being honest about your feelings towards exercise and the encouraging quotes. Your post was inspiring.
The Bible calls our body “our tent.” Basically, I have concluded that it it truly the only ‘house’ that I live in. Ran (very slowly) my second 5-K this summer right before my 59th birthday. I do it because I am able. I, too, feel it honors Our Loving Father. Great post. We all have to fight through the mental fog to just get started. It gets easier as the benefits become so motivating. Let’s keep the dementors at bay!
Zipporah Bird says
I find exercise a challenge because I want to get more than one thing done at a time. Taking time just to shower gets put off because there are other things I’d like to accomplish. But, as I write this, I’m on vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains with my family of six, and I have been out hiking every single day! On these hikes, I not only steward my body, I get to marvel at the natural world–something I did little of in my 10 years of urban living. I also get to connect with my children and husband, and find there nothing to correct or nag about. We simply hike together and enjoy each other. Since we live now at the bottom of a mountain with a couple of great trails, I think this family hiking habit will become a weekly thing.
Beth Willliams says
Amen@! I ran my first 5K this summer in 42 minutes!! Working out does make me feel better & sleep better too!
I want to honor God with this body He gave me. I will sweat, run, lift weights, etc. Till I’m back in decent shape!
Thanks for sharing your journey! I started running (i.e. jogging) when I turned 32, and I got this crazy idea to run a 1/2 marathon. I hadn’t run since high school! Anyway, I’ve done two half-marathons since then (but no other races), and it is really motivating to have that race before you. I know I need to exercise to keep my body (and sanity) healthy, but sometimes a little extra motivation is necessary! At least for me…on quite a few days…
This is so me. I decided last year, after 20 years of dieting and exercising to lose weight and look good, that my motives were off. I read Thin Within and felt inspired by it. it helped me realized I need to stay fit and healthy b/c my body is a gift from God, and I can only serve Him if I’m strong and well. I was able to lose 13 lbs. over a year. I wanted/needed to lost 10 more, but just plateaued. Then I just forgot the lessons, got lazy, had some difficult transitions in my life – and I’ve now gained 10 of the lbs back. I’m disgusted w/ myself, and discouraged. this was a good reminder of why I wanted to become healthy in the first place. It really is about honoring God with how I live, in all areas. So…I’m starting over, w/ a goal to lose 20 -again. It such a battle. 🙁
I LOVE this. 🙂 I’ve developed the same mindset about nutrition – God gave me this incredibly engineered body, I’m going to put the best fuel in it! I get teased that I don’t eat “real food” and “how do you LIVE without such-and-such?” and stuff like that, but it doesn’t bother me. Because I do eat REAL food and obviously I’m alive, so…
For anyone struggling with exercise, I’d encourage you to find something you love to do! For me, I love Jazzercise. LOVE. It doesn’t feel like working out! When you’re looking for an activity you enjoy, a lot of places will do free trial memberships or sessions. All you have to do is ask. 🙂
I’ve been thinking recently how certain books have affected me in the past and motivated me to change things in my life long-term (e.g. food, kids’ education), and had the thought: “I need to find a book that motivates me to exercise” (I know it has many benefits I lack, no American doubts it, but I don’t do it). So I appreciate your references here! Thanks!
Karen C. says
I have struggled with anorexia most of my life. It’s not an obsession with being thin at this point as it is mostly just a lack of being able to good care of myself. I also struggle with anxiety, which affects (dampens) my appetite even further. I would like to start running or something, more for well-being, shaking out anxiety issues, better sleeping, better appetite, etc. Does anyone know of an accountability partner that is not related to losing weight? Like you, I want to take good care of my body–not there yet. I also struggle with this, since I have a son and husband–my husband does most of the cooking–I am only good at ‘heating’ things up that don’t require much prep. I absolutely do not like to cook.
Precious Karen C., you are human. Anxiety is one of the most common experiences of life but you can feel so alone as you do not ‘see’ it in others. I have learned how freeing it is to identify and say outloud what makes me anxious. “Drive someone home..in an unfamiliar city.” for example. The earth does not open and swallow you whole for admitting this. Running is extremely helpful as a coping tool. Your body will produce oodles of happy hormones that will cleanse you within. Join us!
So glad you’ve picked up running again. Running for me is spiritual. If I’m running with girlfriends then we are supporting each other, listening, venting, sharing, and offering guidance. When I’m running alone, it’s time to pray and talk to our Lord.
Mary Carver says
Dang it, Tsh! I’ve already been feeling beaten over the head with conviction on this issue, and now I read this?! 🙂 After getting on my treadmill faithfully for six months of last year, I fell off the wagon and never got back on. I finally said out loud to someone who will certainly hold me accountable last week, “I need to get back to my treadmill.” And interestingly enough, I’ve also been thinking about that Eric Liddell quote in the context you’ve shared before – about feeling God’s pleasure when we do what He created us for. I think some things are clicking into place in my head and my heart, and this post is just one more push in that good, right direction. So thanks. Even though…still…dang it! 😉
Lots of times people ask me how I find time to run (I’m pregnant with my fifth baby; my oldest is 7). The truth is, running is what enables me to not just stay sane, but be a kinder and more loving mother and wife. Taking care of myself is one of the greatest gifts I can give my family.
And sign up for a race, if you’re lacking in motivation! There’s nothing like shelling out $50 to make you lace up your shoes every day–it’s motivation completely out of proportion to the actual cost of the race. 🙂
I started a journey about 2 years ago. It began at 1Cor 3:16, continued to 1Cor 6:19, 20 and, as the dawn of realization hit me, it ended with me adopting 1Cor 10:31 as my new life verse. Making right choices and daily struggling with my inner lazy self is hard. The devil is everywhere – you can’t watch your favorite TV show without 3 food commercials, he sits in the drive thru window saying “for 59 cents, you can up size that.” He is there at the end of the work day saying you deserve to just go on home and put your feet up. There are days when I fail miserably, more often since I lost my mom to breast cancer in May, but each day I get up with new goals. I ran (well, walk-ran) my first 5 K last October and took second place in my age group and I have lost over 100 pounds during my journey. Quite a feat for a 62 year old stressed out OB-GYN in rural Georgia, but the credit belongs to God who each day gives me strength to honor him with my choices! The best advice I can give anyone is quit searching for the road God put you on. It is always there although it may be covered by rain or snow or stress or sorrow, etc. You have to have faith that the road is there and solid beneath your feet while taking first one, and then another, step forward, honoring Him every second of every day!
Amen sister! I really enjoyed that book from Gary Thomas and it made me think about exercise and eating right in a whole new light. And amen to Oregon being cold in the spring….it’s still cold in the morning during the summer!
Thanks for this post. Your heart shines through your words and it is lovely to see. 🙂
Thank you SO much for this post! I often think of September as a ‘new year’ and have been thinking about the changes I need to make. Finally taking care of my body and my looks is one of them. Too long I felt it was vain and selfish to take time to take care of me, but lately I’ve realized it’s like the mask on an airplane, taking care of me helps me to take better care of those in my life. Your way of thinking – of my taking care of me is honoring Him is just the inspiration I need! I remember a quote from my youth – Reject the gift and you reject The Giver! I want to honor rather than continue to reject – thanks so much!
Tsh- this is the perfect nudge reminder I need some times. When you live intentionally, no matter the stage of life you are in, there is so much joy. Being pregnant and not exercising as regularly has put running into perspective for me this year. I will be re-reading this post to stay motivated after our son is born. Nothing could be more true about running for His glory.
I just started a running program too! I helped myself by having fun with all the apps out there for tracking your running and walking. I ended up using Endomondo. Also, I didn’t want to get injured so I used a VERY gradual program that in found in the book The beginning runner’s handbook : the proven 13-week runwalk program by Ian MacNeill.
I program the intervals into Endomondo and listen to music while I run. After an interval is done, my phone says “beep beep # minutes medium intensity” or whatever I’m supposed to do next. I’m not pushing myself too hard, but I am slowly increasing the amount of time I’m running vs. walking and I haven’t been uncomfortable yet!
I’ve also signed up for some local 5Ks, which help keep me getting up in the morning.
I’m 8 weeks into the program and although I struggle to get up early each morning, I do want to complete the program and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Love this! I have been thinking recently about the connection between how we care for our physical bodies and how we honor God. So glad there are some books out there on this, I’ll have to check them out. This was also great inspiration. I’ve just started running and lifting again after having my 2nd baby six months ago, and it feels so good to be able to be active again! In those last weeks of pregnancy physical movement was something I definitely remembered not to take for granted. 🙂 God-speed to us all [har har].
Tsh, I run in the late afternoons and evenings as well. Every day it’s the same – I don’t want to go. It’s hard work. I am slow. I am sore. I can think of a thousand other reasons not to go.
But I go anyway. For all of the reasons you mentioned. For better health. For stronger muscles. For better sleep. For peace of mind. For solitude. For His pleasure. (Love that).
P.S. I’m following a 1/2 marathon training plan to help me stay motivated. Today is my “off day”; tomorrow I run 2 miles.
Leah C. says
Really good post and I agree we should all be good stewards of the physical bodies God gave us through diet and excersice. There are some of us out there, me being one of them, that excersice is just not much of an option. I have fibromyalgia and though I’ve tried light excersice to help it for me it just makes me so much worse. So I stay active through house work, playing with my kids and focusing on keeping my mind active because God didn’t give me a body that can run. Just want to encourage anyone else that can’t do more traditional excersice that it’s okay and just do what you can.
I recently started running, too–something I gave up way back in high school when the sideaches and shinsplints kicked in. Now I have a running buddy, and we run a couple of miles 3 days a week. I’ve never felt better about my health! It still feels like an uphill climb, but I feel much more zest for life. Keep up the good run!
What an encouragement – thanks so much!! I have been on a journey for the past year to “get me healthy”. I was 50 pounds overweight and was not exercising even close to regularly. At 51, I was not where I wanted to be. In the past year I have lost 47 of my 50 pound goal and started running for the first time in my life last December. I am not and never will be fast but I LOVE the fact that my body can run! I’m training for my first half marathon on September 30th and am getting excited. I am blessed to run with a group of strong Christian women who are a joy to be around. And, while I am “with” them, my pace keeps me somewhat apart so that I have time to pray and reflect on the blessings in my life – what JOY.
This post is phenomenal and absolutely true! I’ve felt the same way myself – I’m a steward over this “tabernacle of flesh” my Heavenly Father has given me and I need to take care of it. I started running almost a year ago and I see a huge difference in how I feel overall, and this from someone who avoided running at all cost ;). It’s often said that how we take care of the small things is symbolic of how we’ll take care of the big things. I want to show God that I can be trusted and be able to serve missions (as well as my family)! Keep it up and thanks for such an eloquent post that put into words what I’ve wondered and felt for awhile now.
Tonya Overstreet says
This is what I needed to read this morning. There are so many days that I just DON’T WANT TO EXERCISE and would rather watch tv or pretty much anything else but exercise. I love the reminder that I’m not exercising for myself, but I am doing it to take care of the body that God has given to me. I’ve spent way too many years not treating it well, and it’s time that I change that.
THANK YOU for sharing this, Tsh!
Renewing of My Mind « Nearly Missed It says
[…] finally, God spoke to me through Tsh Oxenreider‘s post at (in)courage where her words reminded me that God gave me one body, and I need to focus more on taking better […]
Very motivating post, Tsh, thanks! This past January, our pastor gave a congregation-wide challenge to become more physically fit in order to be of better service to our Lord. My husband and I had been working out for the last 2 years, and to be honest, we were both so out of shape that we kind of had to get into shape in order to get in shape. We had built up our endurance and our strength. We knew the next step needed to be our eating habits, but we just didn’t know what to do. We’ve started to eat more God-made foods, rather than man-made, which meant we had to forego boxes and packages, cut out fat, sugar, and salt. The first 2 or 3 weeks were really hard, we couldn’t decide whether to kill ourselves, each other, or our pastor! But we stuck with it and it got easier. We’ve tried many foods we didn’t know existed, and have learned to like them. Becoming fit for the kingdom was a powerful motivator with the food angle and with continuing the exercise plan that we’d already started. Another good motivator for me has been that my husband is doing this too, and it’s really good for both of us. He’s better about making sure we eat right, but I’m better about dragging our behinds to the gym!
Thanks for the conviction…need to get back on my game again!
Christine Bilger says
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Reading Highlights | From This Kitchen Table says
[…] He didn’t make me fast, but I still run for His pleasure This is my I need to exercise and care about what I eat and put on my skin. I need to take care of myself to give honor to God and take care of the body He gave me. […]
Weekend Wrap Up says
[…] He didn’t make me fast, but I still run for His pleasure by Tsh is an excellent reminder that we all could use. Our bodies, particularly after we become mothers, just aren’t our own. They’re given to us as a gift, and we can either treasure that gift, or we can trash it. Besides the myriad of health benefits and longevity, why wouldn’t we want to be healthy? Why wouldn’t we want to be able to live life to its fullest and experience everything it has to offer, rather than being held back because we are self-conscious or physically unable to do something? This is the one body we’re given, and I for one, intend to make the most of it. ([in]Courage) […]
Weekend Links | Hoping in God says
[…] He Didn’t Make Me Fast, But I Still Run For His Pleasure by Tsh Oxenreider […]
Hi Tsh! I absolutely LOVE your post. Its fantastic and so motivational! I would love to re-post it onto my website http://www.activemumma.com with full links and credits to you and this webpage of course! Do you allow this?
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