My husband did something strange a couple of weeks ago. Not one for too much physical “exertion,” Bob typically avoids (like the plague)  activity that can generate a sweat. 🙂 Ok, maybe it isn’t quite that bad, but he isn’t one of those kinds of guys that needs to pump iron or run 5 miles to feel like a man. 🙂

So, when, one morning during our quiet times, he asked me if I would like to get a membership to California Family Fitness again, I was quite surprised. Not only was I surprised at his suggestion of the idea given it costs money to do this, or at the fact that this implies a willingness to sweat, but it also struck me that we live 40 minutes from the nearest facility that is worth it’s salt in sweat, which means quite some time investment to get our money’s worth.

I have a confession to make. Not like it is a new confession or anything. I have made it here at the blog before. I love exercise. I am a reformed gym rat. But my problem is I fear returning to my former obsession. The pendulum is way at the other end of things for me in this. What once was obsessive “fear of NOT working out” has become a fear of working out. I fear that I can’t handle any kind of routine exercise.

Maybe God has us placed 40 minutes from CFF (California Family Fitness) to help safeguard against this. When we lived 5 minutes away from the gym we belonged to in the 90s, I worked out twice a day for over an hour. (Hubby calls this my “bulimic period,” as he is convinced–and he is right–that I used exercise to “purge”).

So he had the idea of doing this–of getting a gym membership, but that is a long step away from actually signing up. So imagine my surprise when he came home one day and gave me three membership cards (one for me and one for each of our two kids) so that we could now freely go to the gym…Wow. I guess he really meant it.

Although it has been two weeks since he did this, yesterday was the first day the kids and I got over to the gym. We began with a half an hour of racquetball–which is a blast as far as I am concerned. I love tennis, but racquetball with my kids is great because we can spend time pummeling the ball instead of chasing it like we do out on the tennis court.

After racquetball, we ventured upstairs to the cardio equipment. Since the last time we had a gym membership (probably a couple of years), I am amazed at the “improvements!”  Now, you can hook up your iPod to the treadmill and, if you select a movie on your iPod, it will display on the screen in front of you. I can watch my Beth Moore videos and improve my spiritual fitness while I walk/jog/run my way to physical fitness! Goodness!

My kids and I did the treadmill for about 20 minutes, too. Will wonders never cease! 🙂

I do have to admit, though…when we first got to CFF, I felt like an addict assaulted by the “substance” she formerly abused. There were scales everywhere to hop on. I walked by and tried not to look. The last thing I want to do now is fall off the Boycott Scales wagon! Then, as we went into the women’s locker room, a woman was having her hips measured by a personal trainer. Yikes! I wanted to holler: “No-o-o-o! Don’t do it! Be free! You can tell if you have lost inches by the way your clothes fit! Don’t give in to the man-made numbers!”

I must rein in my passion just a bit. 🙂 Fact is, many people don’t have “issues” with numbers, graphs, charts and the like the way I do. This is my personal battle and I need not become a zealot attempting to rid the world of scales and tape measures!

There were a couple of familiar things, however, that did surface following our visit to the gym. One was the old “Now I deserve to eat _______.” Ah…the activity of my life is not to be the determining factor for when I eat. My body’s legitimate hunger and satisifed signals are…and even these, I must submit to the Lord. I am glad I saw that this is what was going on!

The second familiar feeling that followed a fun, enjoyable workout at the gym was this sense of inexplicable confidence. I felt…well..good. I mean, even the tweak in my arthritic ankle couldn’t keep me from plain old feeling good. I think it is this sense that I have done something that I know honors the Lord and is good for HIS temple–my body. This is an investment in properly caring for that which I am merely a steward of. My body is NOT my own. It belongs to Him. As such, I must care for it the way He wants. My spirit and heart and mind are his as well, so doing something for one aspect of my “self” at the expense of one or more of the others is not His way.

This morning, when I turned to my HEAL book, I came to page 83 where the authors point out that there are things that I can do to help me to feel positively about my body. Given that I have this tendency to beat myself up, self-deprecate–definitely NOT glorifying to God–it stands to reason that if there are practical things I can do to help me feel better about my body and not at the expense of my spirit, mind, and soul, then maybe I should do them!

Moving my body in fun, enjoyable activities is one of those things that makes me just feel good about my body. When I consider that God has made me naturally atheltic and that he has put in me a love of  exercise…well, I can get pretty out of touch with these two blessings pretty easily when the only activity I engage in is spreading hay out on the hillside twice a day or stacking hay bales. Yes, some seasons of my life are naturally more active than others, but this season isn’t one of those. I am home with my kids much more focusing on our highschool science and math courses, trying to help them out…so I am home much more.

I appreciate that the authors of HEAL have asked us to generate a list of things that cause us to feel better about our bodies.

So how about it…without sacrificing your emotional or mental health, what can you do to feel better about your body? What can you do to honor God with your body?

I will continue to generate my list, but also I am on a quest to break free from the fear that being at a gym or around scales and tape measures will somehow lure me back into my former obsession. God wants me not to allow anything other than HIM to determine my steps. Fear can be an idol that I “obey” if I don’t deal with this.

I am chasing after the joy that I know is in Him as all things are balanced BY Him and for His glory!