Updated: Oct 31, 2019
I was very active when I was young. It was normal to ride my bike everywhere - to go on long bike rides (15 plus) miles to the state park; to the local park 2 miles away to play tennis; to friend's houses;... I walked to elementary, middle, and high school. I was in marching band and drill team. Then off to college where I didn't own a car and walked everywhere on a large university campus.
I don't know at what point I got sedentary. Probably when I graduated from college and started working full time. Drove to and from work. Sat at a desk all day. I was just never into exercising. I don't know why. I ate what I wanted and I didn't exercise and I kept that small figure. I don't know why I didn't like to exercise. Just didn't.
But I saw all of you exercising your little butts off! Many of you seem a bit obsessive about exercising - training for that marathon and watching every calorie that goes into your body. Kickboxing, Yoga, Cycling, Zumba, Line Dancing, Hot Yoga, Cross Fit, Pilates,....
I just didn't get it. I didn't see the value. You did.
Exercise is a good thing.
Now I have to exercise. I had a heart attack and a stent put in and I have to exercise to keep my heart healthy. To be honest, so far I'm not enjoying it. Hopefully at some point I will and it will become a habit. But I don't think I will ever be obsessive about it like many of you all are. It may be too soon to tell though.
But I was obsessive about something else.
What keeps running through my mind as I now exercise is that I am wasting time. I know I'm not really wasting time, but it feels like I am. My schedule is off and that irks me.
We all prioritize what is important to us. Exercise may be important to you and you will be intentional in finding time to exercise. You will CARVE OUT time in your day to make sure you get your exercise in. You may set your alarm early so you can get that morning run in.
I carved out time for what I deemed important to me. And it was spiritual things. First doing whatever Bible study I am in. Doing research for my classes. Modifying curriculums. Searching for an answer to a specific question. Preparing to teach a class. Working on this website. Keeping up with Passion to Know More's social media. Responding to questions that friends have about Christianity. Encouraging other Christians in their walk. Reading scores of Christian books. Reading a section of one Christian book and meeting with a friend every month to discuss it. Reading my Bible.
So when people seem incredulous that I went through life without exercising; I want to tell them that I wasn't wasting my time! I had some important stuff I was doing!
While I'm exercising I wish I was doing those other things. I'm going to have to find a way to mix the two. Maybe listen to a podcast as I'm walking.
On the flip side of that I think of you active people who spend hours exercising each week and I wonder if you spend anywhere close to that amount of time on your spiritual journey? I envision you might open some nonsense self-help book to get in touch with your spiritual side. Or meditate/ breathe to relax. Or maybe you count your 1 hour at church each week as covering your spiritual nourishment. Are any of those enough to check off that "spiritual" box? Really?
In terms of importance; I would hands down say your spiritual side is way more important than your physical side. Sure you should take care of yourself so you can get from birth to the grave and enjoy life and be useful. Maybe you enjoy physical activities. You should make time for things you enjoy! But if your time spent is heavily skewed towards exercise (or anything else for that matter) and you are largely ignoring your spiritual journey; you have your time allocation all messed up.
I give my students a book called How to Study the Bible (*affiliate link) by Robert M. West. It's a little $0.99 book, quick read, but packed with useful information. In the book it says we must approach God's Word both dependently and purposefully. I want to talk about the purposefully. West says, "By saying we must study the Bible purposefully, I mean we should be clear in our minds why we are spending part of our day studying."
I read this again and it immediately made me think about exercise. If I asked you why you are spending part of every day exercising, I bet you could give me many excellent reasons. You know exactly why. You have deemed in your mind that exercise is something important and worthy and as a result you have carved out a significant amount of time for it. You set goals. You are consistent. You are purposeful.
If I asked you why should you spend part of every day reading God's Word?; how would you answer? Are you clear in your mind why Bible study is important? Have you set any goals? Are you consistent? Are your purposeful?
Robert M. West gives many purposes for Bible Study:
To settle the issue of your own salvation.
To grow spiritually.
To receive personal blessing and encouragement.
To receive personal guidance.
To defend ourselves against the devil.
To effectively teach God's truth to the next generation.
To be able to counsel others.
To be ready to speak with unbelievers about Christ.
To verify that the teaching of others is the truth of God.
To present ourselves approved to God.
We all carve out time in our days for what we think has value.
Do you value what is most valuable though?
God values your heart.
"for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
Perhaps we all have some adjustments to make.
(*Affiliate link - your purchase of anything through this link helps support Passion to Know More website. Thank you.)