This post is by Jill Miller.
I was an All-American athlete in high school, with a full ride to college in swimming. I worked out a minimum of 4 hours a day, both morning and night for years and years and years. You could say exercise and moving my body was a part of my DNA. And then I got to college.
Leaving swimming behind within my first year, I vowed to never get up before 6am and to never, ever workout again. It didn’t take long for me to realize that maintaining my athletic figure while also attempting to master the art of sleeping in was anything but realistic.
As I moved into adulthood, became a mom, and worked full time as a teacher, it seemed I almost inadvertently made good on my vow to myself as it became harder and harder to work out or get moving at all. And the further away I got from my once athletic self, the greater the chasm grew between my confidence and my shame.
Starting something new is never easy. Typically it involves breaking one habit (hard) and consistently picking up a new one (also hard). When you’re working, running kids around, or just managing life, it can be a challenge to add one more thing to that overflowing plate.
But it’s needed. Moving, exercising, working out, whatever you want to call it, does far more than benefit your physical body. It’s a release - a freeing of your mind if only for a moment. The busyness, to-do’s, and every relationship you encounter can benefit from you taking some time to move.
One mistake I made when I set to incorporate exercise back into my day, was feeling like I had to follow some program or plan every single day with perfection. The athlete in me would creep in and I felt like if I didn’t do everything perfect every day, it was pointless. It took awhile, but I soon realized that it was less about the activity itself and more about my consistent commitment to doing something that really carried power.
I decided to find joy and content in my choice to simply do something. Whether it was a short walk, a long bike ride, or an afternoon chasing my kids around the yard, my choice to commit to something physical is where I found freedom.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
This verse is a good reminder for me. It’s a reminder of the deep adoration that my Father has for me, and of the honor I have in reciprocating that. Taking care of my body, stewarding it well is an honor. Finding a way to get movement and physical activity into my day is healthy for my body, but it is also nourishment to my soul.
If you’re struggling in this area, spend some time thinking about it from a different perspective. Realize that the purpose of physical health has nothing to do with how well you do it, what you do, or if it returns you to your former athletic self. Physical health is an act of obedience, an act of honor, and it will fill you up far more than simply slimming your waistline. Take the pressure of perfection off your heart, and simply take one step of obedience. Do something and do it as consistently as you can. That is all.
Jill Miller is a writer, speaker, and passionate educator advocate. She is the co-owner of Teacher, Be Still, a company dedicated to providing encouragement and inspiration to educators as they make their spiritual, physical, and mental health a priority. Jill and her husband John, have lived a colorful life filled with big challenges, debilitating obstacles and heartbreak, and sweet victories. Because of this, she loves being transparent in her writing and speaking as the grace of God is so evident in the many victories He’s brought them to. Jill is a mom to four in a wild and crazy blended family and their family lives in the Dallas area.
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