Friday, January 4, 2013

My Response to My Exercise Fast

"I have never heard anyone fast from exercise before" was my friend's reaction when I told her that's what I was doing.  I responded by saying something like "well, when it becomes an idol and I have allowed it to take over my life and push Jesus to the side, I think a fast is necessary."

I knew I had insecurities with my body image and a fear of getting fat; I knew it for a long time.  It was only recently that I summoned the courage to face it head-on and allow God to take care of the rest.  It was time for me to surrender that area of my life to Him and trust Him with the consequences.  I thought I had to exercise an hour a day (minimum) to maintain my body weight and still fit in my clothes.  I thought if I didn't do that, then I would become overweight or obese.  So, exercise consumed my life.  I always thought about exercise; it was always hanging over my head, and if I didn't get to exercise, I generally took out my frustrations on my husband, which affected my daughter, too, because my actions, attitudes, and speech don't only affect the person to whom I am speaking in my household, but my entire household.  I was finally tired of it.  I was tired of feeling defeated in this area.  I was tired of allowing Satan's fingers to have a secure grip around my body image; he was winning and I despise being defeated by Satan because God has given me all the weapons I need for victory and I wasn't using them in the area of exercise.  I was hanging on to exercise because I thought I could control it best if it was in my hands instead of in the hands of my Creator.  I thought that if I surrendered it to God, then He could not lead me to ways to stay healthy without having to beat myself up on the treadmill every day.  Boy, was I wrong!  I had been listening to Satan's lies about exercise and body image so long, I couldn't even hear God when He was trying to speak the truth.

Surrendering my "exercise time" has been one of the best moves I have made in a long time.  This is not for everyone, I am sure, but for me, giving that area over to God has completely turned me around and fixed my eyes where they need to be, on my loving Creator, rather than on His creation, my own body and a number on the scale.  When my eyes were fixed on those idols, I was not seeking opportunities to help and serve others, nor was I ready when God put them in front of me.

Okay, so here is what God taught me through my exercise fast:

  • Trust Him.  "Seek first His kingdom, and all these things will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).  When I surrender EVERY area of my life and concentrate on seeking Him before I seek anything else--house, body image, happiness, etc., then He provides everything I need.  He wants to provide for me in the best ways; I just have to allow Him to by giving Him complete control.
  • I didn't really fast from exercise.  I thought I was fasting from exercise, but I really only fasted from the treadmill and a block of time set that was devoted to it.  God gave me a new perspective and taught me that exercise comes in different forms other than traditional ways and that I can include my family in exercise and have fun at the same time.  Some ways I realized I was getting exercise have been dancing in the living room, kicking beach balls and soccer balls together outside, playing frisbee, playing running games with Nora-Kate, playing outside, doing short segments of exercise (I discovered that Nora-Kate really loves learning activities like jumping jacks, push ups, and fun cardio moves such as marching and jumping), taking walks outside, and basically anything else that releases energy.  The key is just to get up and MOVE during the day.  
  • Don't hold back anything from God.  Even when I am scared to let something go and give it up to Him, it really is best if I do.  Surrendering areas of my life over to Him allows me to completely trust in Him and I carry around an attitude of gratitude, positivity, and pure joy.  I find that I smile more, laugh more, and just enjoy the people and blessings God has placed in my life. I enjoy spending time with family and friends because I am not constantly thinking about when I will be able to exercise--I am less stressed!
I have enjoyed this recent fast from exercise.  God never lets me down and always provides in ways I never think or imagine.  I love walking with Him daily and learning how to trust Him more and more. :)

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