I was driving home from the Prescott conference a couple of weeks ago, listening to a Christian radio station that was playing their 'Focus on the Family' session when this guy, Gary Thomas came on the show to promote his book 'Every Body Matters'. I was so inspired listening to him that I took a bunch of notes while I was driving (I spoke them into the microphone and the phone typed them for me; don't worry I wasn't writing out a blog while I was driving!) and now I have comprised them into a blog post.
Also, I have recently been trying to lose weight and am considering doing the HCG diet so any time some one mentions keeping in shape and tips to do so, I perk up. These were different kind of tips though, a different perspective on being in shape and I just have to share.
Gary Thomas began with a story that I must retell in order for you to get what I did, out of this. I hope there's nothing illegal about writing about all this. Haha. I'm sure I'll find out soon enough if there is! As far as copy write infringement goes, I have mentioned his name and his book and am not saying this story is my own!
Gary was writing with a senator, a bio about the senator's life (I believe my memory serves me right). Well, before Gary left one evening, the senator handed him a file. In that file, he told Gary, were a bunch of letters and things the senator's father had written to him that he wanted Gary to review for the book. I should mention, these papers were the originals, not copies. Gary was kind of in a panic trying not to take the papers because, in his words: "If you saw my office, you'd think differently of me." Apparently, Gary has a paper problem. His office is covered in random papers, not all of which he knows what they are! He's always having to reprint lost or misplaced papers for some reason or another. So, being given this original folder full of extremely sentimental letters made him slightly crazy. He did not let that folder out of his sight once, the whole time he had it. I believe it was an entire week. Gary kept tabs on it every moment, he had to know where it was at every second. He was so determined not to lose it...because...and here's the punch line...it wasn't his.
Now the comparison Gary drew was....what if we treated our bodies the same way? Because in reality, as a Christian, my body is not my own but God's. The bible says so. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." I think that's pretty clear. Growing up, I thought that meant things like not getting tattoos, smoking, drinking, taking drugs, etc. Which I don't doubt it does, however, maybe being in shape is something we can add to that? Let me explain (with Gary's help, even though he doesn't know it.)
Looking at physical fitness in terms of how you look or feel is one way of seeing it, but that doesn't help us for very long. I feel like a big lump of lard and then I start working out, I realize how hard this is going to be, and my standard for how I look and feel drops drastically and I decide I look and feel great and working out isn't necessary. Maybe that's just me!
I remember one time specifically, I had gone shopping and was so depressed at the size of clothes I was having to buy, I went to my friends house to work out instead, determined to keep up the work and lose the weight. I was no more than 20 minutes into my work out doing an exercise that required me to leave my right leg on the floor, lift my left leg straight behind me and lean over until my body was parallel with my left leg. One hand was holding onto a table for balance and the other was pulling a weight up to my shoulder. I distinctly remember looking down and my leg and thinking, "It actually looks pretty toned! What am I sweating like this for?! Forget it, I'm not that bad off." Remember, just 2 HOURS earlier I was completely disgusted at my clothes size!!
I did 2 things wrong there: I based my fitness level on how I looked and felt at the time and I based my fitness level on the size of my body. Being skinny does not mean you are in good shape. I have a friend who is several sizes larger than me, yet she can outrun me, out-swim me, out-ANYTHING me on any given day! She is in such better shape than I am!
So, hence my point about how looking at physical fitness in terms of how you look and feel doesn't go the distance for some of us (me). Some of us (me) need a spiritual look at things before we realize how important they really are. These are the things that will be discussed in Instruments Not Ornaments Part 2....