I have lately seen in my personal life a correlation to my physical activity and my spiritual growth. I think there is something crucial that many people miss. Maybe they aren’t athletes. Maybe they hate taking walks. Maybe the closest thing they have to exercising is walking to their car or next class. Lazy. Simply put.
I am not innocent of this. I am an athlete. I love sports. I love playing sports- any of them. But as of late, I have been struggling with making up excuses to why my workout routine has been inconsistent. Last year something happened: I fell in love with running. Yes running! I used to hate it. But for some reason I began to love running and walking miles. It was great time for me to talk with God. I felt great. I was in great shape. But something else happened since my love for running was awakened. Back in March, I got injured. It took me 3 months, Xrays, an MRI, and 4 doctors later to figure out that I tore the ligament right below my ankle bone. My foot has been swollen ever since. I went through 7 weeks of physical therapy. But during that time, especially during PT, I was in great shape. I was working out more than ever before. However, I have not been running since May. I was dumb enough to try running a 5k knowing I had a torn ligament…talk about pain. I found myself halfway through the race with my calf completely cramped and in the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I finished the race but I was told to not run for several months. I now wait to find out if surgery is necessary.
But how does my running, working out, and exercising affect my spiritual discipline? This past year has been a struggle, especially because of my injury. But throughout this year, I have been on a constant roller coaster spiritually. I was most disciplined with my Bible reading, with my prayer, and even my Christian fellowship when I was actively maintaining a healthy lifestyle of working out- even with the injury. I have been at my weakest when I stopped relying on God and would quit when my ankle and foot hurt. I would become lazy. And I would wonder why I was getting out of shape. I would wonder why I was falling in to my past weaknesses spiritually. There is a direct connection whether you want to believe it or not. When we become disciplined physically, is it for ourself or for God? Is it for both? But even more, when we go after God spiritually we cannot neglect the physical aspect of our lives. If we say we love, aren’t we supposed to love God with all of our heart, our soul, our minds, and our strength? If we love God we need to make an active decision to love him with our everything, including how we treat our bodies physically. And when we love our bodies physically, shouldn’t we make sure its for the love of God and not ourselves?