It’s a rare time when I will say that exercising is bad for you. So count yourself lucky that I’m putting “exercise” and “warning” in the same sentence today. I’ve made a few observations lately about what exercising or getting in shape has done to some people. I thought I’d bring them up because I think it’s worth a conversation. These are some ways that I see exercising turning dangerous in our lives.
♦ It’s used as an avoidance technique
The beauty about exercising is that you can choose to do it alone or do it in a group. You can do it in the morning, the afternoon, or at night. It’s generally readily available for your use. However, this can work in reverse if it’s causing you to avoid situations or people. Listen. I’m the first one to tell you that sometimes the best “mental medicine” for me is to get a little exercise in. There are times when I’m more refreshed and my attitude is better after I just sweat it out for 60 minutes. But what we have to be careful with is that this is a constant answer for when the times get rough.
Check yourself: Are you exercising to avoid uncomfortable situations in your life? Are you leaving the house or escaping to the basement so you don’t have to deal with what’s in front of you?
♦ It increases your “Mojo*”…but with someone other than your spouse
I want to tread lightly here, yet I want to speak strongly. Unfortunately I’ve seen this happen way too many times. A gal, who has spent years in frumpy dumpy world, enters the exercise world. Her confidence returns (along with toned arms and nice legs) and suddenly so does lots of attention from the opposite sex. I remember hearing once that a great way to meet a guy (if you are dating) is at the gym. And yes. That’s true. Who doesn’t want someone who is taking care of themselves? Someone that you can see consistently multiple times a week? The exercise endorphins are flowing, the smiles are on and suddenly you find yourself noticing someone else. Great option for a single person. Destructive option for the married. (* “Mojo” defined commonly now as “self-confidence”)
Check yourself: If you are married, are you playing with fire? Are you trying to garner the attention of someone at the gym? Single women, conduct yourselves with respect at the gym. Just because a guy doesn’t have a wedding ring on doesn’t mean he’s not married. Pray for wisdom and be on guard!
♦ It gives you confidence…on steroids
Statistics show that women who exercise (and in particular strength train) have increased feelings of confidence. It’s a huge reason I love exercising! Yes–I love feeling confident!! However, we have to be careful here. We have to keep this all in balance.
Check yourself: Are you finding yourself overly confident? Are you “strutting” your stuff a little too much? Are you feeling superior in your attitude towards other people?
♦ It catches–and keeps–you in the comparison trap
Parenting. Marriage. Finances. Achievements. Looks. You name it, you can compare it. Iron can sharpen iron, but it runs a close line when the iron outdoes iron. And let’s not forget. Sometimes our worse comparison battle is with ourselves. We are never good enough. Pretty enough. Thin enough.
Check yourself: Are you trying to out-do someone at the gym? Maybe a friend who is on a weight loss journey too? Are you trying to make a weight from years ago that’s causing you to have unhealthy habits?
Exercising is my thing. It’s my bread and butter. I truly believe God has gifted me with this passion and talent for His glory. But let me tell you. It’s not the ONLY thing. Our physical health is part of a much larger equation. Let me suggest to you that one way to keep the above dangers in check is to always make sure that your spiritual health is in better shape than your physical.
My last piece of advice is this. Anything that we do in life, be it our housekeeping, hobbies, parenting, exercising or shopping should always bring you closer to your husband and family and keep you roadblock free in your walk with God. If you find that anything is muddying the waters in your life, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate—no matter how healthy or good it is. Remember our final goal. Our bodies will be gone but our spirits will live forever.