Jean Newell, Associate Pastor, Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
Many years ago, between keeping up with growing children and pursuing a teaching career, I never gave exercise a thought! I hadn’t grown up with parents who took exercise seriously, so why should I exercise? I ate what I wanted – including fried food and desserts – and didn’t worry about my weight or my cholesterol!
I didn’t become health-conscious until my dad had heart trouble and passed away shortly after my son was born in 1980. Dad grew up on fried food and insisted on salting almost everything he ate. When he started having heart problems, the doctors tried to get him to change the way he ate, but that simply became an ongoing battle for my mother as she was able to cut back on the amount of fried food they ate, but she never was able to get the salt shaker away from dad!
Years passed. My children grew up, and I became painfully aware that gone were the days when I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, with nary a thought to gaining weight! I tried dieting but to no avail until – following my sister’s lead – I joined Weight Watchers in 2004. It took months for me to shed the weight by simply watching what I ate, but the pounds finally came off. For the most part, I’ve kept the weight off until lately when I’ve gained some extra pounds that I just can’t shed – which has brought me to exercising in earnest!
Exercising is good for you, and I know that, but knowing it and doing it are two opposing realities in my life right now! If I want to live a healthy life, I need to be intentional not only about what I eat but also about how I live – including exercising. Ugh!
It seems the same could be said for one’s spiritual life. If one wants to have a healthy spiritual life, one needs to be intentional as Jesus taught in Luke’s gospel (Luke 6:47-49) building faith on a firm foundation of worship, prayer, and study of God’s Written Word and not on the shifting sands of the latest fads of contemporary culture.
Whether seeking to exercise the body or exercise the spirit, the key to a healthy lifestyle is more than knowing what to do, it’s about intentionally following through!