In keeping the motif from yesterday’s musings, I decided to write about why I don’t go to the gym, or rather to chronicle my excuses for not exercising.
Backstory: I’m a mother. I work full time. I nurse an infant. I chase after a toddler. My daughters are 16 months apart, a comic masterpiece from God I’m led to believe. [My sister and I, who’ve had a tumultuous relationship as I can best describe without leaving myself too vulnerable for the judgments of the internet’s space, are 16 months apart. Ah, run-on sentences and fragments, sorry.] My infant night nurses and my toddler frequently has nightmares or simply doesn’t want to be alone. When my toddler rises at night, finding herself without companionship in her bed, she wanders into our door-less master bedroom and climbs into the warmth and comfort of other slumbering bodies. Then, of course, I stir and can’t sleep. I’m inadvertently kicked in the face or shoved to the edge. I, in sunshine’s stirring, arise, bleary eyed as I trudge through the day.
As part of an idolatrous, self-indulging morning, I peruse Facebook. I see a constant feed of selfies and meals, frequently at the gym and heaping plates of fad diet-inspired creations. I judge. Perhaps this bemoaning is my disdain for dieting due to a checkered childhood history of observing failed dieting and the repercussions negative self-image played in my family. Maybe there is a slight guilt over my sedentary night practices as I recline and watch one too many episodes of Netflix’s current binges. While it isn’t always true, there is a very real comment, “that which you are inclined to judge in others is what you hate most in your own life.”
Maybe I don’t like all the pictures of healthy creations because I am ashamed that I lack self-control. Seeing those reels are an affront to my sin of indulgence and I realize I’m still hoarding this sin rather than surrendering it to God. I throw myself a pity party. Parties are fun though, right?
The constant thread of gym attendance from friends jeopardizes my comfort with slothfulness. I claim fatigue, and while it is true, if I changed my eating behavior [I’m again reminded of those endless recipes plastered on my news feed] and actually worked out, I might find the energy I claim I’m lacking.
I know I need change. Sadly, my criticisms are shining a light on the reality that I comment and critique because I am not where and what I want to be. I know I need change. We can use the excuse that we need to rely on God so we can continue in our apathetic monotony. Yes, we need God and he is the one who can give us energy when we think we have none, but we must also give action to our voiced prayers. If we think we need change, pray and start moving. May I stop criticizing what others post on Facebook. Rather, may I use it as a catalyst to change behaviors in myself I find lacking or obnoxious. As I act, may I continually pray because I know permanent change isn’t possible without the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat constant temptation.
Will you help me by holding me accountable? Where have you noticed you criticized others because gossip and judgment is easier than rectifying your own faults?
Also, I realize my backstory highlights the reasons I’ve used for not going to the gym and not preparing more nutritious meals. Yet, I also admit that I do think it is absurd to pay for something God has given me freely through creation (like paying for a gym membership and diet designed meal plans), if only I do my part and play in God’s beautiful playground.