Monday, February 8, 2010

Forfeiting Spiritual Health for Physical?

The Lord has been working on my heart this past week and it has been good.  I struggled and asked questions, but He gently guided me as only my heavenly Father can. 

Lately, my priorities haven been mixed up.  I would get up early every morning to go to the neighborhood gym and work out for over an hour.  While that is a great thing to do for my physical health, my spiritual health was suffering.  Oh, I would open my Bible and read for a few minutes most mornings before heading off to the gym.  However, once 5:45 a.m. came, my Bible was closed as I knew my time at the gym was limited and precious.  After all, with seven children, if I don't work out in the morning, it never happens during the rest of the day. 

My time at the gym was limited and precious???!!!  What about that Book I just closed?  What about my time with its Author?

What it had come down to was this:  my exercise was my priority.  Saturdays were a non-gym day for me and I would sleep in, leaving no time for God and the Bible.  The reason I was rising early was to get my work-out and I was only reading my Bible so I could go without guilt.  In all actuality, my spiritual life was nominal and meaningless.

To make matters worse, where I first made sure I only worked out for 45 minutes in order to get home just when the children were rising, I began to increase my work-out time.  I was getting home later and, therefore, our day was beginning later and the order in my home was reduced to nothing.  But, hey, I was getting healthy and that's important as a mom, right? 

What is physical health when the spirit is malnourished and diseased?  What is physical strength when the home is becoming weak?

The Lord began to tug on my heart and I'm so glad He did as that is more proof that I am indeed His child and He hasn't given up on me.  Through His men, His Word, and through other writings by His people, I was convicted.  However, I was a bit fearful.  If I made time for Him like I truly wanted, wouldn't that mean I could no longer work out?  Contrary to popular belief, homeschool moms of many children don't really run all day long.  There is a lot of sitting as we go through lessons, read stories, and do lesson plans.  If I'm not sitting, I'm standing - not a lot of calorie burn there.  I still want to look good and keep healthy.  However, I know that if I put my priorities back in order and make God first, He will allow time for what He thinks is important.  If He wants me to keep the body He gave me in shape and healthy, He will show me how and give me the time to do it.

This morning, I woke early and got into my gym clothes.  However, I only dressed for the possibility of going to the gym.  I was going to read and pray until my cup was filled by the Holy Spirit.  Then, if there was time, I would go work out and be back home in time for us to have a peaceful and orderly day.

The Lord was so good to me.  He spoke to me so clearly in His word and I was able to have true communion with Him for the first time in a couple of months.  And, do you know what?  There was time for me to go work-out for 30 minutes.  That's a lot less time than I've become used to and I was tempted to stay, but I know that 30 minutes is better than nothing and I will still reap the health benefits.  This day has gone so smoothly and peace is returning to our home. 

Once again, the Lord has proved Himself loving and wise.  I am glad He has not given up on me.  Yes, my work-outs will be shorter, but my walk with God will be stronger.  That is the race I must continue and win.


Julie said...

What an encouraging entry. It's so true that even good things can clog our minds and take away our time from the Lord. Thanks for sharing. Especially the Satruday part. A friend of mine and I always say that weekends are the hardest with devotions b/c the husband is home and routinge is changed. It's no excuse though. But it's encouraging to me knowing that woman that I look up to, like yourself, struggle with the same things. It gives me hope...

Lisa said...

Praise the Lord for your humility and honesty!We all have our own excuses to neglect our relationship with God and that is exactly what God has been working on my heart about spending more time with him even when my first daycare child arrives at 5:45 in the morning I need to crucify the flesh...what a small thing for me compared to what others sacrifice for the Lord every day in other countries.thanks for sharing your heart and being a blessing!

Jamie Parfitt said...

I'm so glad you wrote this. We get a lot of bad advice from other Christian women who want to excuse their neglect of Bible time (or children time). So there is this saying that has gone around: "If you don't take care of yourself [physically], you can't take care of your family." Well, the saying should be applied to the spiritual first! If we are not fit spiritually, our families will suffer a lot more than if we are a few pounds overweight or a few inches too chubby. Let's not look at the world's ideals, because the world achieves those ideals by avoiding God. Forgive us, Lord, for any time we have done that! I think our husbands will be happy with us in any shape we come in, as long as we are bubbling over with the joy of the Lord.

Jenna said...

meant to comment on this a while ago! :)
This was a great post! I think it's pretty clear to most that I work out every single day and it is HARD to find GOOD time to spend with the Lord when you take an hour of your day to benefit the physical! I did the gym a while ago and it just took too much time--now I work out at home and it's much better. Thanks--I needed this!