Lungs burning and chest screaming out in pain. Every muscle tightening and releasing and tightening again. The air hot from my mouth and throat dry with every breath. As the rotating belt below me urged forward, I knew I couldn’t give up now. With every step pain shot through my legs as fast as the sweat rolled down my back.
I had one minute left to run and my body was screaming “NO! STOP” but my heart urged me to push harder. Only 30 seconds now and it would all be over. All the pain, all the fire in my lungs, and the pounding in my heart.
I lowered the speed on the treadmill back down to 4.o and I could already feel my body thanking me but during that two minutes of sprinting, I was thanking God for helping me get through it.
I started going back to the gym last week after months of frankly not taking care of my body the way I should. Let me go on to say that I’m not, in any way, athletic, so this is something I really have to push myself to go and do. But I decided last Monday that I would make some healthier changes in my life and that meant hitting the gym again.
I started with hopping on the treadmill and thinking that this would be a breeze. Little did I know, I was forgetting how out of shape I was. Through my huffing and puffing (literally), I only lasted fifteen minutes before I gave up and walked away like I had just been hit by an eighteen-wheeler. I felt absolutely pathetic and embarrassed. I’m only twenty-one years old and I can’t even handle a measly fifteen minutes on the treadmill? What was wrong with me?
As I stepped into the locker room to gather my things, I reflected on how neglectful I had been to my body and felt ashamed that I had been treating it so poorly. My lack of healthy diet, exercise, and motivation made me cringe and I automatically thought of this passage of scripture.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:19
Though this verse is mainly aiming at sexual purity and warning of sexual sin, I think it could be applied to maintaining a healthy body physically as well. Regardless of your worldview reader, I think there is some merit here.
We come into this world with only one body, one opportunity to take care of it and use it in an honoring way. Why not through a healthy diet and exercise? And why shouldn’t we, Christians, use this as an act of worship before God?
We were created in His image, we are His artwork and creation, and everyday is a chance to honor Him with how we live within our bodies. Whether that’s through dancing, singing, running, swimming, or even huffing and puffing like me that Monday afternoon, we should do it because it’s bringing Him the glory. We should have every desire to take care of our bodies because we are His.
You see, when I get on that treadmill to run.. I go inside myself, somewhere not there and I find an inner strength that only He can give. I find a place of peace, and oddly as it sounds a place of worship before God. I turn on my favorite worship playlist on Spotify and I completely and utterly let go of everything, offering my body to Him.
Do I continue to sweat? Yes. Am I still tired afterwards? Yes. Does my chest still burn every time? Yes. But everyday I get a little stronger and everyday back on that treadmill is a new chance to allow Him to work through me and praise Him for His Holy power.
I know it may sound silly on paper but I completely feel His presence there while running on that treadmill and I intend on continuing this change not just for myself but ultimately for Him.
Reader, let Him give you strength and determination in whatever you do. I promise it will be worth every drop of sweat and every aching muscle.