One of the things I love most about life is relationships.
I love the excitement of meeting new people. I love the process of trust growing between people. I love intentionally walking alongside others in life and purposefully cultivating deeper relationships. I love those moments when I’m hanging out with a group of friends and we all suddenly realize how close we are and try to figure out how the heck it happened.
For those that know me this isn’t surprising at all. I am very much a people person. In fact, all of those strengths and personality tests I’ve had to take for team training and grad school point to the fact that I was indeed wired for relationships. Really I believe we’re all wired for relationships, it just also happens to be one of my favorite hobbies.
This is probably why the metaphor of the Church being the body of Christ resonates with me deeply. Read the metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12.
There are honestly so many different things I could say about this chapter. I could talk about how we are all different parts of the body and so have different talents and gifts.* I could talk about how we should encourage one another in our diversity. However, for the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to talk about why the body needs exercise.
*Side note: you should totally ask God what part of the body you are & how he uses you. It’s a fun way to know self and know God.
Over the past few years my understanding and respect for physical exercise has been growing. I’ve run a few half marathons and have done different workout programs like Insanity and Fit Girls Guide. I’ve also been super inconsistent and have injured myself because of it. But hey, progress, not perfection.
A few weeks ago I realized the need for consistency and growth in this are of my life so for the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing the FGG work out plan with a friend. We’ve been consistent and I can honestly say it’s been the highlight of my day since being back in Costa Rica.
I think the turning point for me was in realizing my need.
Living cross-culturally produces mucho stress and anxiety in me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it and think it’s good for me, but it is hard. Last week a friend told me that anxiety and stress and all those Scroogey feelings you get is the culmination of a bunch of chemicals in your body, and that working out kills those chemicals. It was definitely one of those “ah-ha” moments for me, and I’ve been able to experience how working out truly does help restore my peace.
But working hard to kill those chemicals sometimes leaves me sore and exhausted. There have been many a days lately where I’ll wake up and find it hard to get out of bed because my body is aching. It’s not a bad “I’m injured” kind of ache (believe me, I know what that feels like), but rather a “Oh, I didn’t realize that muscle existed before” kind of ache. It’s that kind of ache that points to a future strength.
Just as our physical bodies need exercise, the body of Christ also needs to be exercised. This happens in the Church as a whole, but it also happens in smaller community settings. Sometimes we experience some easy to moderate exercise. This could take the form of starting new relationships or experiencing some miscommunication. Sometimes we go through some pretty intense exercise plans as a community. This could look like moving to a new country with a group of people or starting a business with some friends. Other times, we think we’ve signed up for a regular half marathon when what we actually signed up for was a full on adventure marathon that has mountains and creeks and not as many water breaks as we anticipated. This could look like a death in the community, a divorce, or heartbreak.
The point is, we may not necessarily enjoy exercising but it’s crucial to growth and living a healthy life. Relationships aren’t always easy and they aren’t perfect. They require work and commitment. However, it’s in relationships that we experience connection, joy, love, and Christ.
So may we discover and accept our roles in the body. May we take the time to know ourselves and to know God. May we push through the uncomfortable times of training so that we can push through to the finish line and receive our prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
Fun fact: the picture for this post was taken after my first ever race; a Mujeres 5k in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2012!
If you’re interested in learning more about honoring God with your body, check out Beltway’s Essentials sermon series here!
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