If I don’t start taking care of my body now, when will I? I asked myself.
I had sat bedside of the three people who had the most significant impacts on my life and watched them all take their last breaths, each succumbing to cancer. A milestone birthday had come and gone a few years earlier; I was now painfully aware of my own mortality. As much as it was within my power, I vowed to take better care of myself.
Engaging in boot camp-style classes, yoga, cycling, and weight training, I pushed myself to my limits physically, sometimes going to the gym twice a day. I was determined, and nothing was going to stop me. Incorporating a clean diet as well set me on a trajectory to success.
In an effort to fight disease and cheat aging, I strived to be the best me possible. Week after week, I achieved my goals, and finally, when I hit my plateau, I knew I had gone as far as I could. Physically, I felt the best I had ever felt in my life.
But something was wrong.
I had experienced success, but something was missing. Big time. There was no sweetness in life. I was lonely, depressed, and sick with self-absorption. There was a cavernous void that yearned for satiation. You know what it’s like when you devote all of your energy to something and come away still feeling empty? Despite doing everything possible to create and maintain a healthy exterior, inwardly I was wasting away.
During a heart-to-heart conversation with a close friend, she gently pointed out that my regimen was “God-deficient.” She was aware that I had experienced several losses and that I struggled with wondering if God really cared about me. She counseled me, suggesting that if I spent an hour or two at the gym each day, I could include in my diet a mere hour studying the attributes of God and how much He loved and valued me.
I pooh-poohed the advice. I was satisfied with spoon-fed doses of milk once a week instead of a steady diet of the solid food of the Word (1 Corinthians 3:2). I didn’t have that kind of time available to me.
Have you cut God out of your busy schedule because there were too many “more important” things to do with your time?
Finally, the day came when I pushed myself too far. The stronger, seemingly invincible me collapsed. In a matter of minutes, everything I had worked for was pushed to the back burner. I was sidelined with injury and the discovery of deteriorated joints, and repair and recovery was necessary.
My body had failed and I was inwardly starving.
Two surgeries later and nearly immobilized, the constant going and doing had come to a halt and I was forced to sit still. Completely still. I could barely stand it.
Time was no longer such a precious commodity, and I began to occupy myself by reading, a favorite pastime that had gone by the wayside with my busyness. Moving at a snail’s pace and because of the necessity of having all of my creature comforts within arm’s length … God had my attention.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8
Nourishment came as, hour after hour, I read, digested, journaled, and spiritually grew. The meat of God’s Word strengthened me, and as I was filled and my spiritual appetite satisfied, the inner hollowness disappeared.
God desired physical health for me, but more so He wanted my spiritual fitness. I learned that He is not as concerned about my happiness as He is my holiness, because my flesh may become injured and fail and will eventually die, but when my spirit lives in the land of milk and honey, my faith will not; it will thrive.
He is my Food for life and satisfies my appetite with an extravagant banquet. Spending time in the presence of the Lord, I am fed.
Because you are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Pam Freitag Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. Her best friends are her stenography machine (she works as a freelance court reporter), her aged but adorable cocker spaniel Jake, and words. She is grateful for time spent traveling, writing creative nonfiction, and working out. The most important goal she hopes to reach every day is sharing her story with others so they can also find freedom in a redemptive Savior. Read more of Pam’s Breath on Paper bio here.