When people meet me, within a few minutes of talking they usually ask what I study in college. I smile and say “Health and Exercise Science.” I then usually get a funny look and a reply, “So you are into all that working out healthy stuff huh?” Why yes. Yes I am into “all that stuff” as they so eloquently put it.
This past year though, I really did need to ask myself- why do I love to exercise so much? Sure, it’s a stress reliever. And yes, I’m a health and exercise major. And of course, it’s to attain a higher level of personal health. But looking past that, why do I put myself through all this?
I want to look good.
I want to look in the mirror and be able to say confidently that I look sexy in my running spandex. I want to be completely confident with the beauty of my body. That is why I work out. That is also why most people work out- we want to be beautiful!
The day I realized I would never be taller than 5’4” and that my calves would always have more muscle than most guys. I was devastated, and I believed exercising fanatically was the only hope I had to try and attain some semblance of the standard of beauty that women are held to today.
So then I asked myself, is wanting to be beautiful a healthy desire? Is this the right attitude to have every time I go to the gym?
Maybe, I definitely don’t think it’s bad to have this desire, but I think that there should be more to it than the superficial goal of looking good. Seriously, we can’t all be genetically-gifted superstars.
In Psalm 139:14, the writer says, “How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well.” Another translation says “fearfully and wonderfully made.” That means that this body that I lament over, the muscles that I try to tone, and even the hair I try to tame were made expressly to God’s specifications.
This body can do amazing things! This body took me to the top of a mountain in 2014. It held together as I leaped off a 50 foot cliff. It carried me through over 15 miles of mountain biking trails.
When I exercise, when I sweat so much its dripping off my face, I am rejoicing in the body God gave me. It’s amazing! There is so much that can go wrong, yet it all works together perfectly- like clockwork.
Let me tell you, I will never have supermodel measurements, but my thunder thighs powered me through a 13.1 mile half-marathon and and a 10 mile Tough Mudder.
Do I look unhappy with my body here? Absolutely not!
I embrace my sweatiness because it is the one time in my day that I truly believe how wonderfully made I actually am! What a novel concept.
God has always told me this, but it took embracing my sweat to realize it. And it’s when I embrace my sweat, that I truly understand how beautiful I actually am.