I have determined that I am hindered in my physical fitness goals because of three basic things:
1) I'm afraid of the dark–not in my house, but out there. Come on, the kind of people that steal stuff walk out there in the middle of the night–I know, because every once in a while their loot gets too heavy and they ditch it along the tracks or in a vacant lot nearby. We've come across these things more than once–that and hunting season has begun; the hunters are trigger happy and not the greatest aim. One year they put holes in our siding and apparently we are outside anybody's jurisdiction who cares, too. I'd hate to go out walking and come home trailing blood.
2) I have really poor judgment at four o'clock in the morning, no matter what time I go to bed. I used to be able to remember why on earth the alarm was blaring at that hour, but no more. Or I do, but I can't bring myself to care.
3) After six pm, there is no way I'm going to expend one kilojoule of energy more than I absolutely have to. I tried yesterday. After everyone but my sister's daughter left, I had to make a phone call so I lay myself down on the mat and contemplated doing leg lifts or sit ups while listening to the woman on the other end but I simply could NOT talk myself into it. I'd prefer scouring the boy's bathroom. (Didn't do that, either.)
So all day yesterday and today I've been thinking–that lesson I have to teach is still coming up–what scriptural basis does the admonition to exercise have, really? Any? I can't find it anywhere–except for that pesky little verse that says "cease to be idle." So I consider implicit scriptural teachings. The life and example of the ancient prophets, of Jesus Christ himself–did they go jogging? Do chin-ups? I paged through the bible on the fly–hmmm. Nothing in there about aerobics, is there? Adam earned his bread by the sweat of his face. Daniel followed some pretty strict dietary codes. Moses did a lot of walking.
Well, they all did a lot of walking. These guys were all over the map working miracles and this in a time before the gasoline engine had become popular. The thing that struck me most was that they all went about doing good.
Can I do that and call it enough? Can I just cease to be idle and be always anxiously engaged in a good cause?
For two days I've paid attention to my activity and idleness levels. I get up shortly before 5. Shower, throw in some laundry, blow dry the hair bent over forward. Spend a few minutes on my knees. Read for twenty minutes to half an hour. I might sit during our morning three-to-five minute devotional with the kids. And then life hits full force as daycare kids start arriving at 6 and it's nonstop until I get the school-aged kids onto the bus and into the van and everyone else fed and happy. This always involves lots of deep knee bends, crawling, lifting, and wrestling–oh, you cannot know wrestling until you've tried to change the diaper or dress a 30 pound infant with limbs of steel and reflexes like lightning.
I spend the next three hours picking up, kneeling, squatting, up and down and lifting babies and mopping messes and cleaning floors and at 11 another rush starts for lunch, and now it is 1:21 and I have been on my feet non-stop for eight and a half hours if you don't count the praying or the diaper changing episodes–which involved wrestling. I have eaten half a cup of oatmeal, an apple, a carrot, a boiled egg and half an english muffin. My feet hurt but I'm not actually tired at this point in the day–as long as I don't sit down. And so I don't. I blog and I do paperwork standing up–the computer chair was a tipping hazard and the keyboard way to tempting at desk height so we got rid of it. Hallelujah. Everyone will start waking up in an hour or so, and I'll be on my feet until after dinner again. I definitely won't want to do any pushups. I'll probably sit through my own dinner, and scripture study and family prayer, but aside from that, well, you know a mother's evening routine. Not much time for idleness, is there?
Honestly, with that verse ringing in my ears "cease to be idle" I admit I have recognized some places to improve–I no longer stand in one spot when I'm on the phone–even if the kids are coloring and happy. I pick up the crayons, etc. but for the most part, I guess I realized that there's already a respectable amount of activity in my life. I eat reasonably well.
So this is a compromise with myself here–but I've come to a decision. If there is any "good" that needs doing–meal prep, wall disinfecting, chair washing, dance partnering with the little girls (you know they always need a partner)–whatever it may be–if there is even one thing I can see needs doing during business hours–6am to 6pm–I will do it with energy–I'll do it like I have a deadline, and I won't cut energy corners. No just bouncing my head in time with the music–I'll be a proper dance partner. That's where I'm going to improve, okay? That's the extent of my physical fitness goals.
Still not sure how to present the lesson, but I think I'm getting closer. I think the key is the idea of "cease to be idle" and "doing good." At any rate, I am officially swearing off my perpetual exercise guilt trip. No more. And maybe just that is a decent goal, no?