Category Archives: Exercise

Personal Trainer

Accepting Jesus Christ as your Personal Trainer

Of course He’s the Saviour of the world, but lately this little analogy keeps popping up in my mind when we’re in Sabbath School, Bible study, or just a discussion. It takes it a step beyond just the fact of being rescued from eternal nonexistence. It’s truly letting Jesus into your life.

I think of the Christian Life as gym membership. You accept the free membership, and you come in regularly for training, in whatever fashion you choose. Whether you are into the holy treadmills, the evangelistic ellipticals or the sanctifying stationary bikes. You get free personal training sessions with the One and Only Jesus Christ and he pumps you up into shape for all that life throws at you outside the gym doors. Training is not exactlty always fun, but yields myriad benefits. A relationship is built, body and soul, with your Trainer.

Though, sadly, some might just tote around their gym membership card, showing it to people, wearing it around their neck as a good luck charm, or keeping it in their wallet for them to view if they need to convince themselves they aren’t completely bad people. Maybe they’ll even intend to go sometime, but they just don’t feel like it. And that’ll be as far as the membership will go. They may only stop into the health club about once or twice. Their lives won’t reap the benefits of training, and neither will they tap into the truly Saving relationship with the Trainer.

Some might periodically visit the gym, but just stick to the holy treadmills and not show up for their free training sessions. Their physique may not appear gluttonous or swollen with sinfulness, due to their relationship with the treadmill, but their spiritual muscles are hardly flexed as the relationship that really counts is the one with the Trainer, not the treadmill.

And some others might be excited about getting their gym membership and get right onto the exercise equipment, and have every intention of scheduling a session with the Trainer. However, they get caught up in a program they set up themselves, or they become so busy that they neglect to make time for the gym.

Usually I’m not into somewhat cheesy analogies, but this one has come into conversation at least three times in the last month so I thought I would write it down. The last time it popped into mind was when our Bible study group was discussing the Laodicean state. The Laos could fit into any one of those sad categories, though mostly in the first and last. I suppose Ephesus mostly occupies the middle category. Each way, these are missing the point that it is the relationship that saves.

“You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” Rev. 2: 3-4

“You say, ‘I am rich’…but you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Rev 3:17

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Filed under Daily Normalcy, Exercise, Health, general, Spiritual Application, State of the world, the Bible

Child of Rhythm: Of high tides, snare drums and puzzle pieces

A stream of consciousness from today:

On my way home from work, an advertisement on the radio had crashing waves as a sound effect for advertising a summer getaway travel package that you could book from a local travel agent. Though the commercials were soon over and there was a song playing, the sound of crashing waves kept going through my head. It had triggered a memory.

When I was a kid, my family took a few trips to Hawaii since my grandparents had a timeshare. For the latest trip, I was in high school and was concerned more about getting a good tan than I was about many of the touristy activities we were going to do. But on a Sabbath morning, when we went down to the beach for a bit,  I decided to make my towel-dwelling, ray-soaking self a bit more productive than just absorbing sunlight. I had a good 20 minute prayer (and for an attention-deficit high-schooler, that was pretty good). I remember praying for God to make my hair not frizz so much, and other silly things, but it turned into a rather profound conversation with my Creator. And the crashing waves and soft breeze just made it all the more meaningful and memorable.

I remember talking to God about how I thought it was cool that he put rhythm into everything. Right before I prayed, I counted the seconds between wave crashes. I started moving my toes to the “beat” that the waves were creating. I remember the timing between the waves slowly getting longer and longer as the shoreline moved with the tide. I started singing songs in my head along with the waves. And I remember thinking that God knew what he was doing when he put in me the desire to be a musician and a dancer, and an appreciator of nature.

Pulling from the theme of the previous blog, I really like how God finds really clever ways to remind us that we are who we are for a reason. That I can take comfort and joy in the simple fact that I am me. Even with all the silly things that I almost hate about myself, I would never give them up if it meant my identity would change. The fact that I cry at most movies, that I laugh a bit too loud, that I sometimes speak out of turn, that sometimes I like people a little too much that I overwhelm them; all those things have been annoyances to me in my life, and yet when I think about what I would be without them, I slowly begin to embrace them. And when I still get a little bit down about the things that aren’t ideal about myself, God reminds me of crashing waves, tapping toes, and warm sunlight, and the acceptance of who I am and what I am moved to do.

Predominantly, I’ve found that most of my life revolves around people and/or rhythm. I’m very shy and introverted, but I love connecting with people and each person I meet immediately becomes meaningful to me. I remember names and faces very well, and my biggest social fault lies on the end of the spectrum that makes me appear nosy. On the rhythm side, I’m always tapping on something, always finding connections in the sounds around me. I remember in 8th grade, my science teacher called me a “child of rhythm” after the end-of-the-year band concert, when I had my first solo snare drum sequence. I find that when NPR plays classical music over the lunch hour, I seem to want to drive faster during heavy snare drum and crash cymbal choruses. Sometimes I think I should have been a choir or band conductor because those movements are just so natural to me (but I’m too afraid of being in front of a lot of people). And there is no morning pick-me-up like my 5:45am jazzercise class, the only exercise routine I have been able to stick with for over a year.

Back on the relational end, I also think of myself in terms of my relationship to my husband. He is all verbal (he is an English teacher, so I guess that comes with the territory), and I am all nonverbal. The messages we receive from each other or people around us vary so much when we both tell our side of things. But once we figured out how each other worked, it’s amazingly perfect the way we complement each other.

Life is a big jigsaw puzzle and we are all shaped differently, and we all fit together differently. (even more on this topic later). I have come to like the shape of my puzzle piece, and the way it fits with others. Thank you, God, for opening the puzzle box, shaking it up, and letting each piece discover where they fit.

(Random though these thoughts are, pieces of these concepts float to my consciousness just about daily. Maybe it is God reminding me that “I am who I am” (go Popeye!) and that I better be true to myself.)

“All together now—applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to the rhythms of his praise.” (Psalm 66:1, The Message Bible)

“… May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors” ( Kings 8:56, The Message Bible)

“…The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn and maintains the rhythm of the seasons, Who sets aside time each year for harvest and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’…(Jeremiah 5:20, The Message Bible)

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Filed under Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Exercise, Health, general, Music, Spiritual Application, Stress, the Bible

Comin’ Back Around Again…

And not in a good way.

I had the Bible on my desk open to Ecclesiastes 4. I decided to read the first bit while adding the ever-important brown sugar to my oatmeal.

“Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:

I saw the tears of the oppressed—

and they have no comforter;

power was on the side of their oppressors—

and they have no comforter….”

“…And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind….”

For a moment I thought Solomon had time traveled to last week and watched the 10 o clock news.

I am embarrassed at my haphazard following of the news. I listen to NPR on the way to work (so about 10 minutes worth) and occasionally read a Yahoo! News story from my homepage. I listen to random commentary from people who care. I get bits and pieces of what is really happening, so I can’t say that I have the most accurate picture of our world, our national economy, or our political situation. But you don’t have to be on top of every broadcast to gather that things are pretty terrible right now. Things aren’t fair. People’s lives are falling apart because of lost jobs or homes. People in other countries (as well as our own) are oppressed and being robbed of their freedom. Being told what to do, how to live, and risking deprivation if they choose otherwise.

I remember seeing a play during our office retreat last July in Boulder, CO: The Will Rogers Folly. It told the story of Will Rogers, and his ups and downs and career, right up until his tragic plane-crash death. Though the story of Will Rogers himself was interesting, the part that still sticks with me today was the quote of a radio broadcast he gave during the depression.

“The same amount of money exists even in this depression….the only the different is who’s pocket it’s in.” …. “There are thousands starving in the midst of full storehouses.”

He went on to explain more details, in that comical way of his, but that is the part I remember most. In fact, I think I cried right there in the theater. Simply because that is just such a sad thought. And I knew that we were right back in that same position these days.

“Oh Amy, we can’t sit and cry about every sad picture of humanity. Then we’d always be sobbing.” (The person I am quoting will remain nameless. This comment was not meant to be biting, but helpful)

The only way I can take in that piece of advice is by adding this. No, we can’t just sit and cry about how terrible things are. We have to take action. We have to find something to do about it, even if it’s something seemingly small. And we still have to feel the sorrow of things that aren’t right. (I hope the day never comes where I don’t cry for the sad state of things)

Sometimes I can’t help but weep just a bit when I am reminded about how utterly backwards and illogical most of the world has become, the obvious reasons why things are so bad, and that we haven’t even progressed from Solomon’s time of grievous observations. I guess Jesus sure was right when he said that “you will always have the poor with you” …

Thankfully I can also read something like this:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

In the meantime, though, I better get moving. Lots of toil to be done under the sun.

For anyone interested in some good reading about Will Rogers, I like this site: http://www.compedit.com/will_rogers.htm

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Filed under Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Exercise, Spiritual Application, Stress, the Bible, Time management, Uncategorized

Almost Famous

It was a nice little surprise to see our name in US News and World Report:

http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/baby-boomer-health/2009/02/20/10-health-habits-that-will-help-you-live-to-100.html?PageNr=2

Check out number 8.

Health is such a big topic right now. I myself am a subscriber to three health related magazines (Self, Fitness, and Natural Health. Though I might cancel Self or Fitness, because they are basically clones of each other and I only need one…) and it’s amazing how many different spins can be thrown on the same topic: diet and exercise. “Eat this….not that” or “Eat lots of Blueberries!” or “Remember the Artichokes!” Ya know what they are all basically saying? Eat a balanced diet and exercise daily. Granted it’s nice to be able to see different ideas for crafting your own diet and exercise plan that works for your life, but the simple tool for health has not changed. If we eat enough fruits and vegetables, articles won’t be needed to remind us that blueberries have antioxidants and that artichokes have beneficial phytochemicals (as do a lot of fruits and vegetables…) because we’ll already be including them, or similar items, in our meals plans already.

It’s nice to know that Adventists are still recognized as concerned with holistic, healthful living. Though diet and exercise is a HUGE part of health, we realize that spiritual connection with our Creator, time management, healthy relationships and time to relax are also key to being a whole, healthy person. Let’s make sure we keep that up, since in this health-crazed trend, people will be watching us. On that note, I think I will have a banana and take a five minute break.

Antioxidants to all, and to all a good day!

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Filed under Challenge, Exercise, Health food, Health, general, Spiritual Application, Time management