Shortly after having our second child, 18 months after having our first child, I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office with tears in my eyes. I was there for a basic yearly physical, but I knew something needed to change in my life. I was feeling overly emotional, depressed and drained, but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly was wrong with me. As my doctor asked me how I was feeling physically, I answered— “I’m an emotional mess and I have no idea why. I feel sad often and I have no energy or desire to do much of anything.”
Looking back, what’s awesome about this doctor is that he wasn’t quick to prescribe antidepressants, instead, we talked about options. We talked about the reality of the situation…I was tired because I had two babies under two and I needed more sleep. I was hormonal because that’s what comes with birthing babies. I was on a low because of these two factors, as well as postpartum baby blues.
His next question would take me by surprise and humor me,
“Do you exercise?”
“Ok, did this man not just hear my situation? I’m sleep deprived. Why in the world is he asking me this insane question?”, I thought.
Thankfully, I kept my immediate thoughts unspoken. He continued to tell me some of the benefits that come with exercising just 30 minutes a day. I eventually found more benefits to add to the list–
The next morning I dreadfully put on my tennis shoes, placed my two littles in a double stroller and went for a walk outside. Over time, that walk turned into a partial walk and partial run. I then started to look for ways I could jog alone as my “me time”, and to my surprise, I did begin to improve over time.
Let me also say that I am by no means that girl who is on the anti-medication trail. I believe medication is completely necessary for some and there’s absolutely no shame in that. For me, thankfully, exercise was and still is the medicine that keeps me healthy. To this day, if I get out of the habit of exercise, the struggle begins.
In some of the darkest seasons of life, it wasn’t soley the scripture I memorized and quoted, it wasn’t the diet restrictions I stuck with that helped me overcome. It was and still is when I add to that by putting my tennis shoes on and forcing myself to be active.
I love to run, but I don’t just run, I listen to worship, I’m alone with my thoughts, I listen and talk to God, and mainly— I regain God’s perspective instead of being consumed by the immediate.
This time of year, most of us have a renewed sense of inspiration to modify our lifestyle to bring about a sense of fulfillment–to live as we are designed to by the Father above.
The things is, being completely healthy includes both physical and spiritual aspects.
I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
3 John 1:2
In this scripture, John is praying that Gaius’ physical health would match his spiritual health. Our God is concerned for both our physical health and our spiritual well being, otherwise I don’t think John would have prayed this prayer for Gaius.
Our overall health is important to the Lord.
Being the list maker that I am, I tend to make long lists for everything, and there’s no exception when it comes to the lifestyle changes I’d like to make within the following year. Over time though, I realized that if I made exercise the priority on my list, then the energy and motivation to accomplish the goals on the rest of the list came naturally.
Consider adding “wear tennis shoes more often” to the top of the list for next year. Maybe, just maybe, once you’re wearing them you may feel more inspired to do something active in them. And maybe after being active, the other goals on the list end up getting checked off in the process.