Before my triplets were born, I was very fit and active. I didn’t mind a few extra steps and often found ways to get some. We’d purposely pick the parking space at the back of the lot or take the stairs rather than the elevator. We’d always say, “Why not? We are not lazy people.” Well, in the years following the birth of my triplets, I lost that bounce in my step. I started circling the parking lot to find the closest spot. When I’d see someone headed to the row I was in, I’d wait if I suspected that person was a close-parker, too. And the stairs? Are you kidding me? Isn’t that why God made elevators?
A sense of futility had set in. It was a why-bother mindset that didn’t believe I had it in me anymore. I believed I didn’t have time for me. I happily embraced the belief that my life was only for other people’s benefit now, and that, with six kids (three of them infants!) and book deadlines, any time I spent on working out or worrying about what I ate would be selfish.
As the years piled on, the task of getting fit again was too daunting. So, why bother? Slowly, I got slower, ate more garbage, and gave up trying to eat well because it cost more and took more time. I gave up the idea of sticking with a fitness regimen because there was just no time. And whenever I would try, I just felt guilt the whole time–like it was time and money I could be giving to my kids.
If you are stuck in that why-bother mire or feel that spending time on fitness is selfish, it’s time to address those issues once and for all.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12: 6-7
Friend, you matter to God. Your body, and therefore your health and well being, matter to the most high God. You matter more than your schedule, more than your responsibilities, more than your heaping obligations. Those things matter to Him, too, but when He ranks all of that stuff of your life, He lifts YOU far above it as a treasure. YOU are His valued treasure, and He wants you to live like you believe that.
Here are the three main reasons why I believe in no-guilt fitness.
1. As shown above, you are valuable to God, the Creator of the universe. Your health, longevity, vibrancy…it all matters to him. You can have no-guilt fitness because God made your body and He wants you to use it well.
2. It matters to your kids and loved ones whether they realize it or not. One day I had the epiphany that my kids would rather have another year of life with a healthy mama who worked out on Saturday mornings than one who watched an extra hour of Saturday-morning cartoons with them. What if I could be here for them for ten years longer? Or even more? And the quality of those years would be exponentially greater if I were healthy and active. You can have no-guilt fitness because the best physical parenting gift you can give your kids is your health and longevity.
3. The example we are to our family and others around us will have a lasting effect through generations. One of the main reasons I wanted to get a handle on my fitness was that my kids are watching. They are learning about how to be an adult and about what’s important in life from the way I live and the choices I make. What I prioritize, they will prioritize. I decided that I’d rather have them wake up early on a Saturday morning to go for a run or enter a race themselves than to sleep off a carb-hangover until noon. So, imagine how happy I was when I saw this tweet my 18-year-old daughter posted on a Friday night.
She could have been out with friends or laying in bed watching Netflix and eating Twizzlers, but she decided to go to the gym after she got off work at 8pm. I’m so proud of her! You can have no-guilt fitness because the example you are to your kids will make them healthier, too.
The changes I’ve made over the past 18 months have been life-changing for me, my family, and many of my friends. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s so much easier now that I’m not carrying the burden of guilt, too.
So, here I am after ten laps on the 168-stair run at Swallow Cliff, IL. No more running away from the stairs in search of an elevator. Now I run right toward them and use them as part of my no-guilt fitness plan.
What is keeping you from implementing your best no-guilt fitness plan? There’s no better time than right now.