Hello, everyone! I hope you are felling awesome today!
When you think of exercise the first thing that may have come to your mind is hard work, sweat, getting fit, muscles or losing weight. All of that is true, but did you think anything spiritually-related to exercise? Maybe, maybe not.
There is a connection between your exercise and your spiritual walk. Even if you consider yourself “not spiritual”, you still are connecting your exercise walk with the spiritual side of things.
On Saturday, April 7, I, along with the lovely Daphne Bell, was given the wonderful opportunity to be one of the guest presenters for the Delta Sigma Theta (Columbus, Ohio Chapter) Spiritual Health and Awareness Fair. Dahpne Bell gave a wonderful presentation!
The event was very good if i must say so myself. I had prepared my lecture..had notes and everything, got up to the podium and low and behold the spirit took me in another direction. Whaatt!? There was a change in plans. But is was all good…
This blog post is a follow up from that event.
I call myself the Fitness Evangelist not because I am skilled in the word of God, but because I am skilled in the area of fitness. I heard that word “evangelist” coined at a Hewlett-Packard technology conference I was attending a few years back – they call their technicians evangelist because they are skilled in the technical area. I liked what I heard so I use it, too! And by using the word “evangelist” in my title I give honor back to God for granting me with the gift. Ok, let’s me move on…
We are both physical and spiritual beings. While the spiritual aspect of our being is, biblically speaking, more important, we are not to neglect neither the spiritual or physical aspects of our health.
The bible has several references of exercise and Paul, for instance, not only compares himself to an athlete, but also gives analogies as it relates to exercise. Paul viewed exercise in a positive manner.
With that being said, I must say there is a direct correlation with your exercise and your spiritual life. Let me know if you agree or not!
This is what comes to mind when I think of exercise and our spiritual walk:
It’s a daily struggle to live “right”-no one is perfect. If you exercise, it is a struggle to exercise and eat right on a daily basis.
Both of these are not easy tasks… not by any means. Can you live sin-free? Can you live exercise-free/unhealthy eating?
The answer to both of those questions should be “no”.
I was joking around with some friends in my studio one day after class and called my studio “church”. After a second or so, we both paused and realized that yes, the studio is pretty much the same as “the church”! What I do is a ministry, and I minister at my studio…people come to the studio to get ministered to thru exercise and yes, even wanting to just talk sometimes. It’s a gathering place of sorts which led me to the similarities described in the table below: Church vs. Exercise
Here is a table of how, in my opinion, the worship experience and exercise experience parallel. Not in any particular order, but I just wanted to describe some of the similarities:
|Praise and worship…setting the atmosphere..music, movement. Group of people.||The warmup..setting the atmosphere…music, movement. Group of people.
|The preacher prepares and studies their weekly lessons/messages for the congregation.||The fitness instructor prepares and studies their daily workout routine for their participants.|
|Pastors have a subject or title for their Sunday morning message.||The fitness instructor has a theme or a title for each workout.|
|Meat of the service/preaching -physical activity begins…victory lap, yelling feedback to the preacher, dancing/shouting, clapping of hands, crying, laughing. Some churches are more energetic than others, but the same concept applies.||Doing the routine – physical activity begins..running, jumping, arms waving, etc, you will also hear feedback from the participants..screams, yells..sighs..”lord, Jesus!” “goodness!” clapping..crying and laughing. Not all classes are the same. Some are lower impact but still have the same impact.
|Closing of the message..announcements||Warmdown/cool down..yeah, there are even announcements in the gym community! or sharing of information
|Benediction/prayer. Fellowship afterwards and talk about the message or talk with friends||End of workout/prayer. Fellowship after and discuss the workout and talk with friends.|
|You don’t leave the same way you came in. You leave feeling revived, refreshed! You come back during the week or the following Sunday for more.||You don’t leave the same way you came in. You leave feeling revived, refreshed! Yeah, you may be wore out, but you come back for more|
Do you see the similarities? When I shared this with my “bestest” friend :), my bff, my brother, Jerry, he put it this way:“There is a significant parallel and benefit to serving God for eternal life…the benefit of exercise is extending, or for longevity of life…If you miss out on either one of them, well…you’re pretty much in bad shape if you think about it!” While we were laughing and joking, this really is true!
Even when not with the fitness instructor or pastor, or not in the actual church or gym setting, you still remain in constant contact and communication with either of them. They are only a phone call or email away providing advice, encouragement or any other type of support you may need.
After reading this, do you agree or disagree that there is a connection between your exercise and your spiritual walk? I like reading your feedback so please leave me a comment of what you think and add any other similarities, too!
Sidney L. West