Monday, October 29, 2012

What I Learned About my Body

When I started to gain weight around almost 5 years ago now, it never occurred to me that it also meant gaining more pain in my whole body. The weight slowly crept up, and then the pain started creeping in. My back, shoulders, hips, legs, and feet were all hurting most of the time. I had developed plantar fasciitis, which can happen to anyone, but is more common about bigger people and those that have gained a large amount of weight. It hurt to do ANYTHING. I could not go walk around the zoo with my kids for a few hours before my hips hurt so bad, I thought I would double over.

I wish I knew then what I know now…. In that, when I first started working out, it hurt. It was embarrassing, because my body would not do the things I was telling it to at first. I am pretty sure I looked like an idiot, because my muscles were not trained to respond to my requests. This is why many people try things once or twice, then give up because they are not “getting it.” The truth is, you have to give your body time to “get it.” We have to train our bodies to respond to what our brains are telling it to do, and that only comes with practice.

I also wish I knew that once I got past the first two months, working out started feeling so much better than sitting on my behind all day. The more I hurt, the more I sat, the more I sat, the more I hurt. It was this awful cycle of pain that nothing ever helped. Now that I work out 4-5 times a week, something as much as 6 days a week, my body feels great. I am sore from working out, but that kind of sore feels great. If something hurts, I realize it quickly and take measures to help that pain. If there is anything I would like to convince those with chronic pain of, it’s that working out will not make it worse. It can only make it better. The more we work those muscles, stretch, and build them, the better we feel. It is just fact.

When I work out, I feel good about myself and my body. When I don’t work out, I feel like a slug or a busted can of biscuits. The harder I work, the better I feel.
So, stop making excuses, and learn to like exercise. And your goal should not be to get skinny; your goal should be to feel good about yourself and your body. It is all about feeling strong, flexible, and able to do anything we tell our bodies to do. It is all about living life free of pain. 

I am incredibly motivated by group exercise classes. My personal favorites are Zumba, Zumba toning, and Yoga/Pilates. I lift weights to burn fat and keep bone density, because these things are important for women to do. Many fitness clubs carry group classes and many even have childcare! Wow Fitness here in Lebanon is wonderful and there are some awesome teachers there by the names of Tamara and Amber. Just find what you love, and do it! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We Think We Have Come So Far...

We think we have come so far.

After watching the PBS documentary, Half the Sky, which is also a book by Nicholas Kristoff  and Sheryl Wudunn, I keep thinking and praying about how I can help. The story goes something like this:

Women and girls worldwide are the highest number of people who are discriminated against on a daily basis because of their gender. During the first half of the PBS documentary, Sheryl Wudunn states that over the last century, more women and girls have died because of gender specific violence than every person who has died in every war over the same period of time. And yet no one talks about it. People are not aware that more children are aborted because they are female, than for any other single reason worldwide.

In America, we think that we have come so far from these problems. We think that through the liberation of women in the 60’s and 70’s, we have walked away from this problem, but we are living in a dream world. The world outside our own doors matters, because these women and girls matter to God. Christ repeatedly tells us to protect the weak, serve the poor, and plead the case of those who are too weak to stand up for themselves. And I am calling each one of us to stand up.
Sex trafficking, rape, gendercide, and female genital mutilation are not problems that are going to go away by simply policing men to behave. These problems lesson through education. The organization, The Girl Effect, is a movement that was organized to educate young girls and teach them that they can make better choices and life decisions. In Half the Sky and at The Girl Effect’s website, it talks about how when a boy is educated, the money he earns is often spend on himself. He spends it on alcohol, prostitutes, or whatever strikes his fancy each day. But when a girl is educated, makes good money at a well-paid job or career, she spends that money educating her children, feeding and clothing them, and giving them a better life. When we educate a girl, we are educating her children. And it keeps going from generation to generation.

As a mother of four boys, one might ask why I care. My boys will one day be husbands and fathers. My boys will one day have the physical strength to be violent toward women, and I am set on teaching them differently. I plan to teach my boys to value women by holding themselves accountable in the attitudes toward women. Women are not put on this earth to pleasure men; they are put on this earth to serve and love God, and walk a life of Holiness that only the Lord can give. I am going to teach my sons that all people, regardless of gender/race/sexual orientation/religious preference/or any other matter are God’s people, first and foremost, that the Lord loves and cares for deeply. What we do for the least of these, we do for the Father.

Educating people about this issue is the most important step we can take in raising awareness and helping others see the need for change. Men and women need to step up and say that treating anyone this way is wrong, and step in the gap for those who cannot speak for themselves.
I have often wondered that, over the centuries, the most popular scapegoat and person that take the brunt of all violence, is women and children. How can we stop this cycle and learn to protect them?

The Girl Effect’s Website:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I go to church.

I go to church. I like church. I really enjoy the people there, even if I may not get along with them all the time. It’s okay. Why? Because I do not walk away from my blood relations every time we disagree. I have argued and disagreed with my family over the years, but they are still my family. I love them regardless of whether or not we see eye to eye on things all of the time.
Some things are hard to do… some things, even though they are hard, are worth it. God tells us to live in community with the fellowship of believers (read the book of Acts if you don’t believe me). Yet, many times Christians forego going to Church because it can be hard. They seek to find a church that meets their needs, their family’s needs, or has a certain style of worship. But are any of these a good reason? What is the best reason for going to church?

My answer, although it will not be a popular one, is obedience. As adults, we expect our children to obey us, but we like to think we make our own choices. We have to show respect and work hard at our jobs, but when it comes to our personal lives we answer to no one but ourselves and maybe our spouses. We like to think we can make decisions independently of all outside influence, and it does not really matter if anyone disagrees with us, we do not really care.
But what if we should go to church, because doing so is being obedient to the one who created us? 

What if, as adults, God is asking us to be obedient, because the Lord knows what is best for us? Just as Jesus said in Luke 18:17, we must receive the Kingdom of God with the faith of a child. As parents, we know how important direct obedience from our children is. It is not because we like to hold our authority over them, but because we know what is best for them. WE know what keeps them safe, happy, and healthy. It is the same for God. The Lord knows where bad choices will take us, how they will distance us from relationship with Him, and how broken we can be in the end.

It is not easy to obey. It is not easy to be faithful in the midst of our misunderstandings, but God is asking us to do just that. If we are truly worshipping the God of the Bible, it comes with direct obedience to His will.