Living in Extreme’s

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I woke up today with a scratchy throat. No severe pain but the kind that makes you say, “Oh dear. Am I getting sick??!” This awareness resulted in a little conversation in my head about the wisdom of sleeping longer vs. going to the gym. Sleep won out today. However, the internal dialogue went on longer than you might imagine because the truth is I have fear. Fear of not being a faithful exerciser if I miss a scheduled morning. My fear is based on years of evidence that supports it. In the past, I tended to start strong- sort of a boot camp mentality. Than after 2 weeks, or maybe three, some obstacle would present itself and completely derail all my progress. Until guilt, or the inability to fit into my pants, would prompt me to begin the cycle all over again. All or nothing- never worked for me, always worked against me.

Currently I am approaching my entire goal of faithful exercise from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on some specific number on a scale or size I want to be, or even how many times a week I made it to the gym, I am focusing on being grateful for the healthy body God has blessed me with and from that gratitude, I am responding with steps to be a good steward of this body. Exercise being one such step. Rest, healthy eating (we aren’t discussing that one till January!) and taking vitamins are also part of the overall plan. In the past I was simply too extreme. I am attempting to be more balanced and kinder to myself so that on a day when I wake up with a scratchy throat, I can choose to not work out with no guilt or fear.

I’ve noticed with my women friends, there is a strong tendency to live in one extreme or the other:

Have a picture perfect home, or let it be trashed in despair. 

Look perfectly “fixed” all the time, or never get out of sweat pants and baggy T-shirts. 

Have a quiet time every day, or go months without reading God’s Word. 

We swing back and forth like pendulums, reacting to one extreme by going to the other. In my life, I have found I “swing” more when my motives are trying to impress others or prove my worth. Am I keeping my home clean and organized to be thought of as “so together” by my friends or so that my family is blessed by having a comfortable and inviting place to retreat from the world and rest? Because if it’s the latter, it won’t matter if the house looks ready for a photo shoot at all times and I won’t feel like a failure if the floors aren’t vacuumed or there are dishes in the sink. This applies to every area we tend to be extreme in. Examining our hearts and motives can reveal that we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason, which will never yield a peace and joy-filled life.

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