Exercise and Faith – A Lifetime Commitment

faith-exercise

Photo Credit: Ashley Barker/Offset.com

I love to exercise every day, whether it’s a walk outside or practicing yoga in a studio. In the process of making exercise a daily decision, I remembered the story of a lady who attended a class on “Commitment.” She sat in the front row with bon-bons in each hand. The instructor asked what she was committed to and she responded, “I am committed to losing weight.” The instructor looked directly at her and replied, “No, you’re not. You’re committed to the emotional comfort that food brings you.” I was struck by the candid response from the instructor and realized there was no lack of commitment, but rather a lack of direction – for her commitment.

I asked myself where my commitment was directed. I had to have faith in myself to get up and get out, because I simply cannot reap the rewards of someone else’s work out. I live in Utah, where extremes in temperature include cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. The landscape is truly unique with deep and sharp canyons, majestic mountains, high and low valleys, red rock, and delicate wildflowers.

I can always plan on the winter season visiting, and this past November was no exception. However, it was the first time I tried walking outside in winter weather. It has been breathtaking, and sometimes takes my breath away, because it’s so cold. There have been plenty of days when I could have stayed inside and found every excuse not to exercise, but I had to decide where I wanted to direct my commitment – “Daily exercise” or “Every reason not to exercise.” Directing my commitment to “Daily exercise” helped me embrace winter as a truly beautiful season. I never thought I would enjoy walking in winter weather, but I am awed by the gentle snow flurries, and the calculated movements of deer as they glide gracefully across a mountain side or when they walk right in front of me.

If I would have directed my commitment to “Every reason not to exercise,” I would have missed some of the most powerful nights; nights when the earth is crusted with ice and snow, and the clouds in the sky part, revealing perfect stars in perfect constellations and I have to stop, look up, and acknowledge a power greater than myself.

This acknowledgement requires pondering the direction of my commitment to faith, either, “Faith in a power greater than myself” or “Every reason to doubt.” Directing my commitment to “Faith in a power greater than myself,” has been rewarded every day, and every time I am outside – whether it’s a walk through a path of tulips in the spring, a stargazing night in the dead of winter, a hike on a mountain trail during the heat of summer, or a stroll through a canyon to behold the palette of colorful and vibrant leaves – I can look up at the sky and know a great and loving power, bigger than me, is watching over each of us, every day.

fitness, meditation, nature, prayer