How Fitness Is a Spiritual Practice

The choices that you make have an impact far beyond yourself.

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- Posted on Jun 2, 2020

A woman doing pilates.

They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Colossians 2:19 (NIV)

On days when I'm able, I use online Pilates classes to stretch and strengthen my muscles. One of the important themes in Pilates is the way each part of the body is connected to the rest. If my hip is torqued, my back can’t work properly. If my back hyperextends, my legs aren’t as free to move in their sockets. The alignment of each part of the body is important, and even if I’m working on a movement that only uses my feet and ankles, I try to be aware of the placement of my head, neck, shoulders, ribs, etc.

We’re all familiar with the image of the Christian community as the “body of Christ.” Yet it’s easy for me to forget that my actions affect the rest of the body. When I grumble or complain, the person hearing it is affected—just as my neck is affected if I strain my shoulders. When I gossip, I send misalignment through the entire body, harming loving connections. If I give in to worry, it’s as if I’m moving without remembering to breathe and others in the body may suffer from that lack of oxygen.

This morning as I exercised, I was sobered by the realization of how the choices I make have impact beyond myself. At the same time, I took comfort in knowing Jesus is the head. When my head turns to the left, my body naturally moves that way. When I look up, my body uncurls and lifts. Together, as we follow His lead, we can form a body that angles upward in worship and moves outward in service.

Faith Step: Exercise today and notice how the parts of the body work together. Ask Jesus for ways to work well with other parts of His body today.

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