What Will You Do?
It’s not always what you know. It’s what you do with what you know.
As a new wife and step-mom, I’m learning a lot about exactly how needed I am, which makes me feel special yet exhausted. “Babe, we’re out of sweet potatoes.” “Becky, will you read with me?” “Can you throw my laundry in the dryer?” “Can you open this?” All of this is happening at the same time; plus, I need to start grading the stack of homework I brought home with me and do the chores on my weekly cleaning list. I mean, ladies, we’ve all been there: pulled in so many directions and just plain stressed. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, and I know you love yours too, but sometimes, I’m just plain stressed.
I’m here to tell you there is a solution. And really, we all know it.
FACT! Working out can actually destress your life. AND – you already know this. As your heart starts pumping, certain hormones (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc.) increase, which leads to a swift change of mood and a decrease in stress. All you have to is google “how does exercise make you happy,” and you’ll see there are 156,000,000 results for you to peruse during your leisure time.
I know what you’re thinking: “How am I supposed to add an hour to my already busy day?” It may not seem possible, but it is. It may mean a shift in your priorities, but I promise it’s worth it.
As women, wives, moms, sisters, and friends, every now and then, we need to put ourselves first. We need to take care of our physical, emotional, and mental health so that we can meet the needs of everyone else who tugs on our shirt or whispers in our ear. How much more capable will we be for them once we’ve taken care of ourselves?
As with most things in my life, when I want confirmation about something, I open my Bible and starting trying to find God’s advice. After all, His word is His love letter to me (and you), and everything I need to hear is waiting to be read.
Because I know Proverbs is a book of wisdom, I decided to study it thoroughly and write down any and all evidence that might be confirmation that women (and men) should get their bodies moving and that this would have a positive impact on our ability to serve others.
Here’s what I found:
1) Proverbs 10:4 “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Lazy means being disinclined to work, activity, or exertion. Diligent means pursued with persevering attention. How much more available would we be for others if we pursued our health with persevering attention rather than a disinclination to work? AND if God made the world and everything in it (ME), then he made my body. That means that God made the chemistry in my body, too, which means he made the serotonin and other amazing hormones that can refresh my mood. He is soooo good!
2) Proverbs 14:23 – “All hard work brings a profit, but more talk leads only to poverty.” Working hard will bring more benefits than just stress relief. Renewed confidence and a positive self-image are the most valued benefits I have received since I started exercising. I urge you not to just “talk” about going to the gym. Only talking about it won’t do anything for you.
3) Proverbs 17:22 – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” How much happier would our households be if we brought a cheerful response to every need? Now I know perfection is impossible, which is why I’m so thankful for the grace my husband has for me, but if we know exercise will make us happy, then why don’t we do it? I don’t want my bones to dry up. I’m sure you don’t want yours to either, right?
4) Proverbs 19:15 – “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.” I don’t want to be in a deep sleep. I want to play with my kids and keep up with their every move. I don’t want to go hungry because I’m unwilling to shift or change. Change isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it.
5) Proverbs 22:6 – “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Finally, and maybe most importantly, don’t we want to teach our children to have a healthy self-image? How better to show them the importance of health than by modeling it in our own lives?
Finally – Proverbs ends with an amazing picture of a wife of noble character: a woman who is an excellent wife and mother, manager, farmer, seamstress, merchant, and realtor, just to name a few. This book ends with a picture of a woman who seems to be able to do it all. While this may seem impossible, I’m willing to bet that if we could carve out thirty minutes in our daily (yes, daily) schedules to dedicate to our own fitness, then we’d be more able to meet the needs of everyone else and feel less stressed, less anxious, and more able to love.
So again, I say to you: It’s not always what you know. It’s what you do with what you know.
What will you do?