Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Michelle Obama Arms

A few weeks ago, I arrived early for a 6:30 p.m. exercise class. The class that began at 5:30, Sports Circuit, was still in session. Each member of the class, covered in sweat, was lying on their blue mats, curling their bodies as their abs grew stronger by the minute. I watched several members of the class, each appearing to have a different level of physical fitness, and then I watched the instructor. The vocation of the instructor was written all over her body. Her body was one of the most defined I have ever seen. You could tell just by looking at her that she was a physical fitness buff. Her arms had lines in them. Her legs showed each muscle. Her body was lean and fit. I kept watching her, coveting that body as I watched.
I do the same thing with Michelle Obama. I cannot see the First Lady on television without admiring her arms. You can tell by looking at the First Lady that she lifts weights - that she cares for the body she has been given.
And I keep asking myself a question. What does my body say about me?
In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
If you look at my body, it does not look much like a temple of the Holy Spirit. Rather, it appears as though I have done a lot of what I want to do. I have consumed more sweets than vegetables. I have sat on the sofa with my husband more than I have gone to the gym. I have worked longer hours than really necessary. I have allowed the busyness of the church and life to take over. I have failed to exercise discipline. While my arms were on their way to looking like Michelle Obama's arms in the weeks leading to our wedding, those days have past. Eighteen months have gone by and some 30 pounds have been added since I walked down the aisle.
But my body, this body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And, I would like to think that this body can keep going for a long time. I would like to think that people can see my vocation - not just when wearing a white alb on Sundays but through the life that I live. And, it's time to start treating this body a bit differently. It's time to treat it as a temple - giving it my very best instead of what is left over at the end of the day.
And so, my Lenten Discipline is to do just this. My Lenten journey will be focused on cultivating the practices that lead to embodying the Holy Spirit. During these 40 days of journeying in the wilderness, I intend to let go of what I have grown to love in order to become more like the person Christ is calling me to be.
My goals for this Lent are: t0 spend at least 30 minutes in scripture reading and praying each day, to go to the gym at least 4 times a week for one hour and exercise a minimum of 30 minutes at home on the other days, to reduce my sugar intake and stay within my allotted points for any given day, to not work on Fridays - but to save them for the purpose of Sabbath, and to reserve Saturdays for Craig.
The 40 days have begun. I am excited about my journey. My arms might not look like Michelle Obama's by the end of it all, but I hope to be more fit - more fit for the calling placed upon my life, more ready to provide a place for the Holy Spirit to dwell.
What about you? Where are you journeying during this season of Lent?


Lisa said...

Thanks, Donna, for these words. Hope you have a great Lenten journey!

Anonymous said...

May the Holy Spirit enjoy residing in our bodies during Lent! WW Points for me, too. And a promise of a large donation to Episcopal Relief and Development if I and my two sisters in Christ lose lots of the unholy poundage by Easter. Enjoy your journey!

myinfertilitywoes said...
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cheryl said...

Sounds like it will be quite a Lenten journey.

I'm giving up all things chocolate as I have since I was 18, thinking about God when I really want chocolate...

Your email to the church group this week had me thinking about what to 'take on' though and I'm compelled by trying to do some of these:
- Get into the practice of a daily devotion
- Do one random act of kindness a day
- Write a card every day, or every other

I already started last night (I know, not supposed to 'brag') but felt so good to buy the guy a smoothie last night who only had an AmEx and couldn't pay for it. Told him to pay it forward. :)

Audrey said...

Thanks for your honesty and encouragement! Some of my Lenten practices are focused in some of the same areas as yours! I pray for good habits to be created in us both this season!