Every summer, right after school gets out, we head down to the beach for our summer break. During one recent trip, I was driving into town early one morning to pick up a few things for breakfast. The drive is about four miles long with a sidewalk that runs along one side of the road. As I drove, I couldn’t help but notice the numerous people that were out jogging and biking. What caught my attention was the fact that all these people were out working so hard so early in the morning. I would have thought that most people would have been sleeping in instead of sweating their butts off. Isn’t a beach trip supposed to be a vacation from a busy life?…
My observation nagged at me as I drove back to the condo. On the one hand, staying physically fit is clearly a good thing. On the other, it seemed to me that society’s demands for physical perfection were driving these people to work so hard at it, even when they were supposed to be relaxing. It just seemed out-of-whack.
While it is certainly important to work on our physical fitness, it is even more important to work on our spiritual fitness. For all I know, all those people I saw exercising could have been working just as hard on their spiritual lives. Just look around the checkout aisle at the grocery store and you will see a majority of the magazines covered with pictures of very fit and attractive people surrounded by headlines touting how to get the perfect “beach body.” So many people get sucked into the lie that what matters most is their physical appearance. My bet is that this was what was motivating most of the people I saw on my drive.
Here is a good rule of thumb: For every minute you spend each day on your physical fitness, spend at least that much time on your spiritual fitness. This time can include prayer, reading scripture or spiritual literature, daily mass, adoration, or any other activity where you are focusing on God and not on yourself. It will surely pay dividends of clearer understanding of God’s plan for you, better decision-making, less stress, and more peace. Give it a shot!
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. – Proverbs 11:1