In Shape to Run the Race
I heard a Bayer aspirin commercial the other day. It said,
“You always took care of your children, now it’s time to take care of yourself.”
The woman in the ad was one of us, a member of the boomer generation, likely an empty nester. And Bayer is right. It is time to take care of ourselves so that we have healthy bodies and lives to give for the next adventure God has for us.
When I was raising our six, I did no exercise other than running after toddlers and pre-schoolers. I didn’t have the time and besides, I hated exercise. By the time I was 40 my body was telling me it was wearing down. I had developed fibromyalgia, my allergies were out of control which resulted in poor lung function, recurring bouts of sinus infections, and I was tired all the time. In addition I had a congenital heart condition that required correction. It was also a decade of significant transition with our oldest three going to college and our first wedding. My emotional and physical stress was at an all-time high.
Deciding to get serious about my health was not easy. Who likes giving up their favorite things to eat? Frankly, I was angry at times that I had to deal with all this stuff. It was so inconvenient. But as is true so often for many of us, I was backed into a corner and had the choice to get tough with myself and pursue better health or continue the physical downhill slide.
By the beginning of my 50s I’d had two surgeries, was walking for exercise 3-4 times a week, and was on a fairly strict diet with weekly allergy injections and inhalers to control the asthma. Then I hit menopause and that journey began. I was already in a much better to place to handle that one physical issue rather than adding it to another four or five.
The point of all this is to say I have learned how important it is for us women to be responsible caretakers of the bodies we’ve been given. No one else can do it for us. I want to be all I can be for the kingdom. I want my life to count to my very last breath. I don’t want to be sidelined because I am too tired to care, too sick to be available or too depressed over my lessening physical capacities to be of any good to anyone. I want to be able to run with my grandson who always wants me to play football with him. I want to be able to hike or go camping with our adult children’s families. And just as important to me is the desire for my body, the temple, the residence of the Almighty God to be at maximum capacity for Him.