As I get a little older, I realize more and more that I’m not going to be young forever. Of course, I am only 27 years old and can still do many of the things that I’ve always done. However, there are small changes that I notice…not being able to bounce back as easily after a night of little sleep, back and shoulder aches after working a little harder than usual, etc.

For one of my summer classes, we are reading through a book called, Mastering Self-Leadership by Neck and Manz. And although I’m not a fan of it, the chapter on being physically healthy was a good reminder for me.

Typically I enjoy working out- but only at a gym by myself or running with Jake outdoors. However, as of late, my gym membership expired, so I haven’t done much besides the everyday chasing Aly/Asante and the heavy lifting required to tote them around :). I was reflecting on this, and decided it’s no big deal– that once I get to the seminary, I’ll be able to work out in the gym they have there and that’ll be fine. And then I realized what HUGE strides I have made in this area of my life.

In high school I struggled with anorexia and also excessive exercise. If I didn’t exercise every single day, I would have major guilt and anxiety. My days were literally planned around exercise. It was such a burden. In college, I did not struggle with anorexia and eating disordered thoughts as much, especially after my freshmen year, but my felt need to exercise was still significant. I felt like I needed to go to the gym 5-6 days a week and if I didn’t, I would feel bad about it. I liked having a work-out schedule, but I wasn’t a slave to it like in high school.

Post college I have typically had a gym membership or tried to get outdoors to walk a few days a week at least. There have been seasons when I haven’t been able to do so (weather, busyness, etc.) and it hasn’t really bothered me. I acknowledge the uniqueness of the season and make a plan in my head to start working out again after _______ when it’d be feasible for me to do so again. I feel real freedom from the slavery to exercise that I once felt. Instead of being a burden, it’s a stress-relief!

And it’s really quite a work of the Lord that I have this freedom. Many eating disorder specialists say that a person can never be fully recovered. I, however, have found true freedom and recovery, and I’m so thankful for that. It’s funny because I can’t put my finger on when it happened exactly, but it was just a gradual working of the Lord in my life.

So, on this independence day, because I’m not particularly patriotic (although thankful for the freedoms that I have in this country), I want to highlight my freedom from that pattern of destructive thoughts and behaviors. Praise be to God!

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