After P.E. we were hanging out in the gymnasium weight room waiting for our teacher to arrive. The fourth grade boys were taking turns on the leg press trying to impress one another as we girls watched half-heartedly and chatted among ourselves. I had never tried the leg press, but knew intuitively that I could make a dent in it with my then rock-hard thighs.
In preparation for ice-skating competition during those years, every morning before school I skated patch from 5:30 till 7:30am and then every afternoon my routine and jumps from 3:30 till 5:30pm. That’s not to mention all day Saturdays and sometimes half-days Sundays.
Anyway, in curiosity I discreetly slipped on to the leg press after the boys had finished their bravado competition on it and were huddled around the punching bag taking turns giving it a good beating. Much to my astonishment, I easily increased the weight slowly upward of one-hundred pounds then upward of two-hundred pounds. Trying not to clank the weights and draw attention to myself, I just had to know how much I could press. Straining with all my might, I finally topped out at two-hundred sixty pounds.
Now this may sound unbelievable for a normal-sized nine year-old girl, and it’s okay if you don’t believe me, but I promise it’s true. The boys finally took notice of my feat, freaked out in amazement and gathered around me. Two of them ran off to the coach’s office down the hall and pulled him in to the weight room for me to prove their claim. The two-hundred sixty pound press was much harder the second time, but I did it. Coach said nothing, just checked the weights twice and stared at me bug-eyed and shaking his head, with me feeling a bit like a freak.
All this to say that physical exercise is super. And although my thighs are no longer rock hard, I do recommend exercise in moderation, keeping in mind that the diet to exercise ratio is 80 to 20. However, even more beneficial than physical exercise is spiritual exercise!
Sometimes we spend our whole lives using one little muscle in the way we think, feel, move and have our being. We live like sheep without a shepherd reacting to others and to circumstances, repeating what we saw as children or following the cultural crowd.
If I had never developed my leg muscles by skating, I might had been familiar only with the strength of my legs in walking because walking would have been the only exercise I had ever done.
I feel sad knowing that many of us live our whole lives never realizing that there is a monstrous spiritual muscle, called the Holy Spirit, within us that can affect everything. This muscle we may have never exercised by faith because we may have never known or believed that it existed within us. Once discovered and developed though, this faith muscle moves mountains. The problem is that we are so used to lifting push-pins that we can’t imagine such strength could be ours.
1 Timothy 4:8
for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.