I spend a lot of time at the gym these days. I’ve been cautioned by several concerned friends, family members, and well-meaning personal trainers that overexercising can do detrimental things to both my mind and my body. I’m fine, I always assure them. I know the risks and I have it completely under control. I accompany this explanation with a smile and a newfound avoidance of regular interactions with these people.
Without going into detail that will be addressed some time later, I’ve struggled with eating disorders and exercise addictions for going on three years. Anyone who knows someone who has dealt with this or has dealt with it themselves can tell you it’s not an easy place to be or an easy place to recover from. It’s a daily challenge and it hurts. I cry, I shake, I run, I eat, I panic, I rest, I do it again.
Continuing with the topic at hand, now.
When conversations are born surrounding my self-admitted addiction to exercise I shy away from acknowledgement that anything is wrong and look for the first opportunity to change topics. I’ve lost some touch with the ability to rest and move slowly through my day. When I’m stuck behind a slow-moving car, immediately I believe I’m going to be late to wherever I’m headed, even if that’s home for the evening.
Situations present themselves that I could do incredible things for. Self sacrifices are possible every day. I don’t know how accurate it is, but the thought crosses my mind at least once every day that I could save a life, if I weren’t so busy. There are young mothers walking in the cold or the rain that I could offer a ride if they needed to get their baby warm. I’ve seen people on the side of the road or on corners, obviously asking for money or even a listening ear, to whom I want to give just that.
The word has become known as the “s-word” around my closest friends. I’m not allowed to say it of myself if it’s in a self-berating manner or if I’m having an especially difficult day. But sometimes it’s true, especially with my time. I can give money, if I have it, as easily as I can pick a flower. But my time, on a daily basis, is a struggle to sacrifice. So, the fact remains true that, in this area at least, I’m selfish.
So what do I do? I don’t know. What does anyone do when they identify a problem in themselves? All I’ve really come up with so far is the most simple and yet brilliant of solutions – pray. Which should, in my opinion, apply to everything. So that’s what I do. It’s still a daily struggle to give up a little of my time, especially in the morning before I head off to class, as this is the time I see myself most productive and I think that, if it doesn’t get done in the two or three hours before school, it won’t get done.
So I pray some more. I’ve been given a boyfriend who understands where I’m coming from and challenges me on a regular basis to let go little by little. It’s yielded some results but not as much as I’d like, and I think to myself what life will be like once I live with someone who I’ve committed to sharing my life with. If that isn’t a scary thought, what is? But with the grace of God, a constant battle of years can be won. So I pray some more.