I used to be really into body building. (Go ahead and laugh, I know you can’t tell now, and that’s kind of the point.) Seriously though, I am a driven and compulsive person, so when I decided to “be” a bodybuilder, I put all my energy into it. I spent hours at the gym everyday working out. I read bodybuilding books, ate all the right foods,and spent my money on “supplements” and powders. I wore “bodybuilding” clothes and hung out with muscle head friends, I had dreams of going “pro” but eventually I quit… It just didn’t seem worth it.
Body building is more about looking “strong” than actually being strong. During those years I actually avoided any practical use of my “muscles” because I needed to “save my energy for the gym.” I realize now that the only people that were really “impressed” with my efforts were other bodybuilders…and the only reward for succeeding were trophies and titles that most “normal” people don’t care about.
So what now? I actually still see the value in physical exercise. I still work out but it’s different now. I work out to actually be stronger… to not be completely repulsive to my beautiful wife… to be able to play with my four year old daughter…to be able to “survive” my busy schedule. I mess up sometimes and “fall off the wagon” and eat too many Oreos, but as a whole, “fitness” has become a lifestyle I can live…forever.
I used to be religious… (I know it’s hard to tell now and that’s kind of the point.) Because I am a driven and compulsive person when I decided to “be” a Christian, I put all my energy into it. I spent hours at the church every week, I read religious books, listened to “religious” music, and spent my money on religious “tithes and offerings”. I cut my hair, traded my jeans for khakis and hung out with religious friends. I actually went “pro” and became a pastor…but I have recently decided to quit…It just doesn’t seem worth it.
Religion is more about looking “good” than actually doing good. I used to avoid helping people, so I could spend more time in church “learning” about helping people. I spent years learning about Jesus, without actually trying to live like Jesus did. I realize now that the only people really impressed with my religious efforts were other religious people…”normal” people don’t care about the religious titles and “trophies” I’ve received.
I also still believe in the spiritual disciplines. I still go to church and share from all God has given us financially… I pray and fast because God has given me dreams to change this county that are absolutely impossible without divine intervention. I read my Bible because I want to know how God related to people in the past, so I can better understand what he is doing now. (He never changes!) I am trying to put the whole “love and forgiveness thing” into action in everything I do. I mess up some days (ok, a lot of days) and act like a jerk, but I do find myself caring more and more about doing good instead of just looking good. Most importantly, I have found that following Jesus without being religious is a lifestyle I can live… forever.