Spiritual Fitness Leads to Physical Fitness   Leave a comment

The members of the Christian Science community in Canberra share their experiences and thoughts on Christian Science:

When my son was growing up we had a friend who often went on camping and hiking holidays with a group of long-time friends.  Once or twice a year he would invite my son and me to join the group.  I’ve never been a sporty person and being really physically fit has never been a priority for me but I do love the outdoors and these trips offered a welcome break.  I had a very busy job working 50-60 hours a week in a largely sedentary occupation.  When I wasn’t working, my life was filled with chores.  In fact the only regular exercise I had was doing the vacuuming.

On one occasion, when my son was eleven, our trip took us to a beautiful gorge in Queensland.  The first day out walking was to be a warm-up day of about 10 kilometres.  The track was rough in some places and there was a lot of climbing over rocks and obstacles.  My little ‘girly’ walking boots lasted about half an hour before the sole detached from the body of one shoe and this made the rest of the walk that day somewhat difficult.  However, I was determined to enjoy the day and I did.  I hadn’t brought a spare pair of walking shoes with me, but my son had and he was happy for me to borrow them.  Even at that age his foot was huge and his boots were about three sizes too big.  Still I was determined to make the most of things and I developed a new style of walking that accommodated the oversized shoes.

The next day the group had planned a 22 kilometre round trip up the gorge to some Aboriginal caves. This route, they told me, was rougher than the first day – it involved much climbing over huge boulders and up inclines.  These other people were experienced walkers and they set a very brisk pace.  At first I was concerned about how I would go.  Would I be able to keep up with my oversized shoes and my lack of fitness?  I quickly stopped these negative thoughts.  I may not be physically fit in the usual way but I was spiritually fit.  Despite my busy life, I did always find time for prayer, for drawing close to God.  I knew that my true identity was spiritual and a spiritual being doesn’t suffer from muscle fatigue.  The Bible tells me that I am the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1: 26, 27) and as God is never worn out, nor could I be.  I trusted these thoughts and felt buoyed by them.  The day flew by and I kept up without any difficulty.

When we got back to camp that day my son and another boy, who was a few years older, asked if they could go down and cool off in the little creek nearby.  We agreed so long as they stayed together.  The rest of the group talked about how exhausted they were and sat with their feet in buckets of cool water saying they didn’t think they could walk another step.  I didn’t feel the need for a bucket of water but I was happy to sit and chat.  Shortly the older boy came back without my son.  Apparently the little creek wasn’t very exciting but some other children had told them about a place down river where there was a high rock that you could jump off into a deep pool.  My son had gone to investigate. The older boy didn’t go because the pool was another two kilometres away and he didn’t want to go that far.  I set off to find my son.  I found him at the pool and he was happy to return with me.  We walked the two kilometres back chatting happily about the day.  When we returned the others were still recovering.  They decided that the next day would be a very short walk.

I can honestly say I felt no ill-effects at all from any of our walks that week.  I enjoyed every minute of it. I proved to be as fit as the others who led much more active lives than me.  I totally put this down to my spiritual approach to activity.  Whatever it is right for me to do I can do when I claim my spiritual identity.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy is the textbook of Christian Science.  In it Eddy states:  A mortal man possesses this body, and he makes it harmonious or discordant according to the images of thought impressed upon it (p208).  Holding in thought only images of health – images of myself as a perfect child of God – allowed me to experience the full enjoyment of this wonderful opportunity.

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