Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fit With A Foundation

Tonight, I met with a personal trainer. Last week, I signed up for a membership at LifeTime Fitness. It’s literally across the parking lot from my work, so it certainly couldn’t be any more convenient. Why did I sign up for a fitness club? Well, for one, I sit in front of a computer all day mixing sound, and I just need to be doing something physical. Second, I’m planning to visit my athlete sister in Germany this Fall, and I need to get in shape for our daily work outs. I may run a 5 or 10k with her. Probably, the biggest reason I’m working out is for health. I generally eat pretty well, but now that I’m in my 30’s, I’m just thinking more and more about the long term consequences of not taking care of myself physically. Along with this is what they would call “vanity,” the sheer prospect of looking good (or better). I don’t want to have a beer belly like many guys my age. I used to think people that worked out all the time were potentially very shallow, only focusing on their outward appearance. I now realize that it has bigger ramifications, namely health, not to mention, social confidence.

I will be honest... there are a lot of attractive women at the health club. I’ve been thinking recently, and this is my theory. Women that take care of themselves physically are mostly likely looking for guys who likewise take care of themselves. Most people that look healthy and physically fit spend time exercising. They don’t get to look that way by sitting around on the couch eating ho-hos, complaining about how overweight they are. The challenge with all this is that many people who work out all the time may very well be extremely shallow... but that is a total stereotype (I do know a number of people who are physically fit and spiritually and intellectually deep)
. Certainly, there are many people who take care of themselves, look good, but also understand that looks are only skin deep, and temporary. Some people even work out because they believe their bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

I have found it quite difficult to meet women who are physically fit, yet unobsessed with their outer appearance. It seems like a vicious cycle. Once you start trying to look good, the more you want to look good, and eventually, that can be all you think about. I don’t want to be that person, and I certainly don’t want to date a girl who is overly focused on looking pretty. There needs to be a balance. Anyways, I just started thinking... you know, we as singles really need to be what we are looking for. If you want someone who is spiritually mature, seek to be spiritually mature. If you are looking for someone that you are physically attracted to, consider that your dream girl / guy may be looking for the same thing in the opposite gender.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Living In Illusions

A couple months ago, some friends and I watched the newly released “Illusionist.” Interesting film. As usual, I could do without a few parts, but all in all, it was a decent movie. I won’t give away the story completely in case you haven’t seen it (and do intend to), but I will use it’s general plot as an illustration. As a summary, the main character in the movie was a magician who had many tricks up his sleeve, his flagship act being that of seemingly bringing spirits back from the dead and having them appear at his shows, even on occasion walking the aisles of the early 1900 Vienna concert hall. Yes, strange. However, just as strange is our tendencies as humans to assume that which does not exist. Let me explain further.

What do you think other people are thinking? Maybe you think they’re thinking bad thoughts about you. Maybe you make assumptions that people don’t like you. Maybe you’ve interrupted a friend’s disturbed countenance as a frustration towards you. It’s possible that much of our lives are shaped by phantoms. Not literal spirits, like those wandering the world of “The Sixth Sense,” but self evolved perceptions which cripple our joy, our peace, and our love for other people.

I personally have lived much of my life assuming the worst of people. I’ve been guilty of judging others’ motives too quickly. I’ve lost sleep over wondering if someone is upset with me. I’ve wearied myself attempting to settle a case which is not my own to solve.

Do you live in expectation? What picture does that phrase evoke in the fog of your mental landscape? Many Christians probably think about heaven when they hear the word “expectation.” Today, I want to present an alternate use for the phrase. We are always living in expectation... whether it be the expectation of a pay check this Friday or a home cooked evening this evening... or even simpler and often overlooked, the expectation that our next breath will be there when we reach for it. The conflict comes when our expectations aren’t met. We do the same thing with people. We hold expectations over our friends and family. In our minds, it can be a given that different individuals will act certain ways in certain situations. These type of assumptions aren’t necessarily bad (as trust is developed through some predictability), but a problem can occur when we start adding our own dots to the connect-the-dots puzzle. By this, I mean we start to fill in the blanks. We begin to judge our brother’s motive or our sister’s heart. We take it upon ourselves to crack the code of another’s complex personality and human incongruency. Here lies a great danger.