If you thought fitness magazines were all just full of hype about slimming down and promoting self-absorbed vanity - you'd be right! Well, kind of right. Actually many fitness magazines have a general goal to be good for you. Their stated purpose often is to help you become healthier and live a better life. However, somewhere along the way many of them venture into topics that sell subscriptions. They fuel human nature and the thirst for physical excess. The writers of this type of content come from many backgrounds and typically they are not tasked with exploring and celebrating the tremendous influence God has in our physical journey.
We gave writers gathered at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, North Carolina the opportunity to come together and help us create a collection of their fitness experiences, wellness and active living so you can see just how different fitness looks when faith is the basis. The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference brings together hundreds of writers for fellowship and to grow opportunities for Christian influence in today's culture. Check out how some of them get active and celebrate the glory of God.
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Jennifer Kitchens, Dirty Dishwater, Holy Hands
Physical Fitness is new to me - not to my mind, but to my body. After years of knowing the right things to do to take care of my body, I am finally experiencing the benefits of them by eating whole, real food with more protein and exercising five days a week. The stronger I am and the more endurance I build, the more awareness I have of what God made my body capable of doing. Fueling and moving my body has become an act of worship. Paul in the Bible instructs us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. I want to live the best life I can so that I can be the best sacrifice I can offer.
Susan Neal, Founder of Scripture Yoga
When I am healthy I serve God better, so it is important for me to eat well and exercise. Every morning before the conference, I plan on grabbing my yoga mat and performing Scripture Yoga. I will recite Bible verses about serving others as faithful stewards of God’s grace. Last night, I was on knees praying for all of us attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference because we are here to serve our Lord - to be his hands and feet on this earth.
In the afternoon, during our break time, I will enjoy walking around the Ridgecrest grounds. I always feel closer to God when I am in nature, and there is no better place than the Blue Ridge Mountains. The cool, crisp air will feel great as I break into a stride. Walking clarifies my thoughts, and it can be a time to converse with God.
I want to serve God to best of my ability, so I need to be a good steward of my body. During the conference I will walk every day from 4:45-5:15 departing from the popular Clouds Coffee Shop. I look forward to others joining me.
Hiking and photography became a place of refuge for me three years ago when I lost my son to suicide. There are hiking trails around the cemetery and exploring them became one way to bring life out of his death.
Combined with photography, the sorrow, current problems, and the noise of my life all three become quiet and still. I feel like a kid discovering creation anew. My spirit is refreshed when I walk with my God!
Sandra Allan Lovelace, Speaker. Writer. Pursuer.
I love to travel and international trips are my favorite. Spending a month in Israel is at the top of my list of favorite all time journeys. Hiking the Zin Valley caused me to ponder what life would be like to wander for forty years in the Negev Desert. I carried water and followed a marked trail to a known spring. What must it have been like for those who wandered for 40 years?
The day long trek also inspired my commitment to stay fit. Since I knew I’d be doing a lot of walking, I’d included an exercise schedule in the preparations for my adventure. And it paid off. My younger companions were sore the next day. I was not. I may be over 50, but I’m not ready for a rocking chair. There’s still a lot more invisible qualities of the Creator to discover in His creation.
Her latest title is Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship.
Brad Bloom, Publisher, Faith & Fitness Magazine
I get to all kinds of gyms and fitness facilities constantly. Many of them have nice amenities, excellent programs, friendly and capable staff and everything people need to lead a fit lifestyle. Personally though, I enjoy being active outdoors. The fresh air, sunlight, unique and fun challenges, natural environments, changes in temperatures and the BIG space makes it the ideal setting to connect with God and be my best. The balance, stability and core strength of hiking in the mountains for example just can't be duplicated in the gym. The mountains inspires our view of God. Our God is an everlasting God who gave birth to the beauty all around.