Good morning!

It’s cloudy here in London and while we had a foretaste of summer earlier in the week, it didn’t last for long.

During this period of lockdown one of the things that we may go outside for is to exercise.

Exercise is of course good for the body, mind and soul. It’s part of what keeps us healthy and balanced.

That said, many people struggle to exercise for various different reasons and many will be finding this period of lockdown very difficult.

Someone I know that struggles to exercise is myself! Fortunately I tend to walk a lot and have a quick metabolism so I don’t really put on weight but nonetheless I’ve always wanted to do more sport.

In my early life I suffered a lot with social anxiety especially when it came to this area.

Sport you see was where I felt most insecure in just about all my entire being! I was small and relatively weak, my coordination was ok but I lacked confidence and of course the worst obstacle of all…I just wasn’t interested.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the most intimidating place to be when you think that you might be gay is with a group of other lads playing sport.

So needless to say I avoided sport although I did discover later in life a love for swimming, cycling, running and tennis…yes, pretty much everything that wasn’t a team sport!!

Exercise can be very intimidating for many of us especially if we are uncomfortable about our bodies. Earlier Toni sent me this funny picture, it speaks volumes.

And yet exercise is an area where Jesus can give us a lot of healing. With His grace we can break through the mental and spiritual blockages that stop us from getting up and out and have us over-eating and being lazy instead.

His grace can burn through our fears and anxieties and we can become comfortable and happy in our own bodies and skin!

Exercising can also be very humbling when we are faced with our weaknesses and lack of control and yet if we invite God into this weakness with us, exercise can become a prayer, a challenge and a healing remedy for our lives.

And so during this period I’ve taken to doing more sport. Running, cycling and some stretches with weights etc.

Some days I just want to give up, the voices of the past howl stop but yet the Lord’s voice, the voice of the future whispers loudly and authoritatively “you can do it”.

Thankfully I have Seamus and Toni who are far more motivated and disciplined in this area to help me!

So, if you are struggling during this period of lockdown, don’t give in to laziness and sloth. Even if it’s only for a few minutes challenge yourself to doing a bit of exercise.

It might only be a walk or a jog or a few stretches but as a french monk told me once ‘l’appétit vient en mangeant’ (the appetite comes while eating.

I will finish with a prayer that we all may pray:

“Dear Jesus, thank you for my body, please help me to glorify you through it and break away all mental obstacles to me being free and happy and healthy in my body. Help me to eat properly, help me to exercise properly and help me to love you properly. ”

Have a great day!

Michael