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Exercise, Exercise Exercise!

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This week I am focusing on exercising. This is a hard thing to do for a lot of college students. For me, it feels like once I am done with class all I want to do is take a nap, and after that I have homework to finish and Netflix to watch (honesty is the best policy!), and because of the combination of these and a myriad of other things I do not always make time to exercise. Yet, this is so detrimental to my health! Science has proven that exercise boosts energy levels and lowers stress levels.

It does not really matter what type of exercise you do; just make sure you are doing something you enjoy (or at least kind of enjoy). You do not have to go to expensive exercise classes, either. If you are here on DBU’s campus just go for a jog on the running trail by the Global Missions Center or visit the DBU fitness center. If you are somewhere else in the world perhaps do a workout video on YouTube or via workout websites.

I always find that exercise is better if it is fun, so check out this out-of-the-box idea for exercising: Parkour?

Whatever you do, make sure you have fun with your exercise routine, and stick with it! Exercising is so important to your overall health, and it is a very rewarding part of your daily routine. So get up and get exercising!

Friendships

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A friend loves at all times… (Proverbs 17:17)

Having healthy, solid relationships is one of the most important aspects of health. It affects every aspect of a person’s well-being—spiritual, emotional, and even physical. The reason for being is the people you choose to spend the most time with are the people you are going to become most like. We pick up the habits, character qualities, and thinking processes of our closest friends. We carry the emotional burdens of the people we spend time and energy on. If our friends’ habits, character traits, and thought processes are destructive, then ours will be as well. This has been proven time and time again. To illustrate this, try pulling one of your friends up a flight of stairs. It is possible, if your friend weighs about the same or less than you, or if they are not resisting—but no matter the circumstances, it is quite a difficult task. Now, try to pull them down the stairs (or maybe not— do not to hurt them). It does not matter their weight or how much they resist this—it is much simpler to pull someone down the stairs than to pull them up. This is not only true according to the law of gravity; it is true in friendships as well. If your friends are always bringing you down emotionally, or if they practice unhealthy or destructive habits, or even if they are just not striving to do the things God has called them to do, and you are trying to live a spiritually healthy life, then you are going to have a hard time doing so. If you consistently spend your time with people who are pulling you down then you are going to be emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and probably even physically exhausted. You will not be able to maintain your stance on the stairs indefinitely. Eventually you will end up being pulled down the stairs—and the fall might be a very painful experience.

How do we keep from experiencing such falls? How do we make sure to make friends that do not pull us down, but instead join us in climbing and reaching for bigger, better, and higher goals? For this post I turned to my best friend and fellow stair-climber, Ellie Regalado, to ask how she chooses her friends.

1.    How do you choose your friends?

“I choose my friends by a circle diagram: The inner circle, the middle circle, and the outer circle. The inner circle is my best friends, the middle circle is my good friends, and the outer circle is the rest of my friends and acquaintances.

 The inner circle is very small—Jesus had three in His inner circle, and that is what I have as well, but it is probably best to have less than five. These are the people who are going to pour into your life the most, and you are going to pour into their lives more than you will into anyone else. The inner circle is the most important to fill with the right people, and it is also the most difficult. The inner circle is your best friends and mentors. Be very cautious with who you let into your inner circle. They will influence you and determine the direction of your life.

The middle circle is the rest of your good friends. This may be a family member you trust, a group of friends that you go out with often, or the people in your small group at church. You invest time in these people, and you choose these people wisely and carefully as well, much like Jesus chose the rest of His disciples. However, you do not fully invest yourself in these people—that would become emotionally and physically draining.

The outer circle is everyone else in your life—all of your family, friends, and acquaintances (classmates, coworkers, etc.). Just because you do not include these people in your inner or middle circles does not mean you never associate with them or that you do not care about them. As Christians we are called to love and care about everyone. There will be times when we will be called upon to be a part of these people’s lives more intimately, but we must be wise in how we invest in these people’s lives and how much we allow them to invest in ours. If we do not set wise boundaries, we will not be able to invest in anyone’s lives the way we are called to because we will be too exhausted and consumed with too much. Jesus had a huge outer circle: His family, the rest of His disciples, and even His enemies—the Pharisees and Sadducees. He loved and invested time in all of these people, but He did not confide in them or spend all of His time with them.”

2.    Why do you choose certain friends for your inner and middle circles and not others?

“I choose people that will help me grow in my relationship with Christ and help me fulfill the callings God has placed in my life. If someone is really nice and sweet but they do not call me out when I am living sinfully, ignoring God’s voice, or not living out my full potential, then they do not really love me like an “inner-circle” friend. If they do not allow me to call them out when they are doing those things, they have not allowed me into their inner circle, and honestly, an inner circle needs to be a mutual agreement. In addition, we need our inner circle people to encourage us and build us up. Whether they are criticizing us or praising us, it has to be for the purpose for edifying and helping us grow.

The middle circle is also an edifying, building up group of people. Choosing these people requires much of the same process as the inner circle, with the understanding that you simply cannot fully invest yourself in a group that large, nor can you expect them to fully invest themselves in you. Choosing these people requires wisdom and discretion as well.

The outer circle is the friends and family you encounter on a daily basis. This group of people does not need to be as carefully defined as the other two, and you really do not need to identify every single person in this group; it is enough to understand that they are not in the other two groups. These are the people you see on a daily basis at work or school, or your extended family, or possibly your neighbors. A few of these people may become part of your middle circle or even your inner circle later on in your life, but for the most part, these are not people you heavily invest your time and energy in regularly. There is simply not enough of you to go around to every single person you know!”

 

Having a plan for choosing your friends may seem mean or even fake, but it is absolutely necessary to living a God-centered life. If you go about choosing your friends in a wise, discerning way, it might be difficult, and you might have to make some painful choices, but in the end it is worth it to have stair-climbing friends in your inner and middle circles. 

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