I am far from one who sees spiritual implications around every corner or in every activity.
That’s just not me.
For instance, if I get a parking spot near the door of the grocery store when it is pouring down rain, I do not immediately conclude that it is God blessing me or granting me favor. No, I generally conclude that the someone pulled out right as I reached that spot, vacating it and leaving it open for me to pull in. Hallelujah. Amen.
I certainly probably and sinfully contain more than my share of cynicism.
It’s kind of how I feel about exercise. Our bodies are a temple? Ok. But that sentiment, even though scriptural, is not going to get me to exercise more. Not really.
I really don’t like exercise. I am, inherently, a slug.
But today I am wondering if there are is some sort of connection between exercise and the well-being of both the mind and the soul.
I mean, I already know the answer to that inquiry–it is a resounding “Yes.” It’s kind of obvious. People who exercise regularly are healthier, and have less stress, and on and so forth and on and so forth.
This morning I woke up wildly discouraged. Deeply so.
So much so, that I didn’t leave my bedroom until after 8:30 am. That’s not my usual mojo. I’m a crazy early riser. And I move from my bed to my desk to study and pray at around 5 am, and then move from my desk outside to walk 5 miles before my work day begins. So, yeah. Me, in my bedroom, till after 8:30 = wildly discouraged.
I was awake since about 4:00am, but paralyzed by much. The to-do list. Relationship challenges. Parenting challenges. Responsibility challenges. Soul and mind challenges. I just could not get moving.
And, at 8:30, when I did get moving, I didn’t get far. I kicked myself outside and walked for about 1.5 miles, and then gave up, using the excuse that my feet hurt and I needed to change shoes. Which I did, after I got back home, but then I crawled back into bed.
My soul/mind were messed up.
But somewhere around 10:00ish, I convinced myself to try again.
You see, I knew. I knew that if I lay there defeated, there was very real danger that I would remain there defeated the rest of the day. And maybe tomorrow. And maybe the next day.
So, by grace, I got up. And tried again.
But I was angry. And so:
- Mile 1: Furiously Stomped down the street, muttering words that I should not have been muttering
- Mile 2: Stomping and anger turned to uncharacteristic tears, mixing with sweat rolling down my face, because good grief, it was humid out there.
- Mile 3: Tears turned to preaching truth to myself:
- God is real.
- Salvation is real.
- God is sovereign.
- God sees and knows. And Acts.
- Scripture is truth.
- Grace is free.
- Mercy is given.
- Shhh, soul. Be still.
- Mile 4: Preaching continued, but accompanied toward putting things in the right columns on the “White Board” I keep in my brain–lining things back up, sorting out the doubts, placing fears in proper perspective, examining motives, thinking thinking thinking.
- Mile 5 and 6: Prayer. Worship. Singing.
A renewing of the mind. And soul.
I think that it may be similar to the man in John 5.
You know the one. 38 years this guy was an invalid. Laying on his pallet. Waiting for someone to carry him down into the waters that supposedly had some kind of healing nature to them.
And Jesus doesn’t empathize or sympathize or feel sorry for this guy. No, he asks him a question that, quite honestly, would have made me a bit peeved. “Do you want to be healed?”
Well, of course. Of course he does. I mean, good grief, it had been 38 years. Why wouldn’t he?
Why wouldn’t I?
Do I? Sometimes I don’t like the answer to that question.
And then Jesus tells the guy this:
Get up. Take your bed. Walk.
Maybe I’m off-base here. I quite possibly could be. I could be reading way, way too much into this. If so, I apologize, dear reader.
But this I do know:
- I was not well when I started.
- I was much, much better when I ended.
- And the day was redeemed.
So, Keep Moving, friend. Keep moving. Even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t.
***On a related note: That last half mile or so today? Yes, it was spent singing. Quietly, because, well, neighbors. But it was going on, because on that mile I remembered–out of the blue, I have no idea why–a song that was my grandpa’s favorite song. He would sing this song while we walked around his yard, looking for locusts shells to put in my shoebox for my “collection”. “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. A few years ago I thought about singing it at church, but I wasn’t ready. I am now; this will happen in November, because these words are not nothing:
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.