I hope that you are excited today, because today is the beginning of another brand new day in the Lord's holy presence! Where else would you rather be than in His care? Recently He has told me to look for Him in the details of my day, to hear His voice in the wind and see His smile in the sunshine. I am doing just that, recognizing that His splendor is all around me!
I woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and full of joy! I had to smile and laugh as I prayed and gave Him praise for all He has given me! I feel like I am walking in His glory, and that it is the most wonderful place in all existence!
Dear Reader, I must confess that for several years I have not taken care of my body. I am thin naturally, so many people just assume that I am in good shape because of the outward appearance. But thank God for clothes! My body has taken on an entirely new appearance all on it's own. Long gone is the tight skin on my almost flat belly, and the elasticity that used to make my skin appear taut has turned into jowls on my jaw and loose skin on my legs. My muscles, which once showed that I worked hard in the yard and around the house disappeared, and the skin that is there hangs in an ugly fashion, almost 'draping' my bones. My really good pots and pans are almost too heavy to pick up from under the counter!
Exercising is something that my heart wants to do, but my body refuses to hear about. It will find anything, anything to take my mind off getting started. I will read longer, or write until it's too late to pick up the weights or do 10 lunges. I don't even notice that the time has sped by. I believe my muscles have atrophied from lack of use. My dear husband, alas, suffers from the same thing. I want to exercise and look good, I feel 25 in my spirit, but the reality is that this body is going to be 56 soon. I don't care.
I prayed about it, I told God that I was afraid to go to the gym, that I didn't know anybody there, and just felt funny. He reminded me that He is with me wherever I go, and that I should fear no man. He also reminded me of something very important. He said, "Deirdre, your heart is a muscle too. And without exercise it will fail." So this past week I decided I had to do something about it. So I am lifting weights in the morning (my husband has a routine of weights, trampoline, push ups, etc.), and concentrating on upper body one day and lower body the next. We walk a mile around the block early in the day as well.
This morning we took our bicycles out at 7:30. We rode around the block 5 times (5 miles). We only rode one other time before this, twice around the block about 3 weeks ago, and it had been years since the time before that. The street has little inclines that you don't notice very much walking, and certainly not in the car, but on a bike? Ha! First off, we look like little kids riding for the first time, the handlebars are going all over the place, and we are wobbly, and I'm absolutely sure, quite amusing for the deer that are standing in the field watching us. Oh, if they could talk!
So we are struggling along on flat ground all shaky and then come to an incline! Now we have to stand up on our Pee Wee Herman type bikes (mine has a little basket I can put my water in, but I have to stop to drink any), and hold those handlebars with all our strength! We are huffing and puffing, and the front tire is going extreme left to extreme right, but we manage to somehow go straight! The burn begins in the ankles and works it's way up to the top of my thigh! Oh wow, my leg is screaming, "What in the heck are you doing? Have you lost your mind? You're 55 not 8!!" Mind you this incline is probably a 10 degree grade and not very far, maybe 200 feet! There is a higher and longer incline on the back stretch, but then wow, smooth sailing and a breeze through my hair, and my armpits, cooling me down. Now this is okay!
We pass the house and experience the same pain on the second trip. On the third trip I am feeling a little more balanced and more in control. I will try to not stand on the 'hills' but keep seated. Then I start to focus on Jesus, and sense of determination comes over me. As I hit that mountain on the backstretch, my mantra becomes, "This - one - is - for - you, - Lord", one word with every foot going down, over and over again. One word per pedal. And then the decline! "This one is for me! This one is for me!"
That's when Jesus granted me revelation knowledge. As we rode around the fourth time waving at cars that passed and blessing people that were walking, He revealed to me how this bike ride is in the spiritual realm. I saw it as our struggles, our trials. Oh, how they wear on us, and burn in us deep inside, how much we want to stop, and say "Enough!" It hurts! It is tearing us apart inside! But if we focus on Jesus, and just keep saying, "This - one - is - for - you, - Lord," the reward comes. It gets easier, and coasting is literally a breeze, and that is when we can claim His grace and His reward, laugh and say, "And this is for meeeeee!!!" So don't let the incline of your problems and trials get you down, instead, just give it up for the Lord! Stay focused, this one is for Him. When you're past that trial, there is that glorious place of rest and renewal!
Have a blessed day, dear Reader, and exercise your heart today, the natural and the spiritual one. Accept that you have to work out to work it out. It does get easier as we focus on God! And before you know it, you will have what it takes, spiritual muscle, to ride up the bigger hill, and the next one, and after each one is that little decline when you rest, and if you're like me and don't care who hears it, you'll shout, "Thank you Jesus! I love You!"
"Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart." 1 Tim 4:7-8 (Msg)