A Spiritual Exercise

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 3:14

Every day I read my Bible as I eat my breakfast. In the cooler months—far and few between in Florida—I enjoy power walking while I pray. (Take note of the verb “enjoy.”) But in the hotter months, I usually pray on my elliptical. (Take note of the absence of the verb “enjoy.”)

I have been a walker since I was a girl. I remember thinking nothing of walking from one end of town to the far border of the next town. I walked my way through Paris and Ireland. Walking feels natural and is seldom a strain, except to those trying to keep up.

But truth be told, my elliptical kicks me in my gluteus maximus. My chiropractor says it’s good for my back, for which I’m determined to avoid surgery. It’s proved helpful for my plantar fasciitis, and it even seems to help strengthen my hip, whose cartilage is complaining after years of abuse.

I practically groan to myself first thing in the morning as I don my exercise clothes, which will soon be drenched in sweat. I seldom sweat when walking, but I practically need to put my body in the dryer after an elliptical session.

The first 10 minutes aren’t so bad. Just make it to 15, I tell myself. You’ll be halfway there. But by 15, I just want to quit. Twenty minutes is my point of decision. If I can barrel past 20, I can usually reach my goal. By 25 minutes, I’m practically high-fiving myself for nearly making it. But then by the time 30 minutes are up, I sometimes have more things left on my prayer list, and I can’t quite stop.

Isn’t that how it is with life?

We often spend our lives plodding through the mundane or propelling through the pain. Some days it’s all we can do to get dressed and try to function. We give ourselves goals: We must get through this. We must achieve that.

We get through the day, through the week, through the month and through another year. Sometimes we want to give up, but yet we don’t. Sometimes it feels as if we have nothing else to give, but yet we do.

Then, somehow in our striving, we find our efforts are all worth it.

You may struggle with reading your Bible daily. Maybe you feel as if God doesn’t have anything new to say to you, or maybe you don’t want to hear what He does have to say.

Don’t give up. It’s worth it.

You may struggle with committing things to prayer. After all, it might have been a while since the last time you got the answer you sought.

Don’t give up. It’s worth it.

You may struggle with Christian service. No one seems to appreciate your efforts. It’s been a while since you’ve seen any fruit. And it’s so doggone wearying.

Don’t give up. It’s worth it.

God still speaks. God still acts. God still moves. He has more to say and do in your life. How do I know that? Because you’re still here.

He’s not done with you, not till He shuts off the lights in your temporal tent and calls you to your forever home.

Press on, sisters, toward that goal. And if you see a fellow sister drenched in spiritual sweat, hand her a towel and help her make it to the finish line.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.—Hebrews 10:24-25