As quiet as I have kept it, I have been facing some serious health challenges in the past six months, and as a result, have had to make exercise a more regular part of my life and schedule. Anyone who knows me, even just a little bit, knows that I consider “exercise” a four-letter word to the second power. NOT a fan, but circumstances dictate that I have to get over it, get up, and in the words of First Lady Michelle Obama “Get Moving!” So, for the past three months or so, at least 3-4 times a week, my eyes pop open, I text a message to my walking partner, and we get out there and walk around the neighborhood for no less than 45 minutes on routes that vary between 1.5 to 3 miles, depending on how hot it is as we walk through the door. (And believe me, it gets HOT early and quickly in HotLanta, where I call home). It truly helps to have a “partner in crime” when it comes to exercising, ‘cause it helps motivate you to do the right thing if you know someone else is dependent or waiting on you.
As the enemy of our souls would have it, my walking partner is on an extended trip right now – far far away – and although she still texts me in the morning to encourage me to keep up the walking exercise routine alone – it is not exactly the same. However, primarily because of the health issue, I have been faithful in her absence about getting up and walking. Yaaay me. It is a lot different walking to the beat of my Pandora app on my smartphone than it is discussing current news or personal life goals with a person, but that hour alone in the morning really helps me think through some current challenges – both personal and spiritual – and when I get home, I feel empowered and ready to start another day.
On a recent walk alone, I was debating whether to cut my intended walk short because it was getting warmer and warmer as the morning progressed, and let’s face it: any ole excuse to stop was welcome. My legs were starting to drag, my face was starting to … glisten … (I don’t sweat – that’s my story, I’m sticking with it!), and I had probably had only three hours sleep before my eyes had “popped open”. In reality, I just wanted to squat down on the sidewalk and wait for my fairy godmother to show up with a pumpkin-shaped carriage and whisk me home. But I ain’t no Disney princess and I somehow knew THAT was not about to happen, so I kept putting one foot in front of the other and continued plodding my way home.
I have a charm bracelet. On this charm bracelet, I have charms signifying significant events or aspects of my life: a stack of books (because I am a published author, after all – hahaha); a pocketbook with the inscription “shopaholic”; a flip flop; one that represents the Bible, etc. etc. I also have a charm that simply says, NEVER GIVE UP.
As I was walking, listening for the rumble of carriage wheels, I realized that, if I sat down and waited, I would be defeating the entire purpose of exercising. Motion would stop, the benefit would be diminished, and most importantly, I would not reach my goal – to make it home. How often is our Christian experience and walk with God the same? How many times, along your journey with the Lord, have you just wanted to sit down, take a break, and wait for Him to show up and magically whisk you out of whatever situation you find yourself in? If you are like me, probably more often than you’d like to admit.
Just like I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other to make it back to my home at 5036 in Decatur, we have to keep “Pressing on the Upward Way” in our Christian walk in order to make it to our spiritual goal: our home known as heaven. Yes, sometimes (it seems like) the walk is full of more hills (yea, even mountains!) than valleys. Sometimes the heat is on and you feel sluggish and lethargic and wore plumb out. Your legs feel like anchors are attached to them and there seems like there is no end to the torture in sight. But, as my charm says, “Never Give Up” – keep pressing, keep climbing, keep moving. Your reward is right around the corner, nearer than you think or believe.
©2012 Kristina E. Smith