This thought was waiting for me in my email inbox this morning, as I finished day one of working out again:
Here is a traveler. He has launched out on a long journey. He comes to the first inn, and there he remains forever. His reason? He has been told that many travelers have come this way and have stayed at this very inn; even the master of the house once dwelt here…. Oh soul! All that is wished for you is that you press toward the end…. Only remember this: Do not stop at the first stage.
Source: Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ
So many times, I have started on this journey and I stop far beyond the journeys end. I give up when weather, a cold, and busyness get in my way. I settle for where I am rather than pressing on.
I think when it comes to fitness and weightloss there is a fine line between loving who you are, as you are, and pushing yourself to take another step. I can accept myself and love myself right now. I just bought a pair of jeans that fit perfectly. I can embrace my curves and size. At the same time, I climbed a hill this weekend and found myself out of breath. I know that while this me is okay, that I can also do better. I need to push myself to the next place without hating myself in the process.
I wonder if we treat our spiritual lives the same way? Where we are in our life of prayer or service or the eay we love others… it is good and fine and acceptable. And we can stay here for as long as we want. Until one day we notice that we cant find the words to pray or a difficult situation challenges our ability to love someone. And then we realize that while we might be okay with where we are, that doesn’t mean we can’t grow more healthy and push farther in our spiritual lives. We discover that climb that challenges us and we find the incentive to push on and grow as a disciple of God.
This morning, I started my journey with some weight lifting and tomorrow I will do some cardio. You can find a thousand ways to get physically healthy.
In our spiritual lives, there are many exercises we can try, too:
A new form of prayer, journaling, reading the scripture, serving once a week, worshipping intentionally with others, finding a spiritual buddy to talk with.
All of these flex our soul and strengthen us for what comes next. They challenge us to keep moving forward on the journey. One step at a time.