Lesson 13- Learn from your mistakes

I am a fitness novice. I figure that 46 years of being a yoyo dieting couch potato have made me an expert…but not on fitness. For me, chasing four kids for the past twenty years required a great deal of physical energy, but not much consistent focused movement. All you fitness people out there intimidate those of us who are just beginning. It is not intentional on your part I realize, but face it, to get up and move when I have never done so takes guts and I’m not talking the flabby stuff around my midsection. Being new to all of this feels kind of like the first time I drove a car. I don’t know how it works exactly. I know there is power here and that if I can figure it out, it means freedom. I am scared to death I will not be able to learn it without looking foolish. Ah, but God gives grace to the humble does he not? So I have been diving in for the past 6 months, in my attempt to change 46 years of bad habits. Humiliation is a regular part of this journey for me. Going anywhere in shorts and a tank top shines a spot light on years of terrible eating habits, much less trying to move around in said exercise clothes. Grace, grace….God’s grace is carrying me.
The lesson I share with you today is the lesson of making novice mistakes. For example, the first time Hannah and I decided to do a long-ish training walk we left without water or snacks. Three miles in, we got thirsty oops, no water. Five miles in, we got shaky from the fact we ate very little for breakfast before we left and took nothing with us. We made it back, but almost collapsed in the process. Live and learn. Beginner mistakes. That has been several months, so today I headed out for another training walk. I remembered the past mistakes and take water, snacks, plus trail maps, band-aids for blisters, extra socks and my cell phone. I think I am so smart and prepared. Have you ever heard pride comes before a fall? You can probably guess it didn’t go as well as I thought it would.
About a half mile in, I realize it is not a good idea to wear Honeysuckle scented lotion on a hike in the woods. Every bee, biting fly and gnat within a five mile radius thought I was breakfast. Onward I go, swatting away, determined to get my hike in. Next mistake? Never pick “the wetland trail” the day after a huge rainstorm. A mile and a half in and the bullfrogs laughed at me as I plodded through the muck, only to find the trail went straight into what appeared to be a small lake that evidently shows up just after a torrential rain like the one we had last night. Turning around, while still swatting, I made it back to the main road with only slightly dampened determination. At a picnic pavilion, I pulled out my maps to find them stuck to the condensation on my icy cold water bottle, as were my band-aids. After peeling them off in pieces, I realized Ziploc bags would have been a good idea for more than just my cell phone. Maps and band-aids in the trash, I moved forward and decided I could simply stick to the main road and not get lost…especially if I just follow the trails of the bees calling all their friends to come to breakfast. Now carrying my water bottle in my hand, I continued on. Two and a half miles in, I stopped once again to drink and eat my snack. Sitting my bottle down at the same time I removed my pack, proved to be a mistake as the bottle got knocked in the dirt, spilling half of it. I sat for a moment, trying to remove the dirt from what was left of my water. Then ate my snack and decided to head back toward the car to end my morning of training fun, swatting the whole way. Now let me just say, swinging at bees and swamp flies with an open water bottle is not a good idea. Enough said. Let’s just say that once I got all the way back to the car I was soaked from more than just sweat.
So what did I learn today? That there is a learning curve to fitness, and I am behind it. I also learned that mistakes happen and you learn from them then move on. Just like doing anything the first time, there will be times I have no clue. I cannot let that fact, stop my progress or my body will not reach the health I need to live fully. Now for the spiritual lesson that you knew was coming. Whether you have walked with God for years or not at all, there are days where you will make mistakes. You will have a choice to walk away or run to him. There is a learning curve in life. The more we live the more experience we get. We can learn from those experiences, or not. We can get stuck and repeat our mistakes over and over, or we can move on with the grace and power of God determined to learn from our mistakes.

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