Fitness Lesson 21 – Don’t Listen

I am approaching a year of this fitness journey. I started in December last year, but it wasn’t until January that I began to fight back. To take my life back I realized that beating cancer for good is a lot more than enduring treatments. It is about overall health. I am somewhere between 55 and 60 lbs. lighter, but more than that, I have learned a tremendous amount about my body and my spirit. The fact that the two are intricately tied together has been my greatest revelation. Most often, my fitness lesson applies directly to my spiritual growth…or is it the other way around? Either way, I am finding out, there are as many lessons to learn as there are hours to work out. Today’s lesson is appropriate for Thanksgiving.
For me there are voices that surface at this time of year. (Before you worry, they are not the psychotic kind.) It is more like voices of bad habits. I guess you could call them temptations. Like the one that says, “You have a few days off, you can start back exercising after your break.” Or “It is a holiday, it won’t hurt to have whatever you want for one meal.” If you have ever struggled with your weight, you know these voices too. They are subtle and logical. In the holiday season, they make a lot of sense. I mean, I know that during the Christmas production at the church I will have to miss Jazzercise class a few times. They are the excuses. They are the voices of a victim of the circumstances that surround you in a busy season of the year. Don’t listen.
They are lies. Don’t listen. Plug your ears and hunker down. I have to hold on to what I have accomplished and all that I have learned. There is danger this time of year for me. I want to let my guard down. I want to rest from the work it is to be fit. Don’t listen. I want to wait until I have time for planning, and scheduling. Holiday time makes that too hard to do…so the voices say. Don’t listen.
To be honest, I refuse to be completely legalistic about this, because that hinders me as much as going hog wild. I have to give myself grace to be flexible with my exercise. I have to be okay if I don’t get exactly my regular routine in, however, I also have to make adjustments. I cannot just lie down and quit for a month or two. If I miss a class, I need to substitute a walk. I have to remain active. I have to be diligent with my food. If I want to come off my diabetic medicine at my next check up, I have to watch my sugars. I feel as if I am walking a tight rope trying to balance and for the next two months, the rope hovers over a canyon. No net. I have to focus ahead and not look down. I have to remember this lesson…don’t listen.
The spiritual parallel is obvious. We walk a spiritual tight rope every day. In order to balance, we have to focus on God’s face. It is his grace that gets us through each tough day. When we look down, we are overwhelmed. It is then that the voices start in on us. They accuse. They lie. We begin to wobble. Don’t listen. Plug your ears. Hold tight to your faith. The voices say, “You don’t need to pray today. You can do it tomorrow.” Or “That is the preacher’s job, you don’t have time to commit.” We become pew-potatoes. We go to church to be entertained and we walk out unchanged. We listen to the voices.
What is true for my physical body is also true in my spirit. I have to be diligent. I have to be flexible, but not quit. I have to be sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit by following his lead. When he directs my actions, the other voices fade and I am focused on him. I do not dwell on the canyon. I move forward, because I know what he has done in me so far is real. I know he is always working, and that I have to continue to do what I know. The voices will always try to pull me off the path…but I don’t listen.

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