A little over a year ago, I had a hysterectomy. If this is TMI for you, I apologize. But it is completely relevant to my point. I had been anemic for years. I was getting more weak as time passed and I had moved to “take drastic action” status. My doctor could not believe that I was functioning in my life as my hemoglobin numbers were so low.
Since that time, to say that I have been given a new lease on life is an understatement. I did not know what it felt like to live with this much energy. Before, I would tire out by just walking the small hills in my neighborhood. Now, I am able to work out 3-4 times a week at the gym doing Zumba and BodyCombat, with energy to spare. Cue salsa music.
There are so many things that I have learned this last year by engaging my body in new ways of movement and exercise. Often, while working out, God teaches me something new about the parallels between exercise and my spiritual life. I’ll unpack a few things I’ve learned in upcoming posts.
For now, let’s begin with:
START WHERE YOU ARE
On this first point, I had no choice. I was weak in every way. No muscle tone, no cardio strength and no pattern of exercise. I just knew that I wanted to take my new found energy and get into shape. The only thing I could do was start right where I was. So I started with a Step Aerobics class because I had tried it many years ago and it was the only class (other than Yoga) that didn’t intimidate me. The patterns were repetitive and I was able to keep up. At first, I would tire out 25 minutes into the workout. I felt like I had to stop, but I would keep going. Over time, this subsided and I was able to make it through without bonking.
In my life with Jesus, I find that it is also best to simply begin where I am. If I want to begin a new pattern, I try not to make any grand, heroic gestures that don’t last. I simply make a choice or an intention toward God and take that first step. For example, I am trying something that Larry Warner suggested on his blog. It is very do-able and I am actually excited to try it. Nothing heroic, just a new, simple way to think of God each day.
If you are choosing to begin some new prayer practice, engagement with scripture, or way of looking at your life, begin with full acceptance of where you are. Then make that first step in your process. No perfectionistic goals, just a desire to be closer to God.