Five Minute Friday: Practice

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Gentle Reader,

I’m actually writing this on time. And I even got to pop in and chat for just a second. Wild.

Onward, before the benadryl kicks in. So much sinus pressure. Stupid allergies.

Kate says: practice.

Go.

I drop to my knees, grateful for the thick yoga mat beneath me. Sweat drips from my brow, dotting my forearms. Again I wonder why I am awake earlier than I want to be. Why I am putting my body through the torture of physical activity. A disgustingly chipper voice encourages me to get back into plank position. With a heavy breath, I plant my hands on the mat and press my toes onto the slides.

Pull legs into a crouching position. Push out into a straight line. Use abdominal muscles to make the movement. Press down on the slides, legs out into a v-shape. Back into a line. In again.

Arms shake. Core tight. Legs ache. Lips tremble.

They say that fitness is a journey, not a destination. It’s all about the practice. About being better than you were yesterday. One more rep, a little heavier weight.

So, too, I think with our faith.

The Kingdom is then, in eternity, a place for us to look forward to with hope. But it’s also now. Right here. Inside you and me. We are called to a different way of living. Different ethics, different perspective. We get to participate in the beautiful, difficult work of sanctification. We get to show the world what it is to live for and with Jesus.

We don’t always get it right. Sometimes we fall to the mat and wonder why we even try.

In those moments, in the sweat, in the pain, in the weariness, the Spirit says: Get back up.

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Decide

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Gentle Reader,

Clickity-clack go the keys as we chat away about everything and nothing. Books, movies, upcoming life events, the use of the word “homeslice.” We come together for a brief time, each one releasing a deep sigh. It’s been a long week. We are among friends.

Kate says: decide.

Go.

Do they make the sound that comes out of the alarm at 5:00 a.m. that annoying on purpose?

I am jolted awake and for a fleeting second think I might just have to murder someone. The brain fog lifts a little and I realize that it’s not some form of psychological warfare. I sigh. Sit up. Contemplate flopping back and floating off into that beautiful place of sleep.

I just turn it off, swing my legs out of bed and decide, again, to do it anyway.

Eleven days ago I plunged into the “21 Day Fix.” Exercise for 30 minutes, every single day. (Even Sunday). Learning about eating the right things the right way (which doesn’t mean dieting or deprivation). Stretching and sweating and aching and making goofy faces as I lift weights. Feeling my whole body shake as I strain to hold a plank position. Striving to be a little better today than I was yesterday.

I haven’t said much about this outside of the challenge group I’m part of because, honestly, I don’t want the input and opinions of others. This is intensely personal to me. I sobbed my way through the first workout, trying desperately to beat back the “you can’t do this” throbbing in my mind. To make this work with my body and my illness, I have to modify many of the exercise positions. I have to eat specific things in specific portions at specific times (or at least get as close as possible). I have to think. I have to choose.

It’s not about becoming “skinny,” dropping to a magical pants size or weight. I could care less if I stay the size I am now for the rest of my life. It really doesn’t matter. It’s not about vanity. What I want is to be as strong and healthy as I can reasonably be for a fairly weak and sick person. (That probably makes little sense if you have no experience with illness). I don’t want a perfectly flat stomach and I’m never going to have one because of #stupiddumbliver. I do want to do more crunches tomorrow than I did today. I don’t want a “thigh gap.” I do want to be able to hold a low sumo squat.

I want to be tough.

I decide to be tough.

And when I forget that decision as the tears and the sweat drip off of my face onto the mat and I strain to hold my abs correctly and move my legs properly, I cry out to the Lord. He gives me that extra, needed “umpf” even before the words have left my lips.

Because He made me, and He decided that I would be strong.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

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