Wednesday, January 4, 2012


"Keep yourself in training for a godly life. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future." 
~1 Timothy 4:7,8

"All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself."
~1 Corinthians 9:25-27, The Message

The balmy mid-eighties temperature of this January afternoon had me pulling out a piece of my summer attire. Although my house remains cool and comfortable, an errand prompted me to temporarily retreat back to my warm-weather closet. I pulled out a favorite tee shirt and put it on resignedly. Who wants to be clothed in summer apparel when the calendar claims it is winter? Not me.

I looked at myself in the mirror and was immediately drawn to my arms. When did they grow so flabby? My dry, pale skin didn't help matters. Neither did the large scab where a skin cancer had recently been removed. It seemed to glare at me, adding salt to my wounded spirit.

Because of a health condition I have had for two decades, I have tried to stay in somewhat decent shape. But an annoying illness, followed by a surgery two months ago, brought my workouts to a halt. My flabby arms are strong evidence of my recent sedentary lifestyle.

As if the disappointment in my flabby arms wasn't enough, I didn't stop there. Perhaps I am my own worst enemy, but my unsightly upper extremities beckoned me to check out the rest of my body. Sure enough, the lack of muscle tone in my abdomen and my legs were equally as discouraging...expecially since I had put so much time and effort into my health the past few years. In such a short time, it all seems to have unraveled, and I feel (and look!) like I am back at square one.

Here's the good news ~ I don't have to resign myself to staying unfit. I am now well enough to begin my exercise routine again. I have the time..the means...the know-how...and the motivation.

Here's even better news ~ I may be weaker on the outside, but my Ultimate Trainer has been giving me a good workout lately. He's been strengthening my inner being and opening my vision up to new and exciting possibilities. It's not's often very painful. But we've all heard the expression, "No pain, no gain." This seems to apply to our inner growth as well.

That said, it's time to get up off the couch and strengthen my outer body. To be strong on the inside and out may be asking too much. But my flabby arms tell me to give it my all. And the best part is that I can take my Trainer with me as I walk...and stretch...and lift weights...and pedal. Suddenly the summer heat doesn't seem so bad on this January day. In fact, it's a perfect day for a brisk walk.

"There's no easy way out. If there were, I would have bought it. And believe me, it would be one of my favorite things!" 
~Oprah Winfrey

"Just do it!"  ~Nike

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