Friday, March 21, 2014

Being Fit and Focused for God's Kingdom

The fight has already been won. I know how the story ends. These sentences serve as a reminder that the struggles I face in the natural are only that - struggles. They are stumbling blocks to my faith and my growth in Christ. However, every time I think of the price Jesus paid on the cross, I am given impetus to move forward, to persevere and run the race marked out for me by God.

This year, my Lenten journey includes taking care of my temple, the body that God gave me. The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Lifestyle by Pastor Rick Warren.   The plan incorporates five essential elements: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends.  I'm finding myself mixing up these elements, not just paying attention to any particular area, as you'll see as follows.

Fitness and Focus
I have always been physically active, whether it is playing volleyball, walking, jogging, or going to the gym, I was always moving. As I've grown older, I've had to curtail some of these activities. In more recent years, my being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease has cut down drastically on my workout activities.  Hence, I've put on weight due to being placed on steroids to counteract the inflammation caused by the disease. This, however, is as far as I'm concerned, another obstacle to my spiritual journey.  So, this is where I am right now; I know that in order for me to have the victory I must keep my mind and focus on Jesus.  The Bible states, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3 (NIV).

I have found a wonderful way of keeping my focus. I've been walking on the beach.  It is the most amazing experience I could have undertaken.  I've been out at 4:00 in the morning when, apart from my walking companion, the only sound I hear is the waves of the ocean as the tide comes in, strong, frothy and just beautiful; and the sight of the moon, bright white and strongly illuminating the sky, lighting a path for me to see
The moon painting a path right where I was standing.
where I'm going. I feel blessed to be able to experience God's creation in this way.  There are so many things we take for granted in this world, especially here in the U.S. - our freedom to choose, to speak, to go where and when we please, without worrying about being held back or restricted, and most importantly, our freedom to enjoy God's nature.  There are so many people who don't have that privilege: those who are incarcerated, hospitalized or suffering with a physical handicap that makes them unable to see, hear or smell what Mother Nature offers. 

My choosing to take control of my body is a step towards enjoying the freedom that being healthy and fit offers. It is also allowing myself the pleasure of communing with God through His creation and being thankful that I am able to do so.