Walking as Worship

Blog / Produced by The High Calling

You’re a Christian? Really? I had no idea.

I had been taking aerobics classes with Perky Fred, an outspoken follower of Christ, for nearly two years. Evidently, while sweating my way through grapevine, v-step, and jumping jack routines, I hadn’t come close to demonstrating the joy of the Lord. Not even once.
I began taking aerobics classes following my father’s death from a brain tumor. Having spent more time on a cancer ward than I wanted to ever again, I learned what cancer looked like, sounded like, and smelled like. I learned that, although there is no known cause for some cancers, they are often spread through fat cells in one’s body. Although I knew, ultimately, I had no control over whether or not I got cancer; I had no intention of allowing it to hitchhike throughout all five feet, eleven inches of me.
I signed up for Fred’s class through my town’s recreation department but wasn’t happy about it. I went home and told my husband, “The instructor is a guy. And he’s perky.”
I think it’s wrong for people who are torturing others to be perky about it.
I went to Fred’s class faithfully for a number of years and also had a walk mapped out which gave me a good workout. My kids were young, so my husband and I worked out a routine that allowed him to be home so I could exercise on a regular basis. I learned to work alternating muscle pairs. I learned where the gastrocnemius muscle was and how to pronounce it. I got in shape. I looked good. But never, not once, was I perky about the whole enterprise.
Life changed, we moved, and the routine got disrupted. I now find myself in that unhappy state known as “having let myself go.”
My husband has exercised regularly for as long as I have known him. He’s like a fitness machine and struggles, I think, to understand why I won’t do something he believes would be so good for me. He tells me I will have more energy if I exercise on a regular basis. I shoot him a look that says, “That is a lie straight from the pit of Hell.”
I have never felt increased energy from exercise. I have never experienced a runner’s high. I think I may, possibly, have been born without endorphins.
Last week I dug to the bottom of a drawer, found some high-tech wicking workout wear, and strapped on a pair of Nike’s. I began walking again. In the past I have tried; I truly have, to find the motivation to get myself back on track. Attempting to set a good example for my kids didn’t do it for me. Neither did the incentive of wanting to look fabulous in my uber-expensive mother-of-the-bride dress. Here’s what got me to do the thing I hate:
I began to think of my inaction as sin.
I learned when I was young, about sins of commission and sins of omission—things we do that we know to be wrong, and things we fail to do that we know are right. There are sins of commission that hold no particular temptation for me: drug abuse, pornography, gambling. Yet I know how hard it can be, for those who struggle with these particular sins, to see real change in attitude and behaviors.
My sin is one of omission, of failing to care for the body God gave me. As much as I hate exercise, however, I found myself strangely intrigued by L.L. Barkat’s series at The High Calling: The Miracle You Can Have Every Day. In response to one of my comments, she wrote:
Our souls are embodied. We have real needs that get all tangled up in our physiology. I think it's good to consider our physiology as something to be cared for as a way to care for our souls.
I suspect I will never grow to love exercise, and maybe that’s the point. I don’t understand why some sins are hard for others and, I’m sure, others don’t get why exercise is such a struggle for me. I don’t like having to make time for it during my day, I don’t like the way it makes me sweat, and I don’t like having to do the extra laundry generated by the addition of work-out clothing.
I’m starting to think God is asking me simply to acknowledge that soul and body care are hard things for me, ones requiring me to admit my weakness and cling to Him. Maybe He’s asking me to surrender my laziness and sloth as an act of obedience and begin walking as an act of spiritual worship.
I’ve begun again, and I know it’s going to be hard, so please extend me some grace along the way. Because I really can’t promise I’m going to be perky.

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Image by Anthony Pang. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. This is a reprint of a post by TheHIghCalling member Nancy Franson.

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