Last month I took a few days to flesh out my next novel and promptly…
How Exercise and Spiritual Growth are Similar
Yesterday I took a nice long walk in the morning. The temperatures had slid from the low 90s to low 70s. The humidity? Almost unnoticeable–a nice change from the muggy air we’ve had all summer. In other words, the conditions were just about perfect for a walk.
I felt so much joy as I left our subdivision. I started thinking of all the things I’m grateful for, and as usual, the walk became a prayer walk.
- I thanked God for the muscles in my legs, moving me forward, keeping me from pain, supporting my bones and joints and the rest of my body.
- I’ve always been blessed with a strong core. The abdominal and back muscles provide much needed balance to keep me upright.
- My arms allow me to write, shop, cook and hug my loved ones.
- My brain–always spinning, always coming up with new ideas, solving problems–thinking, thinking, thinking!
As I walked past corn fields and pretty trees, I thought about my spiritual growth over the past few years. A large part of this growth has been from setting aside time every weekday to study God’s word, to ponder a chapter of a Christian living book, but most of all to be still and be with the Lord. To pray. To journal my prayers.
With every walk, every yoga session, every 7-minute workout down via an app on my phone, my body gets stronger. I get leaner. The fluffy parts are crowded out by the firmer ones. Yes, it takes a commitment, but I love how I feel after a good yoga session, and I always enjoy walking.
With every chapter read of the Bible, with every journal session, every prayer session, my heart gets closer to Jesus. I get leaner, my life becomes less about myself and more about Him. This summer, I woke up to a very deep truth in my life. I didn’t even realize I’d been struggling with this. But here is the truth:
I get my freedom from God.
I get my identity from God.
I get my security from God.
Too often, I’ve bought into the concept that money, a career, respect from my peers, being a good mom/wife/daughter/friend would give me freedom, identity or security. But none of these things do. Only God does.
Sounds so simple, right?
I know! I’ve paid the concept lip service for years. I’ve always said and thought God alone matters, but the prayers I’d been praying proved me wrong. The prayers I kept repeating convicted me. I realized I’d never really, truly believed God was the only way to my freedom, identity and security.
I do now.
I attended the ACFW conference in Nashville last week. For the first time, I felt so much peace about not holding back. My personality can be a lot to take! But I know God loves my personality, and if He does, I shouldn’t worry about what anyone else thinks. It was so wonderful to just be myself–my out-there, loud, dancing, hugging everyone self. I’m thankful for this peace.
Phillipians 4:4-7 (NIV)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Peace is promised by Jesus. I hope you’ll make Bible study and prayer a priority if you don’t already. Just like exercising, it’s good for your body, good for your soul.
Have you ever struggled with thinking your freedom, identity or security comes from something outside of God?
I’m firing it up on the group blogs this week!
Check out yesterday’s Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired Romance post, “September Means Autumn!” and today’s Pink Heart Society post, “Friday Fun: Football Season–Love It or Hate It?”
Have a terrific weekend!!
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