I was tired and discouraged, ready to hang it up. At breakfast with three of my prayer partners I asked, “What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever successfully accomplished?” I don’t remember their answers, but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to get healthier, and that would involve doing something about my health habits – specifically my completely stagnant and sedentary lifestyle. It was 2013 and I needed to get some exercise.
I decided to do it. I told them that I was going to do something every day. Whether it was a two-mile brisk walk or a 10 minute walk around the block, I was going to do some physical activity every day. On Sunday mornings I would get up at 5 (which is actually my normal Sunday morning wake-up time), and go walk before my shower and breakfast. Most often t was a 20 minute walk. Sometimes it was a 10 minute walk. Other days I would go two miles or longer.
After a while I decided to join a gym and make use of a personal trainer. Michael was an excellent trainer. That means he would always push me, but he would also be extremely patient. I could do very little of of the things I could do. I recall one challenge involved simply getting up off the weight bench (with hand weights in my hands). There is more to it than it sounds – at least it was when I first started doing it several times in a row. As time when on, I gained core strength, stamina, and endurance. Before long I graduated from one-on-one personal training to the group workouts they held each day at the gym.
In 2015 I had to ask my prayer partners another question. I had initially planned to retire (reposition might be a better word) by 2016. But I was having second thoughts. I didn’t know why, but I was feeling ready to continue on past 2016. One of my partners asked me a question that started me thinking. When I told them I was re-considering my retirement plans, he said, “You need to think about why you said that in the first place and what has changed to change your mind.”
Initially I thought it might be financial considerations. I wasn’t sure I could afford to retire. But that wasn’t what had changed. I realized that I was feeling more healthy. I had more endurance. I wasn’t as tired. I was capable of continuing on in the work to which God had called me.
We may not feel bad about feeling bad. But we may feel bad for a legitimate reason. We may be tired, worn out, and spent. That can happen at any age. And more and more people are finding that their physical health is compromised to the extent that they have no desire to keep going. They sit and watch TV. THey sit at a desk for their job. They get no exercise. They feel bad because they are physically in poor shape.
Health experts say that sitting is the new smoking. According to an article published on the Mayo Clinic website:
Any extended sitting — such as at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen — can be harmful. An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking. However, unlike some other studies, this analysis of data from more than 1 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting. Another study found that sitting time contributed little to mortality for people who were most active.
The article goes on to advise getting up from your chair regularly, using a standing desk, or even a walking desk, having meetings on the go (walking as a group rather than sitting at a conference table), and the like.
Sometimes we suffer for reasons beyond our control. Other times we can take steps to overcome our malaise. It may be simply a matter of getting some exercise. Add to that the studies that have been done with students who exercise before class sessions in school. A New York Times opinion piece offers:
While admitting that the studies are limited, a panel of experts assembled by the institute says that “a growing body of evidence” suggests children who are more active are better able to focus their attention, are quicker to perform simple tasks, and have better working memories and problem solving skills than less-active children. They also perform better on standardized academic tests.
Ben Sternke says that our physical capital is more important than intellectual or financial capital for the sake of God’s mission. While spiritual capital is the most vitally important, and relational capital is second in importance for serving the cause of the rule and reign of Jesus, if we’re not physically capable of doing anything, we cannot have the impact in others’ lives to which God calls us.
If we have no sense of God’s calling, or purpose for life that’s another matter. That’s a matter for tomorrow.
God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:20