Getting In Shape—Physically and Spiritually!
January 1, 1970Dear Friends,
Recently I joined a local YMCA to get in shape. During an orientation session, a trainer demonstrated how to start and stop the treadmill and other equipment. He showed me how to set controls and use the digital displays to keep track of everything from time to heart rate. However, when I began using the equipment myself, I was more than a bit confused.
I started the treadmill and even managed to pause the machine in order to check how far and how fast I had walked, but I could not find my heart rate listed anywhere. Moving on to the rowing machine, I had no idea I needed to slide my body back and forth as I rowed until my husband told me. My arms tired within a few minutes, and I wondered how long I should continue. After all, I wanted to be able to lift my arms the next morning. How much exercise might be too much?
The stationary bicycle was another problem. I could set nothing on the control dial, so I just pedaled for a few minutes and moved on. The weight bars looked like more than I could handle. I skipped them. I left after that first visit feeling that I had accomplished little. I did, however, realize that when I met with the trainer for a second orientation session, I would ask some specific questions.
To me the whole experience has been analogous to the Christian life. Some of us establish a relationship with Christ as children, so we have an opportunity to learn and grow through our church and Christian friends. But perhaps we’ve dedicated our lives to Christ as adults and have no idea how faith plays out in daily life.
We might have questions about prayer: Do you pray aloud or silently? How long do you need to pray. What is the proper position? Where is the proper place? How does prayer work, anyway? Then there’s Bible reading. How often and how long should one read the Bible? What happens if you don’t understand what you’re reading?
Questions, questions, questions!
The trainer assured me that if I had problems on the equipment others in the room would notice excessive “beeps” coming from my equipment and run to my aid. That proved to be true.
As Christians, we may also start out with more enthusiasm than knowledge. We don’t yet realize what we don’t know. That’s when others might help us. And that’s why it’s important to be part of a community of faith.
At the Y, I finally signed up for sessions with a personal trainer. She will design a program geared for my physical condition and age. I’m looking forward to working with her.
Christians also have personal trainers available. They’re called mentors. Just find someone older of the same gender and ask him or her to walk with you. They’ll be honored to be asked, and you’ll gain a new friend.
This getting in shape physically is going to take time. And I’m finding that getting in shape spiritually also takes time—a lifetime, really! Currently our church board reads: Exercise your faith; walk with God. I like that! I hope you'll join me.
February 13-15, 2009 - Friends of the Heart - Women's retreat for Bethesda Evangelical Congregational Church at Kenbrook Bible Camp, Lebanon.
March 8 - Shirley on Author's Panel at Elizabethville branch of the Dauphin County Library System.
March 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Friends of the Heart - Women's retreat at Zion Evangelical Congregational Church, Pitman.
March 26, 6:30 p.m. - Shirley speaking at Chester County Women's Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Conference, Honey Brook.
March 27-28 - Friends of the Heart - Women's retreat for Paxton United Methodist Church, Harrisburg, at Middlecreek Manor, Gettysburg.
April 18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Friends of the Heart - Women's Retreat for Brookfield Bible Church, Harrisburg.
May 9 - Mother's Day Banquet, Calvary Independent Church, Lykens.
November 15, 4-6 p.m. - Shirley speaking for Ladies Tea, at Camp Hebron, Halifax.