(part 2 in the installment – “Jesus came to visit me…”)
I really don’t like exercise. I always look for whatever will give me the quickest results as I am admittedly impatient. I’m also struggling with turning 50. It’s more than the sagging, wrinkling, new curves and gray hairs. It is definitely knowing that (probably) 2/3 of my life has come and gone. It is in dealing with the fact that one day, because of my age, I will surely feel irrelevant to my young students. What will God have me do then? Without a doubt, I’m closer to my death than I have ever been, whenever that might be!
I’ve been “working out” when the mood strikes me using this torture device – the ab roller! It promises to give me back that flat stomach of my youth! Ha!
Well, as a result of my visit with Jesus last Thursday, I came to know that I needed to change my strategy significantly.
My visitor and I spoke about the word, “isolation.” You know, it surely has negative connotations. Man was not meant to live alone…Isolation brings thoughts of depression and desperation – at least those are the first thoughts that come to my mind. I was asked to think about it another way. Isolation can also be healing. In fact a certain amount of isolation is necessary for healing and strength.
When I read the gospel each day with my students, we often come across a passage where Jesus (before He has enters into a big task) goes off to the mountain in solitude to pray. I have said to them that Jesus is modeling for us what we should do when we have something difficult to face or a big decision to make – or when we simply need refreshment. I often visit the adoration chapel on our campus. I thought that I was living this message – perhaps not well enough!
This is my new work out equipment. Check it out!
my porch swing
Though it was not specifically told to me that this is my new workout equipment, I was given to know that this is where I needed to “work out” each day this summer – multiple times a day if necessary. “How long am I to sit here?” I queried. “As long as it takes – until nothing can disturb your peace.” Dang! That could be a long time!
Well, I began my workout routine Thursday evening. I sat in the chair, closed my eyes and just listened to the frogs, birds, crickets – then the soft rain – then the thunder. When a bolt of lightning struck close by, I bolted! So much for sitting until NOTHING disturbs my peace! I think God must have chuckled to Himself!
I’ve been working out now about twice a day – once in the early morning and once at dusk – today around noon – just because. I’m finding that the more I practice listening and just being in God’s presence, the easier it becomes (for the most part) to get to that place where I can bask in His peace. At times, I remind myself that God actually lives within me. I concentrate on my breath and my heart beat – and I think of God dwelling deep within me. I’m in awe.
Today, I sat to the far right of the swing and left a place for Jesus to sit beside me. I closed my eyes, listened to the sounds of the birds, the dogs – the breeze – the cars on the highway, and I could swear I felt an electricity on that left side of me – like all my tiny hairs were being drawn up and outward toward Jesus.
As you struggling with age, life, disappointment, pain, too much to do? You need to work out! You need to do the work of being still and listening. If you dedicate yourself to this, I know you will be transformed. I feel it working on me already!!
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10