Let me just be clear about something—I hate exercise. When I was in high school, I went on a Young Life overnight 50-mile bike hike, 25 miles each day.
I remember the thought occurring to me that I could purposefully fall off the bike so that I could ride the rest of the way in the S.A.G. (Support And Gear) vehicle since I was certainly sagging, badly.
Certainly, it’s not the first nor the last time my innate lack of stamina has tried to forestall my resolution to physical fitness. But as a nurse, there is a certain hypocrisy that tries to shadow its demon self if I, at the very least, don’t keep trying. I preach it at my school, to my staff, to my students. And I have found that physical exercise is especially beneficial for my students who have insulin-dependent diabetes.
The positive about diabetes, if one can imagine that such a thing even exists, is that to master this 24/7 life-threatening condition, the person must commit to really knowing this biological machine in which we all reside. In so doing, it is then of utmost importance that disciplined health practices become a way of life. The student with diabetes does not have the luxury of disdaining their physicality like the rest of us ignoramuses. At least, not for long.
Scientifically speaking, exercise opens up the cell wall, making it more permeable for insulin to enter and do its thing. In other words, exercise causes the body to regulate itself more efficiently.
In my mind, God tends to show me tangibles to help me grasp the intangibles. Like exercise is for the body, so does exercising our faith make us more “permeable” to the efficient working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Here are just a few examples (and you may wonder why these come so readily to my mind….)
- Relying on His truth rather than merely what I’m feeling.
- Obedience, even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient.
- Patience and persistence in the face of disappointment.
- Facetime—both in the Book, in prayer, and with His people (yeah, I know we can be annoying, but for some reason He finds us necessary for each other….)
- Forgiveness in the face of unrepentant offenders (as He has forgiven us—it’s in “the prayer”)
And, like all things physical, spiritual progress may also seem slow. No matter. It’s still progress, and the cells are being opened. Like my students, it’s not for us to fret about the progress, but to simply attend to the process and leave the rest up to the Powers That Be.
“It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
Isaiah 55:11 Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved