By Don White
“All they can take is six weeks,” Tom said.
Tom is a manager of the health club we belong to, and we were talking about the waning commitment to fitness goals people made for the new year.
We also joined the club as a New Year’s commitment. We saw Tom at a restaurant shortly after New Year’s Day, just as the annual holiday guilt came to our home, as it always does, like a caboose pulled by a long train of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies, and New Year snacks. It was just the perfect time to run into my friend, the health club manager.
“Do you give family discounts?” I asked, sitting there with my wife, two daughters, and son-in-law. “How about pastoral discounts?”
He chuckled. “Come on in and I’ll make you all a good deal.”
“How’s business these days?”
“Great!” He laughed again. “It’s the New Year.”
I understood. Along with diet plans and exercise equipment, the health club business grows healthier by the well-intentioned desire to turn over a new leaf at the new year. But how long until the new exercise machines become high-tech clothes hangers shoved away in the corner of the guest room? And how long does the commitment hold out to keep going back to the health club?
“They’ve already started fadin’ out,” Tom told me last night. “It started happening in mid-February.” He said, “All they can take is six weeks” before the flood of new members begin to disappear from sight.
Tom and I have a couple things in common. We’re both Beatles fans, and we’re both pastors. In fact, Tom leads church services each Sunday at the health club where he works. What a perfect place to get spiritually fit.
Of course, the parallels between spiritual and physical fitness are obvious. And in view of all the unused treadmills, weight machines, and exercise bikes, standing like abstract steel statues all around us, we couldn’t help but make spiritual applications.
How many health club members bemoan the reading on their bathroom scale? How many are frustrated with the feeling in their lungs after walking up half a flight of stairs? How many are tired of being tired after the smallest of chores? There are abundant resources to remedy all that at the club, but only if they take advantage of it.
And the same is true with spiritual health. Like every other pastor, I’ve heard the same complaints from people about their spiritual lives. They feel disconnected with the church, disconnected with Christ, and they don’t know much about the Bible, and they don’t know how to pray.
The thing is, there are already abundant resources to remedy those problems and more – if they make use of them.
What groups and programs can you be involved in at church? Are you committed to any church at all? Does your Bible sit neglected in the corner, or do you regularly open it and feed your spirit? Do you take time to pray, whether it’s on your knees, at the kitchen table, or sitting on the back porch?
Need a walking partner? Take a walk with God. Tell him your struggles, and thank him for your blessings, getting both spiritually and physically fit at the same time.
Spiritual fitness, like physical fitness, is not just for New Year resolutions. It’s a necessity of life all year round. And they both can go hand in hand.
Pick a Bible verse. Write it down and take it with you on a walk, meditating on the words. Then on your way back home, talk to God about life. Do sit-ups or light weights as you listen to Christian teachings on the radio or your favorite Christian music.
For our part, it’s much easier now for my wife and me to get on our favorite exercise equipment at the club. But that’s only because so many have already given up on their fitness plans. Don’t be one of those people.
We really have no excuse for not being healthy in body or spirit. Get up. Pray. Read. Move. Meditate. Worship. Walk. Jog. And if you’ve missed a day, or even several days, just start again.
It’s that simple. And it’s worth it.
So, where are you on your goals? Whether physical, spiritual, or writing goals, don’t give up! Walking and praying should offer many ideas for writing material, or help solve a writing problem with a current project. Try it.
See what inspires you along the way.