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Friday, March 18, 2011

Lenten Exercise for Body and Soul

This week, I finally hit my stride with exercising and made it to the gym three times.  For those of you who are in better shape than I, this is not much of an accomplishment.  However, for a non-exerciser like me, it is a BIG step!  It was tough to go, especially today when I had a busy and stressful morning at work, stayed late to finish something up, and left the church office feeling tired and ready to put my feet up.  It took a great effort of the will to drive to the gym instead of heading home, but I am SO glad I went.  I cannot begin to describe how good I felt afterward, which of course made all the effort worthwhile.

I am also enjoying my Lenten commitment of using my workout as a time to make space for God.  I began by bringing along a card with a few requests written on it.  As I exercised and prayed my way through the list, I found God prompting me to remember many other persons and situations as well.  I quickly realized that I need to always bring more blank cards and a pen!  What I am learning is that the more I pray, the more I feel the need to pray, and the more requests impress themselves on my heart.  This discipline of body and soul is a good one on many levels for me, and I am excited to see how God will use this time to stretch (literally and figuratively!) and challenge me.

Today, I also brought along a devotional book about finding God in the silence, and I read a few pages as I pedaled on the recumbent bike.  As my legs worked feverishly and my heart pounded, my mind was quieting itself.  An amazing sensation. . . .   It made me wonder at how many other points in my day could I listen to God while going about seemingly mundane tasks.  I have a quote on my fridge from St. Ignatius Loyola that sums up how I am feeling today. . . .


"To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory.
But, a man with a dung fork in his hand,
and a woman with a slop pail
give Him glory too.
God is so great, that all things give Him glory,
if you mean that they should."

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