“Gittin’ Old Ain’t fer Sissies!”
The bumper sticker made me laugh out loud (or LOL, depending on your age). I had just celebrated my sixty-third birthday, and the aches and pains of mild arthritis, and a pinched nerve at C8, made me realize how true this statement is!
To combat the symptoms of aging, I’ve had to change my lifestyle, incorporating things that haven’t been regular habits:
Massage. For the overall aches, as well as arthritis, massage therapy has helped loosen my stiff and aching joints and muscles. I have loved incorporating this into my life! Love it! I can rationalize the expense, because it is a medical necessity!
Exercise. There. I said it. The “E” word. Did I mention I hate exercise? Especially in the heat of South Louisiana? I am currently using my Fitbit. I have fallen in love with this little encourager! It helps me track my exercise, and cheers for me when I reach my goals! It also reminds me to move each hour, which is huge for someone that sits and writes, or sits and reads, or well honestly, just loves to sit! With exercise, I have felt a difference in my energy level, and a lessening of the aches and pains. But did I mention I hate exercise? It’s HARD!
Chiropractor. Indeed, the chiropractic adjustments have helped my pinched nerve. But when the doctor takes my head and cranks it all the way around my neck, I feel like a possessed woman in a horror film. Not to mention wanting to scream. In the long run, my pain is relieved. The adjustment is terrifying and uncomfortable, but worth it.
By incorporating these practices into my life, I am seeing a decrease in my pain and an increase in endurance and flexibility. There is an overall improvement in my health. And, I just plain feel better!
In the same way, we need to discipline our spiritual lives.
“…discipline (train) yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7
Disciplining ourselves for godliness ain’t fer sissies either! Here are two spiritual disciplines that will start you on your journey:
READING THE BIBLE. One foundational practice is reading scripture. When you make it a habit to daily read God’s Word, you will be surprised to find new nuggets of truth jumping out at you like never before.
Believe it or not, there are many ways to read the scripture. You can use your own personal Bible, or a Bible app. You can choose one translation, or compare many translations. How about writing the passage you are reading? This will help commit it to memory. I also find it very helpful to read aloud, especially if I can’t seem to focus (or am half asleep!). By reading aloud I am better able to comprehend what the passage is saying.
Will you discipline yourself to make time for reading the Bible? We need Jesus every day, and the best way to find Him is through God’s Word. It may mean getting up earlier than normal. That’s hard for many people, and definitely not fer sissies! But God is faithful, and He will gently wake you each day, until it becomes second nature. Just ask Him and see!
FASTING. Then there’s the “chiropractic” of all spiritual disciplines: Fasting. I love food. All kinds. That’s why I fast a half day from time to time. Fasting is uncomfortable but it takes my mind off my food idol. It breaks the hold food has over me (hello, sugar! I’m kissing you goodbye today!). Praying for others while we fast stops our self focus in its tracks. Focusing on Christ puts our priorities in order. It reminds us of this: Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Let’s ponder this anew and dwell on it. Let’s hunger and thirst after Jesus.
Will you discipline yourself to fast? Will you fill your heart and mind with Christ, instead of filling your stomach?
Just as physical exercise strengthens our bodies, spiritual exercise strengthens our souls. We can run with endurance, rather than get tripped up by sin and self focus.
How’s your exercise program going?
Will you discipline yourself for godliness? Or are you a sissie?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
Grace be with you,
This post was originally published on 9-20-14.