Three miles or 30 minutes, that was my goal for the morning. The sun was unusually bright as it streamed in through the high gymnasium windows. The glare was blinding, I could hardly read the clock on the wall, but I knew it was within the 11 o’clock hour. The elliptical tracks my workout time but the wall clock represents my real time. It helps me be mindful of what I have already done today, what I’m accomplishing now and what I am anticipating for the rest of the day. It encourages me as I watch the minute hand move!
Today feels like such a drudgery. Well, 30 minutes typically wins anyway, but today I’ll be super satisfied with two miles. Man, it feels like that minute hand isn’t even moving!
I was dogging it, growing tired and discouraged. This workout felt so heavy and long. Finally, it dawned on me. I knew I started at 10:50 but the glare was so intense I had no idea where the minute hand actually was. I suddenly realized that I had already accomplished 20 minutes! The reality of the present caused me to pick up my pace and my attitude lightened, involuntarily. I had renewed strength for this task with only 10 minutes to go!
Does that describe your Christian walk? You are solid as to what hour it is. Your salvation is secure, that it has been bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. And you know what the future holds, that Christ will return one day for you, His bride! But the in-between time feels like a drudgery. You are doing what you are supposed to do as a Christian but there is little joy, excitement or vigor when it comes to your earthly journey. You feel weak, tired and defeated. You, like me on the elliptical feel like you are dogging it.
I began a practice over 15 years ago that has invigorated my daily outlook and changed my prayer life. It helps me be aware of God’s presence, when life feels as if I’m on a boring Christian treadmill.
Whatever passage of scripture I am reading, I write down any description or action of God in the present tense. For example Psalm 34:4 states, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” In my journal I then write: God answers me, God delivers me. My discoveries become topics of conversation with God in my prayer life, as well as food for my soul. This simple technique lifts the drudgery. I become aware of God’s presence! I am then more eager to pray, “Thank you for hearing me! Thank you for answering! Thank you for helping me!” I then talk to God about things and people who are important to me. This particular verse challenges me to ask God for specific help in areas that I am full of fear.
The reality of God in the present is freeing, no matter the circumstances. That is why Paul in prison could sing praises. And he gives us countless scenarios of holding God’s hand in the midst of earthly crises: prison, beatings, shipwrecks and physical ailments that don’t go away, to mention a few. Christians can certainly experience crushing circumstances that may or may not change, but God’s character does not change. One unchanging characteristic of God is that He is always at work. In the book of John, “Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”(John 5:17) It revives my soul when I am challenged to believe that God is at work today, even if I do not see it.
It is discouraging and disheartening when we don’t see God changing circumstances to our liking. These are times I have to choose to believe God is at work, but perhaps it is for the next generation or the next. Sometimes I just can’t make myself believe. Those are the days that this verse would prod me to pray, “God please help me believe you hear me. Help me not lose faith in you as I wait on you. I may not fully see your answers or understand your reasoning until I step into heaven.”
We serve the same God as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as Peter, Paul and Mary (no musical pun intended lol). God is just as active now as He was then. Intertwining the reality of His presence with the acceptance of His will and timing provides stamina for today. It “picks up my pace” in the seemingly, lack of movement of God days. Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
You are not on a treadmill or elliptical. You are on a beautiful journey. You are not alone. He is present. He is at work, all the time. Try this little technique and see if it involuntarily picks up your pace and changes your attitude. Enjoy your Christian journey dear friend, He is present!
“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:7
Thrive Leadership Foundation