Earlier this week at cub scouts, one of the Dads talked to the boys about physical fitness and general good health. As I sat in the back of the room, I heard him talk about getting enough sleep, eating right and getting enough exercise. Apparently adults should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and kids should get at least an hour.
A lot of us are in the routine of getting exercise on a daily basis (or we are at least trying to get in the routine of getting exercise on a daily basis). It may be going to the gym, walking or running outside, or playing a sport. I try to get into the office early enough that I can spend time in the gym downstairs without getting in the way of anything else that I have planned for the day.
Although the physical exercise is important for my general health (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. - you'd think I was almost 40 . . .), over the last six months or so I have begun to find it equally important to exercise my faith. To spend time reading scripture, praying and (more recently) writing here. I admit, though, that like my exercise routine, there have been days when I have let other things get in the way and I have skipped my devotional time.
The last time I did that was this past Monday. I was going to a youth small group meeting Monday night and decided that I really had lots of things to do and the group meeting would be worship anyway and that would cover it and did I mention that there were things that I needed to do? You get the picture. Anyway, as I went through my day I found myself feeling kind of out of sorts. I've heard people say that they feel bad all day when they miss their workout - personally, that doesn't happen to me - but I understand the feeling at least a little bit now from having failed to spend time in worship and exercise my faith. I had to stop, close the door to my office and spend a few quiet minutes in prayer. After that I could get back to work and I was much more focused and productive for the remainder of the day.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to challenge anything from cub scouts, I encourage everyone to get their thirty minutes (or more) of physical exercise a day. But, I also encourage everyone to take time to exercise their faith every day. Like any other exercise routine, I think it has to be what works for you. Maybe it will be easier with a friend, or if you join a group. Maybe it will be easier if you spend time in the morning, or the end of the day. Maybe you want to use a devotional guide to direct your time, or maybe you just want to open your Bible randomly every day and spend time reading. Or, maybe you just want to set aside time where you can talk one-on-one with God. Whatever it is, I think it is just important that we establish a routine - a time set aside for worship.
I've struggled to come up with the right quote to go with these thoughts this morning, and I just haven't been able to find something perfect. But, I did stumble across these words of encouragement:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, get out there and exercise your faith!
(I would say something about not forgetting to stretch, but stretching your faith is a whole different post for a different day, for now regular exercise is great)