Theresa L. Rowe is a personal trainer, fitness instructor, radio and television talk show host and author of Shaped by Faith: 10 Secrets to Strengthening Your Body and Soul (Guideposts, 2009). You can learn more about her unique ministry at ShapedByFaith.com. The following is an excerpt she is sharing with MAF for the Shaped by God campaign this month.
There is something uniquely spiritual about taking an early morning walk—enjoying the great outdoors as we commune with God about our day. Walking in the morning, I often sense that it’s just me and God, discussing the day ahead. From Psalm 5:3 we learn; “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (NIV).
Years ago, I discovered that exercising in the morning awakens and strengthens my body while pouring energy into all of my cells. The first exercise that my cardiologist suggested after surgery was walking. The doctor knew that walking would provide just the right cardiovascular level for my mending heart. The key to rebuilding my endurance was taking it one step at a time—literally, by walking.
Doctors did not originate the idea that walking is beneficial. In Genesis 3, God is walking in the garden in the cool of the evening. As he walks, God wants Adam to commune with Him. So it is that when we walk, we can enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and look for Him to commune.
If you would like to combine your physical and spiritual endurance exercises, try walking with God for fifteen minutes each day. You will indeed experience His supernatural strength. Increase your time spent with Him by two minutes per week and the peace that transcends all understanding will embrace you from head to toe.
Regardless of your circumstances or situation, He will see you through—He will help you endure more than anything else on this earth. The benefits of time spent exercising with God are immeasurable. You will start to notice a decrease in your stress and anxiety level, cholesterol, body fat, blood pressure and insulin levels. Most importantly, our hope and faith increase as we allow God to direct our steps each day.
Allowing God to initiate our steps keeps our minds focused on walking straight ahead as we fix our eyes on Him. The book of Proverbs tells us that all of our ways are in full view of the Lord and that the Lord determines our steps. As you pour out your heart to God while walking, He pours out His blessings of peace and direction.
Here is a prayer that I say out loud each morning while spending time with God. You may find it helpful, or you may want to create your own:
Lord Jesus, I ask that You would direct my steps today. I want to walk and move with You all day long. Protect my steps and direction, Lord, as You lead me. Keep my feet from wandering off Your path today. If I wander off Your path, quickly place me back on the path of righteousness. I desire to walk where You want me to walk today, Lord. Amen.”
Once you have taken the first step by consistently walking, you’ll find that your endurance will be elevated. Then, you’ll be ready to take the next step: running. Remember, no matter how slow or fast you run, God keeps pace with you.
In Feb, 2002 staphylococcus mites (pron,’might-ease’) eventually colonized on my mitral valve 6 months after a ‘teeth cleaning’ from my dentist’s hygenist (the Wallgreen’s label didn’t reccommend the right dosage – not enough amoxycillin, and too late). Had to have the mitral valve replaced under open-heart surgery. Almost didn’t make it, according to my wife. I don’t know what your ‘mending heart’ has suffered but I’m aware of the recovery process – with walks. I used to do that, daily, in recovery after surgery, with my little 17 1/2 year-old doggie ‘Bobbie-girl’ on our daily walks. She died Nov 20th, last year, a little over 2 months ago. I’m not the same athlete in high school or college I used to be and now in retirement, but I know this: walking with God is a necessary and daily requirement – with or without a beloved friend. God eases the pain during walks with Him!
Many of us following your blog, and way beyond your young age, can no longer run (we remember what it felt like, however, and I used to do 200-mile rides, cross-state, on a weekend on my road bike!). We can still, however, ‘walk’ with God who brings energy and substance to our lives, even beyond our youth. Remember that as you age.