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For a number of years, I’ve suffered from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Because of this, I’m forced to supplement my underperforming gland with synthetic hormone.

I guess it’s helped. After losing about forty pounds a few years ago doing low carb, my body seems to have settled in the 210s. Even with supplemental thyroid, I don’t lose–or gain.

I decided to do something about that. Beginning about five weeks ago, I hit the gym. I’ve been going six days  a week, alternating cardio, and weightlifting, days. This had worked out for the most part.

I say “for the most part” because I’ve hit some speedbumps on the road to wellness:

I strained my low back doing squats (my fault–I wasn’t wearing a belt).

I’ve begun experiencing what are termed “exertional headaches.” For a phenomenon this common (all over the Internet), I’d never heard of them. Guess I’m in the lucky ten percent of the populace that gets to experience:

                            

I know that’s gross–but it’s exactly like what an exertional headache feels like. In my case, it presented as an intense bilateral pain in the base of my skull. Having never had a headache like this before in forty-five years of life, I thought I was going to stroke out. Yes. It. Was. That. Bad…

Having since read up on the phenomenon, I’m not as concerned. However, I’m bummed. Because the only cure seems to be time. Time to heal whatever damage I caused via poor form, straining, performing the Valsalva Maneuver (holding one’s breath to stabilize the thoracic cavity).

It’s a bummer because I was making progress, getting stronger. But it is what it is. Pain is warning which tells us that something is awry. My body didn’t like something, and I’ve got to slow down. It’s not as young as it used to be, and I’ve been (he who knew very little exercise) pushing it pretty hard.

Now it has pushed back.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s the lesson of the Tortoise and the Hare; namely, that slow and steady wins the race.

These speedbumps will be overcome. And I will be the best me I can be.

For Jesus.

For my family.

For my friends.

And coworkers.

You see, I used to view the gym as a temple to the self, as a form of self-worship. I don’t see it that way anymore. I see it as taking care of the one and only temple God has given me: my body (the temple of the Holy Spirit). At the same time, that while “physical exercise profits little,” and that “godliness profits in all,” there’s still value in exercise.

It’s a way for me to buffet (not buh-fay) my body. I’ve spent a lifetime buffeting, eating what I wanted. Now, I’m eating, and exercising, for a purpose. And that purpose is many-fold; chief among them is to be used of God for as long as He wills.

At the same time I’ve been pursuing physical fitness, I’ve also been pursuing spiritual, mental, and emotional fitness via: Bible reading, prayer, a faith community, and counseling.

If this is what a midlife crisis is, it’s not that bad. 😉

In closing, I’d like to say this:

All praise and glory to God, for in Him I (we) live and move and have our being.

>eternityphoto © 2007 Rick Audet | more info (via: Wylio)

Since I’ve been eating differently, I’ve also been exercising. And by exercising I mean that I walk the stairs at work. Twenty-two flights of stairs. I figure the smokers get their smoke breaks–why not a health break, right? Thus, I try to go up the stairs three times a day, five days a week.

When I first started, I huffed and puffed, and was generally out of breath; now, my legs don’t really get tired, nor am I nearly as winded. It’s not gripping–it’s not a nature walk, or a hike, but I guess it counts for something, right?

For the longest time, it took me seven minutes to get to the top of those twenty-two flights; now, I’ve mostly got it down to six. That’s right, six minutes to the top. I know, this from a self-avowed “hater of exercise.” I can hardly believe it myself.

Sometimes, though, ok, a lot of times, it feels like a walk to nowhere. The weight isn’t coming off as fast as it was. The exercise is monotonous, tedious.

Sometimes–a lot of times–my faith feels like this, too. A walk to nowhere. The Bible is stale, dry, God seems distant, silent. I wonder the value of this exercise of faith. Where does it get me? Where will it lead me?

It’s like trying to climb Jacob’s ladder, and endless rungs are continuously being added. I never reach the top.

Do you ever feel that way?

But then I guess I’m not supposed to reach the top here, in this life, right? We don’t reach the top, right? A lifelong faith walk takes a little longer than six minutes to get to its destination.

And maybe that’s what it’s about–the exercise of the faith: I won’t arrive–we won’t arrive–at our soul’s destination until the mortal coil has been shuffled off.

Just as my faithful pursuit of physical exercise will reap some eventual rewards–a healthier body–so, too, will the faithful exercise of faith. Especially through the dry times. It’s not easy, but has its own rewards.

Maybe that’s what God wants: faithfulness. In season, and out.

As it says in the liturgy:

“O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
Increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may so pass through things temporal,
that we lose not the things eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.”

What’s your experience been? How do you handle the dry seasons?