Since it was an unusually warm February, I went outside one late afternoon after work. As I began walking the neighborhood, the rambling of a piano coming from the open window of someone’s house sounded like the thoughts playing in my head—flat, off key, in need of the right chord.
I inserted AirPods and cranked it, but my thoughts trumped the music. Who was playing these somber ideas and offensive notions, unapproved by me. Who let them in?
I was being trailed by lies and false beliefs foreign to my heart. “Nelson, you will never be the person you want to be. Your book will never get published.”
January 2023 had already past, along with my forgotten exercise goals. Earlier that day, feeling like a failure, I made the mistake of scrolling on my iPhone, during my 30-minute lunch break, including watching Oprah ask her 2.3 million followers on Instagram: “Have you kept your promise to yourself?”
My wife and I had regularly exercised at Planet Fitness after renewing our membership in January, but her painful kidney stone attack set her back a week which turned into two weeks. And I used the excuse of cold weather to not attend F3, a national men’s exercise group that meets at 5:30 a.m. three times a week in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Most folks don’t realize there is a relationship between physical and spiritual exercise. While I continued walking, I pulled out my AirPods and pulled 26 words from my brain, previously memorized, arsenal stored to be used when another battle ensued in my mind.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV, emphasis mine)
I quoted Paul’s words softly to myself. Then I did what I’ve done for decades, admitting to God what specific lies were broadcasting in my psyche–every single one. Talking to God and also quoting His words (back to Him) is powerful weaponry against the enemy’s attacks, the ones that seem to always occur between my ears.
I also pulled from memory another verse I love: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)
After walking close to four miles and exercising the right God gives each of us, His children, to approach His throne, I felt better and even more confident about the future.
From his book, Through the Wilderness of Loneliness, Tim Hansel wrote, “One of the best things we can do amidst difficult feelings is strenuous exercise. Stretch your body. Stretch your emotions. Stretch your spirit. Stretch your mind. The greatest releasers of emotions are prayer and exercise. They are God’s design to help us let go of frustration.” (pg. 43) Hansel, also included a poem:
As children bring their broken toys
with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God,
because He was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him
in peace, to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help,
with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How can You be so slow?”
“My child,” He said,
“What could I do?
You never did let go.”
What do you need to let go of?
pictures courtesy of pexels.com