Hebrews 12:11-13 – “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”
My mother had much to deal with in her later years. Not only did she have the challenge of living with the decreased balance issues of old age, but she also lived with the same neurological disease that I do – although her symptoms were not as severe as mine. She was also blind and hard of hearing. As a result, she found it increasingly difficult to keep moving. But, keep moving she did, for many years. It was definitely painful for both herself and those who watched.
It would have been much simpler if she just allowed others to fetch and carry for her, and she did so when she was not in familiar surroundings. However, she waved off such offers of help in her apartment. Simpler and easier is not always better. She realized that she must keep moving to maintain her mobility and independence.
Simpler and easier is not always better.
I bore witness to this one summer day on a spontaneous road trip. My friend and I surprised my mother with a trip to a nearby mountain park, about an hour’s drive away from her home. We stopped along the way to grab sandwiches and cold drinks. I stayed with my mother in the car while my friend ran into the café to grab our takeout. Once in the park, we found a table that was only a few yards away from the car park but still provided us with a beautiful view. We enjoyed a leisurely picnic!
After lunch, my mother was in the mood for dessert, and we headed off to our family’s favourite ice-cream shoppe, about forty-five minutes away from where we were. My friend and I insisted that my mother make herself comfortable on the bench outside the shop while we waited in line. The 15-minute wait was worth it! Ice-cream cones in hand, we joined my mother on the bench and people watched for a while. My friend and I enjoyed the warm sun and were reluctant to move when it was time to go home – but we could still move.
My mother was another story. She could not get up from the bench!
We were afraid to pull her upright, given her advanced years. It was a struggle for her, but after several attempts, my mom finally staggered to her feet. We made our way back to our car only a few feet away. My friend and I thought we had tired her out with too much activity and felt guilty! My mother’s struggle to get out of the car upon our arrival at her condo only added to our guilt. We accompanied her to her suite and made sure she was comfortable on her couch before we headed home.
We nearly killed her with kindness
When I called my mother the next day to apologise, she reassured me that our adventures had not taxed her energy. She went on to explain; we had nearly killed her with kindness. She had sat for far too long. Her back stiffened; her leg muscles had seized from inactivity. It was only by sheer willpower that she managed to stand. After my friend and I left her that night, my mom took a leisurely stroll down her condo building hallways. She knew if she were to move at all the next day, she had to stretch her legs that evening.
If we are not careful, we become sedentary in our faith-life. We slip into passivity, relying solely on other believers to bring us our daily spiritual food. As a result, our faith muscles and spiritual reflexes become cumbersome and stiff. We lose endurance, and our appetite for the things of God wanes. The more stagnant we become, the less likely we are to step out in obedience.
Are you feeling stuck? Move! Even if it’s just a few steps at a time.
Once we do begin to move forward, the good news is that we shake off the spiritual doldrums and step into what we were created to be.
Living a disciplined life is not always fun or convenient. But by maintaining a daily spiritual regime of Bible reading, prayer, and worship, we exercise our spiritual muscles of perseverance, obedience, trust, and faith. As a result, when called to action, our reflexes will be sharp, we will move with ease, and we will effectively carry His presence into our world.
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Until Next Week,
©2021 Katherine Walden