Walk It Off | The Newest Chapter in the Second Edition of Life Sucks Seek God


Walk It Off

Jesus walked almost everywhere.  It is kind of hard to miss this when you read the words of the Gospels.

Walking is a form of exercise that nearly anyone can do and the average speed at which we walk is roughly, three miles per hour. One writer took this idea and theorized that since God walks (see Genesis 3 and the Gospels) then God must speak at three miles per hour. That's a comforting thought. We need to start walking; start moving.  Rather than wait, we need some action!  Author and speaker, Mark Manson suggests that rather than look for inspiration and motivation we ought to start with action because action leads to inspiration then it leads to motivation. 

When life sucks (which it does many days) I need to start moving. I don’t think we give movement the credit it deserves as a spiritual practice. Think about it. Consider the stories and tales of the trails that people have been hiking and walking throughout the centuries, That's an important thing for us to remember: hope can be found on the journey. 

For me, in the midst of my grief, it was tough to get moving many days. I reflected and thought about what things brought me joy.  After Heather’s death, for a time, I got moving and redecorated the front deck.  I made it into a space, outside, where I felt joy. I also knew I needed to do more. I needed to start moving. The easiest thing I have found through the years is to start walking. However, I really had not considered walking as a spiritual practice. But I got up and started walking. Over time, things began to shift. As I began to move, my body started to change, as did my mind and with the movement came inspiration and motivation.

Prior to the death of Heather, I walked a lot as part of my exercise routine. It was part of my health and wellness plan too.  When my doctor said I needed to lose some weight, walking, bike riding, and swimming were part of my plan. My daughter and I hiked the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail. It was a journey I took with prayer beads and prayed the Jesus prayer but I had not considered it among my spiritual practices.

There is a book entitled, “The Way of the Pilgrim” and it is based in Russia and part of the Orthodox tradition of the Christian faith. In that book, it talks about how walking and praying the Jesus prayer, the pilgrim draws closer to God. There's a simplicity to walking. It doesn't require equipment.  If walking isn’t possible, other movements can take the place. It is about movement. We take the ability we've been given and you just move! I think we've lost that simplicity.

Have you tried being NEAT?  No, not cleaning up your room or garage (though that can be exercise too).  NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This is a big scientific phrase for all the calories you burn but that don’t count as exercise.  It is the small things all day - pointing with your finger or grasping a drill, doing needle-point or tapping your toe.  Kids - get the wiggles out!  But grown-ups can do it too!  Add to those.  Right now, tilt your head from side to side.  If you can, stretch your hands to the sky and wiggle your fingers…wiggle your toes.  MOVE!!! And do it every day.  That is what NEAT is about - movement.

For me, it began with a step. I found that having a coach through my health plan was a help too but so was finding a trainer on YouTube who gave input on exercises that were “outside of the box” and fun.  I also found apps for my phone like CashWalk, WinWalk, and even Walgreens Pharmacy, that offer incentives for taking steps and other health practices like sleeping enough and checking blood pressure.

The valley of suck bogs a person down. When I talk with people dealing with grief and suffering, I see the effects on their bodies without hearing a word. There is no escaping the “stuckness” in our words and life when life sucks. I know the frustration in my own life and the impact on my health and wholeness.  

Taking a “step” is not going to make the grief go away. Yet, there is something about moving and maybe there is something more to Jesus walking everywhere than we will really ever know. Could it be that God does “move” and speak at three miles per hour? In the beginning, God walked the garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). In my experience, God still does.

I have found it all the more vital to walk when life sucks the worst. Sometimes, it is the only thing I can do. God has always been willing to join me on the walk too.

I do get inspiration as I walk. I think things through more clearly as the adrenaline and the endorphins begin to kick in I realize how much more I want to eat better and I want to be more active and how I want to enjoy life because life is meant to be lived.  God intends us to find hope in living and we are meant to live until our very last breath! Each step we take we move closer to wholeness and hopefully, toward holiness.

Ok, ready for another step? I have got one more thing to touch on that you do not want to miss.  You’ve made it to the last chapter and after that? Well, I’ve thrown in a special gift! Turn the page, and take your next step.

To get the whole book, click on the link to the right and Life Sucks Seek God for yourself!---->

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