I rode my bike today. That may not seem like such a big deal to some of you, but to me, it is! My bike must be at least 15 years old. It’s been hanging on hooks in the garage for the last six years or more, gathering dust, grime and cobwebs. So what made me take it for a ride today, you ask? I’ve been on a bit of a journey for the last eight months. I guess you could call it a journey of physical redemption. For all the right and obvious reasons (weight loss, energy level, heart health, better fitting jeans), this 52 year-old brownie loving couch potato has begun to move. I must admit it wasn’t easy at first (or very pretty). Every walk and exercise session was a struggle – mentally and physically. There’s one reason and one reason only that I’ve been able to continue. I’m not doing it alone. No, I don’t have a workout partner and I’m usually not in a class. When I walk or ride my bike, so far I’ve been alone, physically that is. But I’m talking the whole time – and listening.
Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind from birth, said “Next to a leisurely walk I enjoy a spin on my tandem bicycle. It is splendid to feel the wind blowing in my face and the springy motion of my iron steed. The rapid rush through the air gives me a delicious sense of strength and buoyancy, and the exercise makes my pulse dance and my heart sing.”
I can relate to her, especially the part about the tandem bike. I’m not riding one, really, but I often feel like I am. God has been such a part of my journey of physical redemption, that I really don’t know any other way to describe it. He is with me every step of the way. The simple disciplines of eating wisely and exercising regularly have drawn me closer to God out of necessity and gratitude.
I need Him to fuel my commitment and to give me the courage to try. I need Him to help me love and appreciate my body the way it is right now. I need Him to help me keep my perspective right where He wants it to be when it comes to my physical health and my appearance. So it really is as if God is right there peddling with me, urging me on, telling me it doesn’t matter how fast I’m going, if my thighs are jiggling or how bad my helmet head looks. He smiles on me for getting out there and doing it, for having fun for fun’s sake, and for joyously drinking in the beauty of His creation in the process. And He makes me grateful – grateful for the body He’s given me and grateful that He does redeem me, bit by bit, day by day.
Charles M. Schulz said, “Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” This is so true of our spiritual lives as well. For years I did not bring God into this area of my life. I would attempt to do better, get discouraged, give up, try again later – and the cycle continues. But God desires to redeem all areas of our lives - to free us from fear, complacency, bondage and shame. This applies to our physical and emotional health too. Have you asked Him to redeem your physical life, to help you take control and walk a path that might be difficult? He will battle for you and with you every step of the way, and you will say with the Psalmist, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” (Psalm 119:32)