Conditioning the Spirit

fitness-594143_1280As I reflect over the past year, one of my most special moments was when my son shared a devotion with me on conditioning my spirit. I was so thankful that he shared what God laid on his heart for me.  At that time, I didn’t know God would use this devotion throughout that week and as a lesson for life.

I had injured my knee in a skiing accident the year before and encountered problems in which I had to return to Physical Therapy.  After my initial injury, I started going back to the YMCA to exercise and strengthen my knee.  It was then that I met a precious man!  I call him my angel sent from Heaven as he became my encourager whenever he saw me struggling.  He always made a point to say hi and give encouragement on a regular basis but would then disappear only to reappear a few weeks to a month or so later.

I had not been to the YMCA in a while due to recurrent knee inflammation and it was by chance that I went on this particular morning. My friend was there and approached to ask where I had been and how my knee was doing.  I gave him the run-down of the struggle at hand and expressed the dread of restarting Physical Therapy again after I came so far.  I felt defeated. He looked at me with his sincere eyes and simply asked, “What happened that you had to go back to the basics.”  I explained, “I looked at all of it as a task and once completed, crossed off the list never to repeat the simple exercises again. “ In short, I quit doing the small things because I didn’t think I needed them. He looked at me and with all sincerity in his heart he said, “Even though it was a task and you did accomplish it, you still need to do the smaller things that seem less important to continue to CONDITION what your knee needs to be stable and strengthen. Incorporate it into your daily routine and keep it there for you are never fully in shape or without need for the CONDITIONING.” The words he used went along with the devotion my son shared with me.

This is true not only in life but in my Christian walk also.  I had not mentioned to anyone that I had grown very tired and complacent in the conditioning of my spirit. Life got too busy and the biggest things became the smaller things and what became smaller quickly became a task to cross off the list.  My heart and mind focused elsewhere.

Just as with any conditioning, if it becomes repetitive and empty so will the condition of whatever I am strengthening.  With exercise, I change-up my routine from time to time to get optimal results or to get out of a lull that my body has become used to. It is no different when it comes to my Spirit. When my daily quiet time becomes a task to cross off a list, that should be my first clue to spiritual dryness.  I should start looking for ways to change-up and strengthen my Spirit and the foundational skills on which established.  I can try a different time of day to a different place altogether.  God sees this as an opportunity to stretch me, take me out of what’s comfortable, to draw me out of my routine, and experience Him in different places other than where designated.  When I  keep Him in a box of a certain time, place or manner in which to engage Him, I risk losing interest and my relationship becomes stagnant, another item to be crossed from the list. He has new and exciting things to show me every day. When I engage Him and His word outside the time alloted, I’m filled with awe and wonder as He reveals himself in ways I would not have experienced before. I see Him on a much larger scale as a child saying, “Did you see that?” or “Looky here!”.   My perspective changes from His Word being an item scratched from a list to a much anticipated meeting for my Spirit being filled, strengthened, in new and exciting ways.

My knee still needs the conditioning of the smaller and seemingly less important to me exercises for continual strength and endurance, interestingly enough, so does my Spirit. For it’s in the foundational, seemingly less important exercises, crossed off the lists ways,  He reveals himself to condition my spirit. This conditioning provides the stability and strength I need as a Christ follower to see the bigger picture of His guidance and will for me. My Spirit is never fully in shape without the divine appointments necessary to walk and grow in the Spirit.