Monday, January 21, 2013

Look Up

I had a shelf full of exercise videos that didn't make the cut when it came time to put our lives into cardboard boxes and move. They ran the gamut from Dancing with Richard Simmons to Yoga. I was faithful to each one for a time, but eventually boredom (and a touch of laziness) set in and I relegated them to the bottom shelf of the bookcase.

It wasn't until I laced up my tennis shoes and began walking our little country road that I knew I had at last found my thing. Fresh air and peace and quiet. It hardly seemed like exercise at all. I've been doing it ever since.

After years of walking and thinking I had it down to a science, I read something that changed it all rather dramatically. You are not supposed to walk looking down at your feet with your shoulders hunched up around your ears. No! You are supposed to look straight ahead - and relax those shoulders. I cannot tell you the difference it made.

Instead of alternating feet and pavement, there were trees and blue sky and birds. There were deer and rabbits and road runners. There were clouds sailing overhead. It was so much better. And yet I had to make a concentrated effort to keep looking up. It seems I have a tendency to look down at my feet.

It occurs to me I've been walking with a downward gaze and hunched up shoulders for days now. I have been absorbed with the "steps" of my life - discouraged and filled with a sense of failure. At times I've even tried walking backwards - looking with regret at a past I cannot change.

The Father calls me to move my gaze upward:

Isaiah 40:26-31 (NLT)

26 Look up into the heavens.
    Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
    calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
    not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
    O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.