As the day comes to a close and the Texas heat goes from Scorching to Hot, the people emerge from their homes to exercise off the six-pack of Coronas and the dozen tortillas they consumed the weekend before. I notice these people, but not in envy. Being envious would imply that I wish I were exercising. That is rarely–well, no—that’s never the case.
I see this guy as I’m driving by. Young twenties, maybe. He was running. Well a version of running anyway. His feet shuffling, the sweat pouring from his face, drenching his hair. A pained expression that screamed to the world, “just hit me with your car and put me out of my misery.”
I asked myself, “Why?” Really. Why would anyone want to do that to themselves? Don’t comment to tell me about the importance of health or the endorphins or the benefits of exercise. Because it will sound like the Charlie Brown adults:
wah wah wah-wah wah, wah-wah wah wah-wah. And I won’t care. I understand we should exercise and take care of our bodies, but I couldn’t help myself from asking one question.
Why can’t he just walk?
Why do we do this to ourselves? Push ourselves to pain just to prove something–what?! I don’t know. But we push ourselves into the pain of debt, or the pain of exercising until we look like we’re going to die. (I seriously just don’t get this whole Crossfit thing).
Then there is the pain of pleasing every whim of our children or the pain of trying to make someone else happy. We even make our relationship with Jesus painful, when it was never designed to be. There are rules to follow: read those 5 chapters in the Bible, say those Hail Marys, volunteer every moment of spare time. Painfully we trudge through, shuffling our feet, sweat in our eyes so we can’t see, wondering where the peace and joy come from.
Running through life is even a hot topic in the ministry world. Churches struggle with creating Bible Studies and Small Groups, women’s events, Men’s retreats because people perceive it as clutter and commitment. Churches don’t want to compete with soccer and cheerleading. Churches don’t want to be “one more thing to do”. In fact, Jesus doesn’t want to be “one more thing to do.”
So instead of literally running your self in the ground trying to do this life, just walk. Walk with Him. Slowly, so you can chat it up and not run out of breath. So that every so often you can get so engrossed in conversation with Him, you actually stop right there, in the middle of the walkway and face each other so He can see your eyes and you can see His face
Only then will the pain go away. Just walk.