Earlier in the week I made a decision to NOT exercise for a few days in a row. There were several reasons for this:
- I was going on vacation and was trying to sleep in when possible. (This is hard for me because I am an EARLY riser.)
- I had been having some hamstring issues that were “encouraging” me to rest.
- I wanted to put my husband first instead of rushing to get to the hotel fitness room before time to do our planned activities.
- I wanted to be “ok” with NOT “doing” anything specifically exercise related….(See CORErecovery post from earlier this week.)
I mean, is exercise the ONLY way we can ‘DO’ something to care for our bodies? What about doing nothing with them? Is that beneficial at all? What if I got MORE than three hours of sleep AND took a nap, or two, for a few days? What if I didn’t touch my toes other than to paint them before going out to dinner? What if I only did, or didn’t do, what I really FELT like doing while on vacation? What if I took a couple of days, maybe longer, off of my triathlon training plan? What would happen? Would I suddenly not be able to fit into my clothes? Lose all of my flexibility and core strength? Would I become uninterested in physical activity and never again lace up my running shoes? Would I be able to do another triathlon in a month? After two whole days of just “being” with my husband, riding in cars, spa days, and tourist traps, would I lose my cardiovascular endurance? Would I be out of shape?
I think that sometimes I like to tell myself that as long as I keep going I will keep going, but if I stop I will never start again. But what happens if the stopping is necessary? What if the restart is part of the fitness quest? What if we must stop BECAUSE we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to restart?
So what happened when I restarted? Did I huff and puff, limping stiffly with a bad attitude because I lost my love for fitness? NO, not at all. I did not know at the time I chose to stop that my first venture back into the exercise world would be to do an 8 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail…an uphill one I might add. My husband had done this hike as a teen and remembered it fondly. So off we went to recapture something….bygone fitness? Bygone youth? Perhaps all that was found on our hike is best told in another post, but for our FAITHful fitness, let me just share what I learned about what giving myself permission to rest…REALLY rest, did for me:
REST is REFRESHING. It was nice to not have to think about what time I needed to wake up in order to get my workout in or what workout was needed for the next day.
REST is RESTORATIVE. Getting more sleep was something I knew, in theory, that I needed, BUT I had no idea how much this was true! Each time I woke up with the sun shining through the window, the birds chirping outside, or the smoky clouds spreading over the morning mountain skies, I knew that it was something I would not have experienced normally because by that time in the day I would have been busy “going going going” (see above about not stopping for fear I won’t start again.). I felt like I was ready to face each day, not that I had wasted it.
REST makes me RESPONSIVE. Because I was able to be refreshed and restored, I was able to respond to the day instead of react against it. I am usually working against time instead of responding to it. By allowing my body to reconnect with my natural rhythms, I felt like I was able to move in response to God’s timing….like the sun, the clouds, and the birds.
REST allows me to RESTART. The rest I was able to truly embrace this week allowed me to RESTART, but first I had to reconnect, not just with my natural sleep rhythms, but my physical body, and most importantly, my Creator. You see, it is not I who “restarts” me, or even me who decided to “rest”. God was calling for my rest, He was calling for me to reconnect, and then, after I was sufficiently rejuvenated, He caused me to restart. Because He loves me so much, God allowed me to do this by fulfilling one of my dreams, to follow the white blaze (even for 8 miles) on the Appalachian Trail!!!
Perhaps one day I will follow more, maybe not, but I know this…it will require many rests and restarts! Now I am sure that choosing to continue to rest for 4 of the 5 days of vacation will make my Monday Pilates class a little more difficult. I will probably need to ease back into my training plan and do a few more morning stretches. But that doesn’t mean that the time of resting my body and my routine was a waste. I will trust God to restart me and move me in His time, according to His plan, which, of course, requires always resting in Him.
What about you? Do you feel like God is calling you to a REST or a RESTART? Before we can do either, we must try to listen to Him. Are you connected to God through His Word? Do you need to be RECONNECTED?
Here are some links (to pages on OpenBible.com) to some scriptures about REST : What does the Bible Say about REST?
And for when we are ready to RESTART: What does the Bible say about Physical Exercise?
I encourage you to open God’s Word today and RECONNECT, so that you can be RESTORED…from THE Core!