Well, I did it again.
I told myself I wasn’t going to let it happen ever again, but this summer I let myself get out of shape.
I honestly enjoy exercise. For me it’s a stress reliever. It helps keep my life in balance.
But, as has happened at times throughout my adult life, this summer I got so busy that I let myself get out of the habit. I went a number of weeks without exercising. I wasn’t as careful about what I ate. My midsection started getting soft.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to get back to it. So I went for a run.
It was horrible. It was frustrating. I couldn’t run as fast or as far as I could just a few months ago. I felt like throwing up. The next morning, my body hurt everywhere, which made my second day back even worse than the first.
Exercise is once again becoming a part of my daily routine and I am feeling better. I tell myself I will never let this happen again, but, deep down, I know I will. I’ll let it slide for a little while and then struggle terribly to get back into the routine – to get back into shape.
Sadly, that pattern also repeats itself in our spiritual lives.
We let ourselves get so busy. The devil whispers in our ears, “You can get back to church and reading your Bible when things calm down.” You tell yourself you’ll go back eventually.
But then one missed Sunday becomes four. The vacuum of time fills the places in your schedule which had been reserved for God. You stop thinking about God as often. You stop talking to him in prayer as much. Your spiritual midsection becomes soft.
All the while you tell yourself that you will get back to it. At times, you lie awake at night feeling guilty. You know need to get back into the habit. But for some reason, it’s so hard.
In order to go back to church, you have to get up on Sunday morning – the only morning during the week in which you can sleep in. You have to fix yourself up. You have to get the kids ready. Then when you get there, people ask you where you’ve been. They talk about how much they’ve missed you. It can be awkward.
It’s just easier to stay in bed.
But making God a part of your weekly and daily routine will help you keep balance in your life much more than exercise ever will. When our spiritual midsections get soft, we start to stress more often. We begin to make poor choices and fall into bad habits. We struggle in our marriages and personal lives.
We need God regularly.
We need his Word and Sacraments to keep our faith fit. We need to be reminded often of the forgiveness Jesus won for us and the heaven that is waiting for us.
So, if you’ve gotten out of the habit, it’s time to get back into it. I know it’s hard at first. It takes work. It can be painful, but it is worth it.
And watch out for the lies of the devil who is constantly trying to get you out of the habit in the first place. He knows that once he gets God out of our daily and weekly routines, it’s a struggle for us to get him back in.