They were on sale, so I didn't feel too bad about buying several pieces of the line. Bright yellows, reds, and aqua blues created artwork on fabric with black accents that drew my eye, immediately. I knew I wouldn't look like one of those athletes with toned arms and a flat stomach, but, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to buy running tank tops and running shorts from the store the other day. I'm not in the kind of shape those racer-back, running tank tops call for, but it fit around my body well enough. I like to have my arms and shoulders free of fabric when I run - it eliminates chaffing in weird places like the crook of your elbow which only those of us with extra padding would be privy to. I also liked the idea that I would be wearing what real runners often wear. Like God calling Gideon a warrior long before he was one, I like the idea of looking the part of the toned, seasoned runner that I pray to be some day.
I got my chance to shine this afternoon. Determined to give this thing an honest effort, I drove straight to the walking track right after work, having changed in the back office at work, not giving myself the chance to go home and there make some whiny excuse about being too tired to start today. I arrived with my training schedule, my music, my sunglasses, and an ounce (and not much more) of willpower to give this program a go.
I was a bit nervous, to be truthful. I like to workout. I even like to jog. I just hadn't in a while and knew that whatever shape I had gotten myself into some months ago had quickly taken on a whole new out-of-shape in a very short time frame.
I prayed in the car. That should give indication of just how nervous I was; asking the Lord to allow my body to work in the manner it had been created to. And, to please not let me vomit, pass out, or die on the concrete of the walking track. Not so much dignity in any of those things... as if squeezing myself into running clothes and pretending to be Olympic running material exuded even an iota of dignity.
I like to blare worship music while I run - partly to drown out my own labored breathing (like at the dentist - if you can hear the drill, the pain is so much worse) and partly to keep my mind focused on something other than what I was out to accomplish - just one little, 'ole thirty minute running workout.
The pigmentation of my skin allows for a pink, rosy complexion when I exert energy of any kind. My entire body was flaming red - the color of a fire engine - within three minutes of beginning my workout.
So, picture this: an obese woman, a bright yellow running tank top, skimpier-than-normal black running shorts, glowing neon skin, sucking air, sweat pouring, music cranked, sunglasses perched, thundering footsteps around and around on the walking trail. I can only imagine the sight that was me. Olympic-bound, indeed.
About twenty minutes into my thirty minute workout, side stitch killing me, barely able to catch a breath, tugging at my running tank top, desperately trying to wipe the sweat away before it ran into my eyes, counting down the minutes until I could call the workout finished, I feel the Spirit describing the situation as worship.
The Bible is full of records of people worshiping the Lord. There are accounts of blessings and faithfulness that led His people to sing His praises; that led them to worship God. A simple definition of worship is to honor; therefore, the people of God, as shown throughout the Bible, honored the Lord for His being who He was; for bestowing blessings and favor that were not deserved; for doing things that they, as mere humans, could never have done on their own.
Exercising hasn't very often been my top priority. I can think of a thousand excuses and plan for a million other things to do instead of exercise. And, this late in the game, my body isn't in the physical shape it needs to be in to be able to do what it is that I've been called to do by God.
So, for me to be out on a walking track, making my body do what it was intended to do: muscles firing, bones structuring, lungs rhythmic, blood pumping, sweat cooling, ears hearing, eyes seeing; in this thirty minutes of agony, God is being honored. Worship.
Doesn't that just beat all?
My program calls for a day of rest tomorrow. But, Wednesday, I'll get back out there. I imagine it won't be any prettier than it was today, although I have a red and black patterned running tank top that might match my skin better than the yellow one of today.
But, I'll be worshiping God. Huffing and puffing and sweating and worshiping Him with all that I have for those thirty minutes. Not enough air capacity to sing actual praises to Him. Hands too sweaty to hold any type of instrument to make music to Him. Prayers for only the time to go quicker. But for every lap around the walking track I make, my body is in submission to His Will; honoring Him by doing what He created it to do. Worship. Doesn't that just beat all?