At one point, I couldn’t imagine wearing out two-plus pairs of shoes per year. Now each day begins with pavement pounding.
My junior high mile run time was slower than my current walking mile time. I loved school and books and writing, but hated PE. I snail-crawled my way through the mile “run,” followed by the humiliation of having to call out my time when the teacher took roll. Cue every teen movie scene of PE humiliation – like that, except worse, because it was me.
It occurs to me that no one ever attempted to help me find joy in movement. Maybe I wouldn’t have been receptive, but it’s so clear to me now that joy was the missing ingredient.
Raise your hand if you find humiliation motivating. Now raise your hand if joy motivates you. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
Joy in movement now comes from fresh air and sunshine. Cleansing breaths and increased energy. Front yard flowers and waving neighbors. The company of my trotting dogs, tails wagging. Watching my miles stack up day by day, week by month, more miles so far this year than last year. I only compare to myself, the way it should be.
I’m still not sure I can run a mile. But I can run from this sidewalk crack to that silver Honda hatchback. I can run from St. Monica Church to the intersection of Canyon and Sanders. I can run many stretches of many miles, and all those steps – walking and running – add up.
Sure, some days exercise still feels like a chore. We all have to perform mundane tasks, like topping up the gas tank, picking up dog poop, washing dishes after a homemade lasagna, taxes. Still, those might be the pauses between the meaningful endeavors, and even there we can find ways to add joy.
Friends, if you find yourself slogging through an activity day after day, joyless, take it as a cue to evaluate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. And if for whatever reason you believe that God has required something of you that you find joyless, then you have two options: either you haven’t yet found a joy-filled way of approaching that practice, or God hasn’t asked it of you.
Jesus came to bring joy, and anything worth doing is worth doing joyfully. I’m wishing you joy today in whatever you do.
Let’s share: how has adding joy changed your perspective on an everyday activity? Also, any tips on breaking in new shoes without turning my feet into raw meat will be most appreciated!