Throughout the years, I have seen many quotes about the value of “just showing up”:
“Just showing up is half the battle.” – Woody Allen
“Just show up and things will happen.” – Mother Theresa
“To stay on the map, you’ve got to keep showing up.” – Peter Gallagher
The older I get, the more I see the value of this wisdom, especially when it comes to being consistent about getting regular physical exercise. In fact, this past Monday morning was one big lesson on the importance of just showing up.
At 6:30 AM, I woke up and started making my coffee and reminded myself that, if I was going to make to my exercise class, I had to be out the door by 7:50 AM. Immediately, my thoughts went to all the reasons why it may be a good idea for me to skip my exercise class that day:
“I have some important things I want to get done, so maybe I should skip my exercise class and take the dog for a walk after I finish my to-do list.”
“My joints feel a little stiff; maybe I should take the day off and just do a little stretching.”
“It’s a cloudy, dreary day and I don’t feel very energetic. Maybe I should go tomorrow instead.”
At 8:00 AM, I was driving to my exercise class and thinking of several reasons why it may be best for me to turn around and go home.
“The poor dog really needs to be walked, so maybe I should go home and make that my first priority.”
“My husband needs some exercise too. Maybe I should skip my class and just plan on taking a walk with him after work.”
“I don’t feel like doing this, so maybe I should go home and go to my exercise class tomorrow when I will have more energy to put into it.”
At 8:15 AM, I had finished my pre-workout stretching, the instructor started the class and, while I was going through the physical motions, my mind was wandering:
“I don’t want to be here.”
“My heart just is not into this today.”
“I’ll do what I can, but it may be the bare minimum.”
At 8:25 AM, something interesting happened. There was a shift in my thinking which led to a shift in my attitude which led to surge of energy in my body. It’s as if my body woke up when my mind said to the rest of me:
“We are committed to be here for the next 50 minutes and we’ve made it through the first 10 minutes and we are okay. So, let’s kick it up a notch and see what we can do.”
“Honestly, it’s feeling pretty good to move right now. Maybe being here is a good thing”
“After a workout, it always feels like it was worth it.”
At 9:20 AM, I was out in the parking lot walking to my car to drive home and I felt great! My body felt invigorated, my mind was clear, my spirit was thankful and making it through another workout brought some emotional satisfaction.
I wish I could explain the shift in my thinking, but I can’t. I didn’t will it to happen, it just did. The only thing I can take any credit for is the fact that I just showed up.
My Monday morning experience reinforced to me that, if I want to be a person who makes consistent exercise a priority in my life, I need to stop thinking about how I feel, what else needs to be done and what other things I could or should be doing and, instead, I need to just show up.*
Wise King Solomon reminds us that:
“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4)
Or put another way:
Don’t sit there watching the wind. Do your own work. Don’t stare at the clouds. Get on with your life.
(Ecclesiastes 11:4, The Message)
If we put our focus on our feelings, circumstances and subsequent excuses, we will have a hard time moving forward with anything. But if we decide to just show up, who knows that God won’t supply the strength for us to succeed despite our feelings and circumstances?
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19)
How about you? Whether it is your exercise routine or some other priority, is there any place in your life where the best decision you can make right now is to just show up?
*Please don’t take this statement to mean that we should not listen to our bodies or the re-direction of our plans from the Holy Spirit. There are times when we are not feeling well and taking a day off exercise may be the best decision. The key here is awareness, wisdom and discernment. If you are not sure, it may be wise to pray about it by asking this question, “Is my decision to skip exercise based on a warning signal from my body or a prompt from the Holy Spirit, or is it based on an excuse?
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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