It took me quite a while to get in the habit of going to the gym. I hated going to the gym … but after a time, I developed somewhat of a habit. A habit is “a way of behaving that is repeated so often it no longer involves conscious thought”.
Well, even in my best days, I had to consciously decide to go to the gym, but it was easier over time. I would go three days a week. With the Corona Virus shutdowns, my gym is closed and I haven’t been there since March 13th …. wow, that’s almost 13 weeks. That equates to ~39 missed gym visits. I used to include in my routine 70 pushups…I’ve missed (70×39=2,730) over 2,700 pushups, along with many other missed exercises. No wonder I look like @$+&*?! ….. I now only look in the mirror if the lights are off. I know I should just do my routine at home, but I don’t. Yikes, I no longer have a habit of going to the gym? I better get some new “gym habits” going from home. I’ll keep you posted.
While good habits, like going to the gym, make our lives better here and now, good spiritual habits make our lives better here and now and hereafter. Prayer is the best habit to have…. pray without ceasing (pray always) is the admonition. (1Thessalonians 5:16-18) Prayer keeps us in touch with God, who is the source of our joy and happiness. In Christ we move and live and have our being. It’s good to stay close to the Lord. Prayer is conversation with God…two way conversation… we go back and forth. He wants to hear from us. He wants to know what’s on our mind (which he already does know), but he wants us to know what’s on our mind. He wants to help us in our lives moment by moment.
In addition to more formal or conventional prayers like the Our Father or prayers at church and in the sacraments, our prayers can be informal and spontaneous. We can thank God for all he has done for us…tell him what’s on our mind, how I feel….ask him to help our family and friends who are in need…praise him for the beautiful sunset or for the parking place I just found…ask him to forgive us when we’ve messed up and sinned. We need to be real with the Lord…. let him know what’s on our mind and ask him for help… if we’re sad or happy or discouraged or depressed…ask the Lord to help us. Jesus, help me…I’m feeling down right now… and listen to his responses. He may respond with a thought in your mind or heart, he may speak thru a scripture reading or thru a friend who calls on the phone or thru a beautiful flower or maybe in a dream. You know it’s the Lord speaking when you receive “peace and joy and hope and experience any of the fruits of the Holy Spirit”. (Note: the devil never brings peace, only fear and discouragement and hatred…)
So, while it’s not great to lose a habit of going to the gym, we really need to nourish our habit of prayer and develop and protect it. Pray and all will be well with our soul.
Note: On the positive side of the gym story, Judy and I are walking a mile every day…. and I’m now strengthening my habit of prayer by asking the Lord to help me get back to a routine of exercise. I’ll keep you posted.