The usual mistake is giving up on health too easily once we see how we’re some distance veered off or drifted from it. We just let things take their usual “normal” course without giving a good fight and prefer to talk about the good old days when we were still in shape than try to recover it for good. Yup, some superstitious folks believe they’re “cursed” to an unhealthy life.
I could’ve given up as easily when I felt too sickly to go back to being in shape. But I always believe there’s a smooth path from unhealthy to healthy though it may take some tedious time and painful difficulties to recover what you’ve lost. “Smooth” but difficult. I like that 😀 . Yup, it’s harder the second or third time around, but it’s possible to be back in shape. And here are two steps to smooth transition.
Several times, illness stopped me from working out, and long periods at that. But I set my mind on recovering and retracing my steps back to the healthy pathway. Slowly and patiently, I started again on square one. Remember, square one is always better than square zero. Some people settle with square zero and watch themselves deteriorate through life and think it’s the natural course of life.
So, you think you’ve outgrown healthy living and workouts? You think your healthy, fit days are over? Well, nobody’s decided that but you. No one’s put that limit on you except yourself. Some folks assume that there’s a time to be healthy and a time to be unhealthy. The bible doesn’t say that. It says there’s a time to be born and a time to die. And dying shouldn’t have anything to do with illness. People often limit their minds by always associating death with diseases and vice versa.
But you can change all that by starting with how you think about your present health. I’ve seen video testimonies of people pronounced by their doctors as hopeless cases. But they determined to get back to normal life and health so they did. Jesus said, if you believe, nothing will be impossible for you. So, I’m telling you, start right now! No ifs or buts.
Start with Slow and Little
The tendency is to do a lot at once to recover everything you lost. It’s like sleep lost. No matter if you sleep 20 hours to recover your lack of sleep last night, it won’t work. The better option is sleep normally again tonight, 8 hours. Your body needs time to adjust naturally. Let it. The same with exercise lack. If you haven’t exercised for years, killing yourself in workouts now won’t fix anything. It will even, well, kill you eventually.
I always find isometric exercises just right for re-starts. You just pull, push or crush as much as you want. For instance, my chest expander always comes in handy when I need to go back to square one again after a long stop. What I do is pull thrice, as far as I can stretch it sideways (holding it 5 to 7 seconds each pull) when I start. That re-orients my muscle for workouts. That’s enough for the morning. Then I do another set in the afternoon. I do this for 2 days.
Then after, I have 5 to 8 repetitions, one set per one or two hours. Then I do more, as my strength recoups. Then gradually, I add other workouts. I use something like what is shown in the picture above. Be gentle with your body. Don’t act like the pros you see on TV or in gyms. They’re pros and you’re not.
The same thing with diet. If you’ve not been eating healthily, don’t go on a punishing diet all of a sudden just to burn off tons of fat and calories. It won’t work. The bible says everything is made possible with patience [James 1.4]. Then you’ll lack nothing.
Some experts keep telling us to set goals and hit them, making them higher next time. No pain no gain. Yeah, but you need to listen to your body, too. Often, this is more important than any expert coaching. Some folks can workout like mad, but some can’t. And sometimes they decide that hitting rigid goals has become too much for them (because other people make it too much for them) and leave their health and fitness to fate. So they live like anything goes.
Hitting high goals is good, but as I’ve said, to some people just going back to square one is good enough, better than being on square zero. And I don’t see anything wrong with staying on square one a long time—that’s the smooth path back to being healthy to me—although I strongly advice progressing and challenging your stamina by hitting higher goals. But I’m always for gradual progress. Working out is not to prove you’re stronger or more able than others. It’s for health purposes, first and foremost.
And a lot of folks, too, just let spiritual decadence take its natural course, thinking it’s the normal way to grow old in their spiritual life. They still take active part in church but you see them seriously ill in spirit and spreading the contamination around. They tell themselves they cannot grow spiritually any longer. They’ve hit rock bottom floor and the ceiling so they just float around up and down in between like lost souls seeking rest. Jesus spits out of his mouth such lukewarmness.
We always assume that there is a spiritual floor and ceiling below and above us that keep us bouncing up and down when we hit them. So we can’t imagine being higher or deeper. We’re happy with being “normal.” We can so easily imagine being more active in church and ministry but not being spiritually higher and deeper in Christ.
We have assigned ourselves to a lifetime of spiritual demotion when we do this. Plateauing in spirit in this way is demotion, it’s NOT maintaining status quo as in maintaining a good or positive disposition. It’s maintaining an unhealthy status that trends downwards. In this sense, there’s no positive status quo in the spirit. It’s either you transform from glory to glory or you don’t. If in physical workouts it’s okay to stay on square one a long time (if that’s what your body needs), not in the spiritual.
Lull Before a Radical Spiritual Health
A church ministry may need to experience what seems to be lull or plateauing times (and you may also need this in your personal spiritual life). But it’s far from just maintaining status quo. Something is actually cooking in the spirit but it’s not readily visible to the eyes. Moses spent 40 lonely years in Midian desert shepherding Jethros’ sheep and goats. Nothing seemed to be happening in his life. Everything seemed to have stopped or plateaued. But he was actually being prepared for something big. As long as Moses had a heart after God and a heart to help his fellow Israelites trapped in Egypt, everything that happened (or did not happen) was really a smooth way to spiritual health.
Lots of movements are really happening in such lull moments, though mostly undetected, paving the way for a smooth path or transition to spiritual health. And in your prolonged square-one physical workouts, the same could be true.
David spent uneventful days in the fields looking after sheep. But those lull times were actually vital preparations for kingship. Jesus’ life from 12 to 29 years old were uneventful. Nothing was recorded, in fact. He probably just spent times in the desert growing up before the Father and communing with him, because Isaiah said “He grew up before HIM as a tender shoot.” But they were crucial preparations for the Messiahship.
But if you just settle for being active in church, you plateau. It’s status quo that digs your spiritual grave deeper and surer.