Building Endurance

I’ve been trying to condition my body for the Camino.  Trying to walk many miles every day to build my endurance.  After the past couple of days, doubt has again entered my soul.  Just as soon as I thought there was a possibility that I’d physically be able to handle such a pilgrimage, my body firmly told me otherwise.  I’m not ready yet.  I have much work to do, specifically building up my endurance.  I guess part of the beauty of the Camino is that your regular life is on hold.  All you need to do is walk and focus on God, eat, sleep and do that all again.  Here I’m trying to keep up with house, family, ministry, a blog, animals, etc and get several hours of walking in each day.  My mind and my body just said NO.

So I’ve given myself a bit of grace this week.  I listened to my body and rested.  I think that it will be important for me to rest well for a week or even two weeks before leaving for the Camino.  The pilgrimage doesn’t seem to be much about balance.  Mostly I think that is due to our time requirement.  I suppose if I were to walk it with no time restriction, my balance would be different.  I wouldn’t push so hard to accomplish the required miles each day.  I would be able to stop when I felt I really needed to.  I’ve never been one who is able to “push through the pain” and keep going.  When I’m in severe pain, it means something is breaking or going bad.  Time to stop.

My husband and I have discussed this.  We’ve decided that we will take the needed rest and use buses to catch up if we need to do so.  We’ll probably be biking part of the path as well so that will lower the daily mileage requirement for the days when we do walk.  But in the meanwhile, I’ll be pressing on.  Pressing my body to do more oh so slowly.  Building up my endurance levels.

I really expect results from my hard work to show up quickly.  I want to see weekly changes to know that what I am doing is making a difference.  It doesn’t work like that for me.  The changes come very gradually and very slowly.  They are so subtle that I often miss them.  Over longer periods of time, I can look back and see that I am able to do more.  Other people notice the visible changes in my body that I still do not see.

I think this happens to us in our faith walks too.  We struggle along with God in our prayer life and Bible study and don’t really see big immediate changes.  The changes happen to most of us slowly and subtly.  Over time, other people may see or sense the changes in you before you notice them.  The key is to continue walking down the path toward God.  Stay with Him and faithful to His ways and He’ll bring about the needed changes in us!  Be persistent and consistent in our goals to honor God.  He will bless us for our efforts.  We may not be walking the path perfectly, but we are continuing to make progress toward our goals.

God has called me to do this pilgrimage.  He will equip me, but I must do my part.  I can’t just sit on the couch and expect that somehow my obese body would suddenly be able to make the trip.  God wants me to prepare, to do my best, to put in the time and the effort.  He will handle the rest of it.

What has He called you to do?  Are you doing your best and putting in the time and the effort?

Build your endurance.  This may be a long walk!

Be encouraged.  God is with us.  Press on.

1 Thessalonians 5.24

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