Every morning I encourage, push, and sometimes drag Mama for a walk. We started out walking under 3 miles and have gotten up to 4 miles each day. We wake at 5:00 and hit the road by 5:20.
I never complain as we walk because I want to stay upbeat as we exercise. If I didn't stay positive then Mama wouldn't walk with me. However, Mama isn't always positive. She vacillates between being upbeat and complaining. In fact, there have been a couple of days in which she moaned and complained for over half the walk. She is inconsistent with her pace and constantly walks with her head down.
I figured out that if I slow my pace she will also, even if she is behind. I don't think she even realizes she is doing it. So when Mama slows down I've learned not to break my stride to match hers. Instead, I reach my hand back behind me and call for her to catch-up. I remind her that I am where she needs to be. (Now before anyone thinks I am pushing a 67 year old woman too hard please know that we have worked for 3 weeks to slowly build her pace and distance. She has also exceeded my expectations of what she was capable of doing... Yea Mommy!!)
We are also working on her habit of walking with her head down. I've told her that she needs to look forward so she can see what is coming.
Yesterday's walk was typical of a less than positive day and I had reached my limit. Mama had been wishing, out loud and frequently, that she wanted to be back at the house on the couch. Honestly, with sweat dripping in my eyes and my glasses fogging I wanted to be on the couch too. However, I want to be fit (and able to fit into my clothes) more than I wanted to be on the couch. The couch was going to have to wait because I had added a few extra steps to our route that morning.
We were just over the halfway point in our walk when Mama said she didn't want to walk the extra bit and asked if we could take a short-cut home. I told her she could take the short-cut but that I was determined to take the longer route. Amazingly I was gentle of heart and tongue when I said this to her. That, my friends, was ALL God. (Thank you Lord for infusing my words with respect in a frustrating moment.)
I noticed that Mama slowed her pace considerably. In fact, I thought she had taken the short-cut after all until I looked back to see her about 40 yards behind me. I began thinking about how much I wanted both of us to be in shape. I considered how nice it would be if she didn't complain so much, even though it is only about half the time. I thought it would be great if she were more motivated and tried to keep pace better. She does well with her pace, especially for being in her late 60s, but I want her to be at her best. I also wished she would walk with her head up instead of down to her chest and off to the side a bit. It makes her look bedraggled, pitiful, and as if she is being led against her will at times. We've joked about this tendency and what it must look like to passers-by and she is trying to break the habit.
Then God showed me that I was looking at a picture of myself. I whine to God and don't live up to my potential half the time. The other half I'm in step with God, positive, and loving life. But half isn't good enough.
I realized that sometimes - okay, often times - I slow my pace and whine to be finished with this season in my life. I can see God a few paces ahead of me and I know that is where I should be. I feel Him reaching to me to help me get to Him.
God showed me that sometimes I walk with my head down - emotionally and spiritually. I need to walk with my head up so I am able to see Him and what is ahead. Otherwise I could pass right by what He has in store for me.
He made me realize that I have to want this healthy relationship with Him for myself. He already wants it but He can't want it for me. Finally, I have to push myself when I want to give up - just like Mama did yesterday morning.
Mama and I aren't always on the negative side but we could both benefit with gaining yardage in the positive sector. I pray that God continues to speak so plainly to me.
Lord, encourage Mama and me. Draw us closer. Give us a drive to work toward our goals. I want to surprise myself by meeting YOUR expectations of me. I want to shock myself with what You can do through me. Thank you for speaking to me. I promise to keep listening.
(My mother has astounded me with what she has been able to accomplish. I had to apologize to her for underestimating her. Now if I can just stop underestimating myself because each time I do I underestimate God.)