CIRCLES AND MOVEMENT
God sits above the circle of the earth. (Isaiah 40:22 NLT)
As I begin this new year of writing prompts for Activating The Whole You it feels important to share my own journey with exercise and chronic pain.
CIRCLES AND MOVEMENT • MY JOURNEY
I was a chubby little girl. No matter how much others wanted me to lose weight I just grew bigger. I even had a pediatrician give me diet pills (amphetamines) when I was in grade six. They didn’t stop me from eating, but I sure did have trouble sleeping. I was obese for my age and just kept gaining.
Fat: the word followed me everywhere. People took one look at me and expected me to be lazy. I didn’t disappoint them. I avoided physical activity and instead developed my intellect. And I believe the true me was buried beneath layers of excess flesh, but I didn’t know how to set her free.
By my mid-twenties, I weighed in at between 275 to 280 pounds. In a new relationship, with love struck wonder, I lost my appetite. I would cook and bake for him, but ate little myself. Then I found pounds slipping away. With a new sense of possibility, I began to alter my food intake and slowly added daily exercise. In just less than a year, I had lost 125 pounds.
CIRCLES AND MOVEMENT • SEASONS
The new me was addicted to exercise and pursued it as a career. Through my fourth decade of life, I was a fitness instructor and personal trainer. When I turned 43, I met my Canadian husband (a miracle which is a long story of its own) and moved to rural Manitoba. Without all the fancy aerobic fitness equipment I had always had access to, the weight began to return even while I still tried to manage my food intake.
Eventually ever-present chronic back, knee, and other traveling pains have left me exhausted and sedentary. My mind knows that movement is necessary, but my body has not been willing. So, I have come full circle, back to where I started: overweight, stiff and avoiding. I remember a song from my teen years:
And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look
Behind, from where we came
And go round and round and round, in the circle game
Listen: Circle Game by Joni Mitchell
I was a bit awed by God’s sense of humor when I was asked to write this particular series of prompts, but I need this. We all need this, and if I can do it, anyone can.
CIRCLES AND MOVEMENT • ONE SMALL EXERCISE AT A TIME
Think of ripples in a pond. One pebble dropped creates circles that build and flow. Not a giant rock, one tiny little pebble. One small action on our part can be multiplied by God in amazing ways. You may feel like you can’t do much. Offer what you can do to the Lord, with thanksgiving, and watch how He steps in to help.
Try exercises 1 thru 4 at the link below, ankle, knee, arm and shoulder circles. I began to do these on days I felt too exhausted to stand. They are meant to be done lying in bed.
Try circling your wrists, or your thumbs. No movement is too small. Begin where you begin. Circles and movement just one small exercise at a time. Jesus came as a helpless infant, and we know the rest of the story.
Let’s rejoice together in every victory, large and small.
Questions For Reflection
1. What is one small action you can take to move a little more today?
2. How do circles resonate in your story?
3. Think about circles as you move through your day and how you might incorporate them in movement tomorrow.
Contributing Writer and Prayer Team
Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, His work in progress on the Potter's wheel. She is hungry for truth and amazed by love. After five years in Africa, Karin and Rick (her beloved husband of twenty years), are back in rural Canada where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).