Norma Jean and I like to walk. It’s not only good exercise, but it’s a time for conversation and connection. From our house we walk to a park close by and enjoy its beauty and serenity, the fountain and an occasional deer in the woods.
However, the Kansas City winters have severely limited our outdoor walking. So, when it’s cold we walk indoors on the treadmill. Now the treadmill is not as much fun. There’s nothing to see. No scenery to enjoy. Only a small TV in front of us to look at. Sometimes we find ourselves in an almost trance-like state staring ahead and walking the treadmill.
All of this got me to thinking how life is like a cross between the treadmill and a walk in the park.
We hear people talking about the treadmill of life being too hectic. And often with daily repeated, boring schedules. A mother laments that housework is a never-ending chore. A student bemoans classes at school that are a drag. Dad finds work wearisome. Yet, there is something to be said for the treadmill.
Our walk in the neighborhood is pleasant, relaxing, and interesting. The treadmill not so much. But it is needful. On the treadmill I walk faster. Increase my heart rate. Burn more calories. It may not be as much fun as a walk in the park, but it provides something I need.
Real life consists of mopping the floors, taking out the trash and mowing the yard. There are meals to be fixed. Laundry to be done. And bills to pay. Just like the treadmill, it takes commitment, dedication, and persistence, to do life’s tasks.
The Ancient preacher observed, To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). There is a time for work. And a time for play. A time for pushing hard. And a time to relax. A time to roll up our sleeves to engage in the daily grind. And a time to get away and unwind.
I think there are two keys that are needful.
One is balance. You can’t stay on the treadmill all the time! When responsibility has been fulfilled, and duty has been discharged, it’s ok to slow down. Even Jesus took time off. We see Him at the wedding feast. In the mountains. On the sea-shore. Out in a boat. Eating and enjoying life.
The second key is attitude. I read once where 10% of life is filled with spontaneous good things. A pay raise. Awards. Promotions. Births. These bring joy. Another 10% is filled with heartache and disappointment. Financial difficulties. Sickness. Death.
But the remaining 80% of our time it’s up to us. We can grumble, grip and complain about the routines of life or we can find purpose and fulfillment in them. And serve God through them. The wise man advised, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl. 9:10). This will provide a sense of satisfaction of a job well done and a responsibility accomplished.
One writer put it very simply when he wrote, “Attitude is everything.” It is true in every area of life. In the home. The workplace. The church family. The neighborhood. In all of our relationships. Attitude determines how we look at past challenges, how we feel about the present circumstances, and how we view the destiny of the future.
Sometimes life seems as carefree and pleasant as a walk in the park. Other times it feel like we are on the treadmill. Where ever you may be today, remember “this is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad it in.” (Ps. 118:24). And never forget this. Jesus came to give you life–“life in all its fullness.” (Jn 10:10) So, accept it. Embrace it. And enjoy your walk.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman