Here's a confession: I recently ran (wrote) this mega-creative marathon of bringing to completion 5 of my unfinished manuscripts in a condensed time period (the last 6 months of this past year).
I believed it was in response to God's nudge to do so at this time—as a “harvest project,” a thank-offering to God for His multiplied blessings on my writing in the hearts of my readers through their feedback.
I didn't ask God why or how I should or could accomplish this, but simply went step by step as He gave me so generously the strength, continued mental and spiritual stamina, discipline, and resources to actually succeed to the point that those books have already rolled off the press. And further than my expectations—to reprint 3 more of my books which were sold out but still in demand during the same time period.
However, while accomplishing this feat, I confess that I really did push myself beyond my calendar age and current naturally diminishing strength. I came to realize that while I was running this almost impossible race in my 91st year, I was neglecting myself physically, especially in the area of bodily exercise while succeeding mentally and creatively. My pulmonologist and my other -ologists and medically wise persons have continually reminded me, “if you don't use it, you WILL lose it”—referring to both my mental and physical abilities—and that it might be irretrievable. Nevertheless, I did so willingly knowing that I was paying a price that might cost me dearly in whatever time I had left to serve the Lord in my “earth suit,” my mortal body. I decided to leave that up to God and just do what He impressed me to do.
The harvest was accomplished! All those manuscripts have been brought to completion and I have the cases of books stacked in my home studio and dedicated to the glory of God, waiting to be read. And I have experienced the consequences—fatigue, weakness, and loss of physical stamina after that big push. But I know God wouldn't let me down. At my pulmonology semi-annual appointment (I'm monitored because many years ago my lung cancer surgery left me with diminished lung capacity through the loss of a third of my lung) he gave me hope that IT'S NEVER TOO LATE if one makes a sincere U-turn, repents, and returns to a sensible regimen of exercise—yes, even as a nonagenarian, I can be restored!
I accepted that challenge as a directive from the Lord from one of His medically savvy “wise men.” Moreover, my thoughtful, caring four adult sons, always supportive, surprised me on Christmas eve with their over-the-top Christmas gift—the delivery of a humongous box full of hardware which they, along with one of my capable teenage grandsons, proceeded to assemble into a Model 270 Schwinn Recumbent Exercise Bike! (I had to look up the word “recumbent” and found that it's because it has a super comfortable molded plastic seat like a tractor and a large back rest so I can sit upright, slightly leaning back but able to remain in good posture—not a typical tiny bicycle seat!) The instrument panel looks like the dashboard in an airplane! It measures my heartbeat, pulse, oxygen level, mileage covered, calories, incline, time, goals, resistance, terrain encountered, cool down time, workout schedule—you name it! Weather is no longer an excuse for not exercising daily!
I've named this stationery vehicle my “Harley” even if it goes nowhere. It's the thought behind it! This beautiful, black, user-friendly monster's domain is in the wrap-around-windowed area of my kitchen/dining room where it is never out of my sight even from where I sit in my writing studio. I can bird watch, enjoy the view of the ever-changing seasonal forested area over the valley where I live in my home which I call “Eagle Summit.” My CD player is at hand and I ride to the cadence of classical and sacred music during my workouts. At this point I'm cycling at the kindergarten “tricycle” level because my doctor insists that retrieving my strength through exercise again must be very slow, steady, regular, and extremely mindful not to overdo.
Currently, I'm riding it 2-3 times a day for about 15 minutes each workout and my son, Rick, knowledgeable in this area, is my “personal trainer” and insists that I write down my workout totals. Let's see if the “Never Too Late” adage is reasonable or not to accomplish for one is in her nineties. I plan to give it my best shot!
It would seem that all the above would also apply to our often lax spiritual condition which we have sometimes brought on ourselves by drifting, or “backsliding” as some call it, or by our too busy and overactive but perhaps not spiritually fruitful activity, or from the attachments to sin in our lives, until we realize that somewhere we have lost our taste for a close walk with God and spiritual matters. We might have “lost the fervency of our first love for Jesus.” We can be drawn back into His loving embrace as we pray with David the Psalmist, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” Like the exercise example, our U-turn is possible and even more imperative because it is an eternal decision. Our “personal trainer” is the Holy Spirit and His indwelling presence enables our return and the new creation rejuvenation and renewal that the eagle analogy alerted us to in my verse for the year Psalm 103:5.
My Harley doesn't move. But the Lord wants us to press on and make progress spiritually, irrespective of age to keep bearing abundant fruit, to “remain very green and filled with sap” as we continue on the incline of the Upward Way. Shouldn't it be our priority for a daily spiritual workout at a steady pace with the enabling provided from Him?
First we must return at His invitation to “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” and thus to repair the broken connections that caused the aridity of our spirit in the first place. NO, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE in God's eyes to recoup and recapture the precious intimacy with the Lord that we might have lost!