doing my exercises

Living in the moment, planning for the future, hoping for… what we don’t see. Which comes most naturally to you? Which requires exercise, coaching? Which gives you joy? I wonder whether these form a kind of triangle. Perhaps I can imagine myself moving between these three perspectives throughout the day. 

Planning is the most familiar to me. Hope is a much more elusive concept. Maybe worrying is in the middle of the triangle, the negative anticipation of what could go wrong. Last night, I fell asleep to Eugene Peterson’s explanation of hope, surprising again, even though I read it last year on the same date.  

Hope affects the Christian life by making us expectant and alive…. People who hope never know what’s coming next. They expect it to be good, because God is good. Even when disasters occur, people of hope look for how God will use evil for good. (Oct 25, Living the Message)

This is how I want to live. Hoping. Hopeful. Not because I know what’s going to happen. Or because I expect things to proceed as planned. But I want to anticipate goodness. Expect it. To be alive to the possibilities. I want to be the person Peterson describes:

A person with hope is alive to God. Hope is powerful. It is stimulating. It keeps us on tiptoe, looking for the unexpected. (p. 295)

Recently, I’ve been back and forth between physical therapy and the chiropractor. Both are new to me. Somehow during the pandemic I became misaligned. Walking distances became increasingly painful, and my doctor recommended this two-fold intervention. Establishing a new routine of stretching and strengthening takes concerted effort. Frankly, they are rather boring.

Hope has been helpful. Reminding myself that I don’t know what’s ahead, but I want to be ready for it. Strong enough to enjoy it. Confident that I have done my part to prepare for the unknown. But stretching hurts; I would rather play. Deteriorating bodies are frustrating. 

We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? Romans 8:23b-24 (CEB)

What I see is what is here in this moment. The sun shining (finally) through the fall leaves. Appreciating the beauty of this day, and the opportunity to live it fully, is another exercise I’m practicing. Then I will spend some time planning. Preparing. Advent is coming!

The kingdom of God is like…. A woman hiding yeast in a whole bushel of flour. (Luke 13:21) Planning ahead. Being patient. Waiting for what is unseen to work its way through the whole. All of it. 

But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:25 (CEB)

While we wait, we do our exercises. Patience doesn’t come naturally to me. We live in the now, with hope and anticipation. May we today appreciate the life within and around us. May we be wise in planning for the future. May we have hope for that which we do not yet see.  –Renée 

2 Comments On “doing my exercises”

  1. Thanks Renée for the reminder to expect/hope for God to act in the midst of the real, the puzzling, the boring, the frustrating, and the always open ended possibilities in God’s future. Blessings.


  2. Thanks dear pastor Renee.
    You have really captured so well how it feels to have one’s body deteriorating. It’s very difficult but at the same time it gives us hope in the beyond. Thanks for the way you have expressed it.


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