I’m not exactly an athlete by nature. I used to be a fast sprinter as a child, but by junior high PE classes, I remember my knees knocking together when I tried to run the mile for class. I wasn’t the last one to finish, but it was close. I wasn’t in sports in high school, and I basically just got into the habit of not working out at all. I’ve kept that habit throughout most of my adult years. And that’s not a good thing.

I discovered that my family has a penchant for heart disease several years ago, and I decided it was up to me to work out now while I can still can to help protect the heart God gave me. My choices today will help determine my health later on in life. But that means I have to actually do something about what I know.

I heard a missionary in Guatemala say something similar about listening to God. We were there on a mission trip, and we had just travelled to a village several hours away from our hotel to bring humanitarian aid and share the hope of the gospel with a group of people that had never seen white skin or blonde hair, and they had never heard that Jesus loved them. It was pretty heady stuff. We had given out clothing and supplies, made balloon animals, and performed a puppet show for the kids, and then my husband shared a passionate story about God’s love. As the message was translated into Spanish, sentence by sentence, the people just stared at him and the interpreter. We finally realized that the people only understood a certain dialect of Spanish, and then the message was shared again in Spanish and translated into their dialect. As the people listened, they began to react and weep as they understood God’s love and care for them. It was an amazing, impactful experience as they responded to the gospel message.

As we travelled several hours to get back to our hotel that night, we were all mulling over what we had just witnessed. A few mornings later, the team was sharing a devotional time in the morning before we started the events of the day. The missionary, Peter Farrant, spoke to us passionately as he shared. “It is a very scary thing for me to hear from God what He wants me to do. It’s scary because when I hear what He wants me to do, I know I have to do it.”

That rocked my world. I was about twenty-one at the time, and had been asking God for some specifics in what He wanted me to do in certain areas of my life. It was sobering to have heard this wise, seasoned missionary weep as he shared this truth. I still wanted to know God’s plans for me, but I understood in a new way that I would have to walk it out once I knew.

That’s the rub with learning and growing. Once we learn more, we are responsible for more.

So as I prepare to lace up my tennis shoes for my run/walk of the day, I thank God that I can make wise choices in every area of life for which I am responsible. Working out, choosing well, and doing what I am supposed to do are not always easy things for me to do. But they are worth it, and they will pay dividends back to me, and hopefully others, for many years to come.