As I drove through my neighborhood earlier today I couldn't help but notice the young woman to my right jogging at a really good pace, almost keeping up with the slower traffic on the back road. I immediately found myself thinking, "I wish I could take some time to walk or jog each day. I wish I was able to take more time to enjoy that kind of activity in the morning. I wonder if I could take some time to do something like that!"
Then I felt my heart pondering where my thoughts just took me - and understood that bringing these desires to prayer would open the door to God's peace. What if I did let go of something else to make room for this activity? Is this what the Lord wants for me right now? Would it mean letting go of something else that I really should be spending more time doing? Jogging isn't a bad thing, and the Lord WANTS some of His little souls to participate in this activity for various reasons, but is it His will for me?
At that moment I was reminded of a conversation from many years ago when I was in real estate. One of the women that I worked with was lamenting to our office manager about the very same subject. She had passed someone on the side of the road going for their daily jog, (she saw this person quite frequently around the same time each morning), and found herself complaining out loud about this to whoever would listen, "You know, I wish I could take the time to do something like that! Wouldn't that be great to have time to do that every day ? To just enjoy the fresh air each morning as you take in the sites and sounds of the neighborhood ?" And while she was still following her lamentations down the path she felt compelled to go, the office manager broke in with, "Yes, but then you couldn't afford that beautiful earring collection you have!"
That ended it. That brought the entire conversation to a halt and left the complaining employee in complete silence. She knew that was true - she could have one or the other: work more hours to buy the things that she wanted, (she had an incredible earring collection), or work less hours and let go of some of those things that currently seemed important to her to trade out for other activities - one or the other, but not both.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be." Matthew, Chapter 6, verse 21
"Where, o where, is my treasure, Lord ?" This is such an ongoing part of our daily struggle, isn't it? How often do I break the 10th Commandment in any one given day, "You shall not covet (your neighbor's house / wife/ goods/ job/ time / activities / etc.)" The closer my relationship is with Jesus, the more I should find myself loving what He loves, yearning for what He yearns for, and hoping for what He hopes will be. However, if I am spending time looking at all of the things that I DON'T have, I have wasted precious time which should have been spent cultivating what I DO have.
I am not saying for one moment that jogging or regular activities of this kind are not a good thing. As a matter of fact, this may be exactly what God is asking you to do. Maybe He has set your heart on spending time with this activity to relieve the stress of the day and comme with Him, focusing on His love, while jogging along your two mile course. Maybe He's asking you to take more time in the day to walk in the woods, or climb into the mountains, (as did St. John Paul II), because that is the most personal place He can have your precious undivided attention. But here is the key question I must contemplate, asking the Holy Spirit when I long for these types of things: "Lord, is this Your desire for me?"
For me, at this time, the answer to this desire is "Not right now." He lovingly lets me know that He has a more perfect plan for my time right now. He has something even more rewarding that will fit my state in life, my duties of the day, and encourage me toward Sainthood. For someone else it may absolutely be jogging. For me, right now, it is not.
May this blessed Lenten season open each of our hearts more and more to His desires, and give us the grace to love what He loves, as we continue on this journey of the Saints before us.....