This week’s discovery: If you hear sirens and evacuation recordings blaring nonstop in the hallway of your hotel at 6:00 a.m., and if those recordings are telling you not to use the elevator (“I repeat, do NOT use the elevator”), the thing that will make it all the more exciting is remembering that you’re on the 20th floor. TWENT. TEE. ETH. You also probably want to make sure that your calves are fairly jello-ey because why waste that kind of workout on legs that are already in shape?
That’s what happened to me this week in Cincinnati. When I finally made it down to the street, I found a group of hotel guests huddled in their jammies. So I of course went right over to them so that I could ask them…so I could ask them if I was skinny. Because it was 20 floors, people. Two flights of stairs per floor. I hadn’t had a stair-stepping workout of that intensity since… Oh that’s right. Never. Since never.
There were several fire trucks lining the downtown street. I met some very kind firefighters. They didn’t know if I looked skinnier than I did the day before either (no matter how many times I asked them), but they did eventually let me know that it was an air conditioning malfunction that set off the alarms and they gave us the all-clear to head back to our rooms.
So I cracked my knuckles, did a little neck stretch and started back up those 40 flights of stairs.
Nah, I’m just kidding. I took the elevator back up.
I’ll probably never recommend going straight from semi-sedentary to a one-mile vertical sprint physically. Spiritually? We can jump into godly activity anytime. Even better, there’s a lot to be said for a steady, ever-all-in pace.
It only took one siren blast to inspire me to keep going. Nevermind the calves. I like the paraphrase of Paul’s testimony in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27: “I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself,” (MSG).
I may kid about that “sloppy living,” but when you’re talking about energetically and alertly living for Christ, there’s no joking. We’re called to be prepared and to persevere. We’re reminded all through God’s Word of that call. And then we’re reminded again. Second Peter 1:12-13 says, “Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you have. I consider it right, as long as I am in this bodily tent, to wake you up with a reminder,” (HCSB).
Wake-up call? Bring it. I need it. The good news is that we have the Holy Spirit of God working in us to give us spiritual muscle we can’t muster up on our own. Despite our own personal jello-ey-ness, He takes us to higher places. Places we can’t reach on our own. Ironically, even if the higher places are down on street level. Striving to make things happen in our own strength is like taking the stairs when the elevator is working.
So I’m praising the God who calls us, and then who will get us wherever we need to be to fulfill that calling. Elevator. Stairs. Whatever.