Warmup vs. Workout

Our black Labrador Adi was eight-weeks-old when we took her to visit our veterinarian for the first time.  As we were entering the office, an older gentleman with a cat carrier was leaving.  He took one look at the 12-pound bundle of happiness in my arms and chuckled.  “Hope you have a lot of energy.  That dog’s gonna need hours of exercise a day.”  With that he exited the building.

Not one to take words spoken to me lightly, I went home and searched out how many hours of exercise a Labrador should have a day. I landed on a consistent opinion of 2-3 hours.  Knowing that unsatiated energy turns into destructive behavior, the kids and I made sure Adi got that amount of exercise plus some each day.   

Fast forward five years.  Adi and I have a set morning canine-ercise routine which now includes our Lab mix Summer.  Like clockwork, we’re up at sunrise and headed out the door for a four plus mile walk.  While I’m enjoying the quietude of creation, Adi and Summer are busy “reading” the neighborhood news with their noses.  (I should be more mindful of what they learn from their “reading” because they knew about the bear who would cross our path well before me, but that’s a story for another day.)  Upon our return to the house, I unclip their leashes and we head to the backyard.  Our brisk walk has only taken a chunk out of their exercise needs.  Not until they’ve played fetch followed by several rounds of Labrador chase and wrestle are they tired and ready to go inside where they’ll both sleep until lunch.

When I look at our Labradors’ morning exercise routine, I can see the different benefits the dogs glean from their walk versus their backyard play.  The walk gets them out of the house, warms up their muscles, and wakes up their minds to the discipline of listening.  The backyard retrieving, racing, and wrestling on the other hand builds stronger muscles.  This daily routine has kept our older Lab lean and youthful while helping our younger Lab develop her adult muscles, agility, and speed.

In many respects, the condition of my spiritual muscles relies on a very similar morning routine.  My time with the Lord begins by reading several different devotional books.  The dates recorded at the top of each entry hold me accountable to my devotional discipline.  The challenging and enriching writings of authors like Charles Spurgeon, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Mary Tiletson, and David Kitz help wake up my mind and warm up my ears to hear and eyes to see.  However, it’s not until I pick up my Bible and wrestle to grasp a clearer understanding of a Biblical truth or chase through the pages looking to retrieve verses that give more insight and understanding that my spiritual muscles are fully exercised and built up.

Truth be told, there are days when I stick to my devotional time but skip my time of Bible study.  If I allow too many days like this to go by, I can feel myself becoming spiritually flabby with little endurance to fight the good fight of faith.

Dear Reader, May this Lesson from a Lab devotional be only a piece of your spiritual exercise warmup today and not your full workout.  I hope you will soon be grabbing your Bible and embarking on a muscle building Word workout.  Sincerely, Beth Alisan

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 

1 Corinthians 9:25

© 2019-2022, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

32 thoughts on “Warmup vs. Workout

  1. Love that little bit about your dogs “reading the neighborhood news with their noses.” That’s some clever writing right there, Beth! / You are so right about spending some time most days studying God’s Word. It’s beneficial to our spirits, hearts, minds, and even our bodies as His encouragement, peace, comfort, and more minimizes stress and lowers blood pressure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Nancy! That neighborhood news part was born out of a conversation with a fellow dog owner/ dog walker. Your blog is clearly the fruit of your time spent in the word. I love how your posts point readers to the feast that awaits them in the word.

      Like

    1. Thank you! Just hoped over to your blog and met Dudley. He is quite a handsome chocolate. I had to chuckle as your most recently blogged walk certainly had an element of surprise for both you and the sheep. Glad everyone came out unscathed and that Dudley has now checked “sheep herding” of his bucket list. Enjoy those blissful walks with your Lab.. They truly are the most wonderful companions.

      Like

  2. Our puppy requires at least a half hour of wild running and wrestling with his best doggie friend every day. I’m not sure what the spiritual equivalent is to that — but it kind of makes me tired just thinking about it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. Nora, I’m so glad Finnegan has a best doggie friend to play with each day. I’ve come to the conclusion true canine exhaustion can only be reached by dog on dog play. I do find it fascinating how each breed has it’s own style of play and love watching how dogs adapt their differing styles to make the most of their playtime.

      Like

      1. 🙂 One daughter said Finnegan plays like that one kid on the playground who takes things a bit too seriously! He’s kind of short compared to his playmate and he can run under her belly! Again and again…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It truly is a discipline to spend time in God’s Word in the morning, just as you so beautifully pointed out. Never have I been disappointed when I take time with God in His Word. The blessings far outweigh the effort, just as Adi and Summer are blessed when you so faithfully make sure they get their physical exercise. All of you benefit! Your blog is always a joy to read, Beth, and full of valuable insights for me. Have a blessed day and week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel the same way Beth, we have to stay consistent with our walks with the Father as well as our pups. I do smile a lot more when I am in tune with Him. Your pups are gorgeous and fun to see them playing and running in the yard.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is my first visit to your blog and I’m so glad I came! As a farm girl and a walker, I greatly appreciate your message (I love dogs, too!) I think your daily walk with your dogs benefits you as well, physically and mentally. You’ve established a healthy routine for all of you. Making the connection to your spiritual growth is a natural next step. I’m grateful for the reminder to not omit my daily Bible study and devotional time. Thank you for the blessing of your message.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Katherine, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It’s always lovely to hear from a fellow Christ follower, dog lover and country girl. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Lessons from a Lab and that this month’s message came as a blessing.

      Like

  6. What a lovely post Beth. It reminded me of morning walks up the Lomond hills and woods with our sadly missed border Collie. I recognise that familiar routine of me walking meditatively and Glen running to and fo through the vegetation sniffing out rabbits and deer.
    You craft this into a very pertinent illustration of our daily devotional time, and how important they are too. Thank you sister. May God bless you richly today 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alan! Your words of encouragement are always timely and come as a such a blessing. I do believe our Labs would thoroughly enjoy a frolicking walk through the Lomond hills and woods. Glen was so blessed to have a master who enjoyed taking him on such jaunts. I hope you and Susan have a lovely and refreshing weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Beth I won’t tell our Lab how much exercise yours gets! Willow is actually my daughter’s dog, and my daughter has been too busy lately to do more than a quick 5 minute play here and there. Poor Willow! A great analogy you’ve drawn that when we treat our devotional time or bible reading the same way then we also become spiritually unfit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jo! Homeschooling definitely spoils our dogs. Not only are they with humans all day, it gives me time to exercise them in the morning plus they get to be an active part of the kids recess and gym class. I told my husband that when the girls finally graduate I’ll need to get a job I can do at home for the dogs sake.

      Like

    1. Thank you Tierney! I laughingly tell people that a tired Lab is a happy Lab. It’s amazing how calm and relaxed they are after their morning canin-ercise. If it gets delayed for any reason they both are restless and miserable. I’ve also learned from chatting with those who have healthy senior Labs that keeping them trim and active is a key to keeping their hips healthy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Now that’s a great comparison as well as quite a collection of devotionals! Sometimes my devotional reading spurs me into reading a longer passage or even the entire chapter from which the daily lesson comes. In my Bible reading I need to just stay on the path ahead, and the little moments of inspiration come unexpectedly like a rabbit running across the path. Remember that following those rabbit trails is fine with God when we are doing it in His word!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pastor Pete! Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of devotionals. I select two each year trying to maintain a balance of one classic with one more modern. Those pictured are four of my all time favorites. I love when a devotional becomes a catalyst for further Bible study. Some of those rabbit trails can be the most fruitful to follow.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love the parallels of life and relationship with God you bring out Beth.
        We have a grandson who needs intensive exercise
        14 hours a day. I think he shold be a dog Walker and dog wrestler.
        It will take a big village to raise him.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Gary! Sounds like a Spaniel could be your grandson’s best friend. It would be the best behaved dog after the two of them spent hours running through the fields together . (We had Brittany Spaniels growing up. They were working dogs and seemed to have insatiable energy). That said many a dog owner would appreciate someone whose energy level met that of their cute canines. An industrious young man could make a fair penny walking dogs depending on the neck of the woods where he lives.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for a great reminder, Beth. I heard a pastor say once, “The Bible sure sheds a lot of light on commentaries and devotional books.”

    I had a Dalmatian once who needed lots of exercise. We used to run together. I always go tired before he did.

    Doggy hugs to Adi and Summer. 🐾🐾

    God Bless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you David! What a great quote. Thank you for sharing it! I had to hang up my running shoes a year before we got Adi. She would have made a great running companion. Once the weather cools, Arlie is hoping to begin taking Summer on some mid afternoon runs. Adi & Summer send some Labby love your way.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s