A recent episode of Antiques Roadshow evaluated a painting by Edward Volkert titled “Avon Hills Pasture.” The Roadshow expert complimented Volkert on his ability to capture the light of the sun in the work and appointed him “the supreme cattle painter so dedicated to detail he would visit slaughter houses for accuracy.” The painting was just as she explained, “very authentic.” After discussing other details she announced the value of the painting at between $12- $18 thousand, and added “those are some very contented cows.”
While I consider myself far from an art expert, I do know what I like in paintings. I noticed the cows did not have cow bells around their necks. For the time period the lack of cow bells seemed rather unusual. The bell helped the farmer track the cow when they jumped the fence and sought greener pasture. Evidently, either the farmer had the perfect fence, or these cows were really content.
Sometimes we find ourselves straining our necks to look into the next green pasture. We equate busy as servant hood and wander far from the mark set by Christ. Paul described his ongoing understanding of contentment in Philippians 4:11-13. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
As the students arrived for class Monday morning, I overheard a few of them say “We are in trouble today, she only has a kettle bell and a stability ball set out.” Typically, we use all types of props in the class; a balance disc, tubing, weights, step, stability ball and kettle bell. Recently I have fallen head or heels in love with the kettle bell and have been strategically incorporating in the class a few minutes at a time. I assured the class everything would be all right as long as they followed my instructions and I guaranteed they would love the class.
The kettle bell is the ultimate form of conditioning. Lifting and swinging the kettle bell elevates the heart rate which is cardiovascular training and you enjoy resistance training at the same time. Studies have shown that a kettle bell workout can burn up to 600 calories in 30 minutes. That’s burning 28 calories per minute which is equivalent to running a six minute mile pace. Not only is caloric expenditure high, but the long term metabolic effect of turning your body into a fat burning machine, long after the workout is over, is an added bonus. Easy to see why I have given my heart and body to the kettle bell.
The kettle bell exercises I chose to use that day were stationary exercises. I noticed the students were intently listening to my instruction and following my lead. The class was focused and willing to put all their effort into the workout. The later into the class, the more challenging the kettle bell became. The students continued to remain focused and performed at 100% of their ability. No one left the class early, which was impressive. I believe telling them before the class they could burn twice as many calories in the workout kept their attention and focus.
The kettle bell workout reminded me of the importance of staying and enjoying the moment God has given us. Instead of running, jumping rope or climbing the stairs, we stayed in one place and burned a bunch of calories. Since becoming a Christian, I have spent almost my entire adult life seeking and searching to do God’s perfect will. Being a visionary, I am geared to look ahead and beyond the moment to what’s next. In this way of living there are times when I have overlooked the present day with God and missed out on the enjoyment of being with Him, in the moment.
A dear friend spoke very boldly to me last week and the bell began to ring. I was missing the mark by searching beyond God’s plan. After listening to her words, I realized I was doing what God wanted me to do every day. In my prayer time I had been praying, “God, please open up more doors of opportunity and show me how to do even bigger things for you.” How can you do more than be in His will? My daily prayer sounds like this now; “God what do you want me to do today? I will do anything your Kingdom requires of me. I am willing to follow you and will go wherever you are going.” This changed my prayer from a self-centered way of thinking to a servant’s way of thinking, and spiritual turmoil, to peace and contentment.