Cheryl Velk

In solitude and togetherness, living the poetry and trying to put it into words.


Physically, this past decade or so has held one thing after another. Somewhere along the way, outside of all the have-to’s, perseverance and caring for my body started to mean rest and acceptance more than anything else. I’ve lost physical strength, though other kinds of strength were gained in the process.

But now it’s time to get up out of gratitude. To get up and walk. To take some stairs again. To feel my lungs take in more air and my heart beat harder within my chest. To expand my capacity with every stretching attempt.

This came to mind after returning to my desk from a couple rounds up and down these six flights of stairs:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Romans 12:1

Inviting the body into spiritual worship. I think I’ve most commonly looked at that as choices, denial, that sort of thing. Doing the serving kind of should’s sacrificially. The body little more than a tool that doesn’t always fully cooperate.

But I hear something new in this today. Remembering how this has made sense to me over the years in prayer and worship postures, too. Closing eyes, raising hands, dancing, taking walks, making art, taking photos, or cleaning the kitchen (some of the most profound times of all with God with that one, strangely enough).

These stairs… such a sweet reminder that this can be worship, too. Not worship of self, as it can so easily become, but worship of God. Time with him.

These stairs are my new labyrinth. Spiritual worship happening as I remember God’s faithfulness in both the ascent and descent. As I remember and praise him for his strength always found at the end of my own. As I accept my limits and where I am right now and find him moving me forward into more. As I notice the increasing fruit of perseverance.

In this new office building that I love so much, though I’ve missed the beautifully rolling, landscaped acres of our last location, I’ve been praying all year for God to show me a new place to take my beauty breaks with him. I never thought it’d be a stairwell.

Cheryl Velk is the author of the book Garden Songs: A Spiritual Formation Field Journal. Follow her on Instagram.

Categories: prayer

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