About 8 weeks ago I started training to run a 5K. I have been reluctant to say it out loud because that makes it real, and I am afraid of failure. Of not training enough to make it happen, or not finishing the race. But I have been running at a gym in the early mornings before the children are awake, thanks to a friend and accountability partner who drives me to and from! I am still in the early stages of training my lungs and my legs to RUN, but.... I am doing it.
It is both getting easier and not getting easier.
Last night my friend did not text to confirm a workout for this morning so I wasn't sure we were going. I set my alarm for 6:15 anyway. When my alarm went off, I lay in bed and prepared to text her to ask if she was planning on going to the gym. My fingers were seriously about to type "sorry, but I'm cancelling this morning" when instead they typed "are we going to planet fitness this morning?" Every ounce of my body wanted to stay in bed. But I didn't! I am actively striving to "discipline my body and bring it under strict control."
During these past weeks of exercise I have been pondering these verses in I Corinthians 9:24-27:
"Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified."I have read these verses many times over the years, but they take on new meaning when I am in the midst of physical training. Getting out of bed, going out in the cold, taking that first step on the treadmill....it is not fun. Not even a tiny little bit. But in doing it I know that I am "not running aimlessly," but rather for a goal, a prize. For the sake of the prize, I discipline my body. Make it do what it does not want to do.
In light of that, what does it mean to discipline my spirit? My mind? My will? Make them do things they don't naturally want to do? And what is the prize? It is a "crown that will never fade away," which means eternal life with Christ! For the sake of that prize, what discipline am I willing to endure?
I don't want to just run. I want to run in such a way as to win the prize.
Teach me, Lord. And help me to run both the 5K and the race of life in such a way as to win!