Today I ran my second race of the year. I was excited because it was an actual timed race and I would be able to see exactly where I stood in result of the training that I have been doing.
Everyone lined up to the start line, mentally preparing, jumping up and down to get the adrenaline going, finished listening to the honorary speakers and national anthem.
The announcer stood off to the side and blew the horn and off we went! I won’t go into details of every step of the race. I will however, mention something that I realized and that was a big deal to why I am running.
This whole time, I had been anticipating the awards at the end of the race, the idea of winning first in my age bracket, and improving my time. As I was running, my pace started to slow a little. People passed me by. I started cramping – having constant dialogue in my head, telling myself not to stop, not to walk…
And then it hit me. Why am I running? Why do I want that award and recognition so bad? Is it because i want to give myself glory and praise? Or is it because I want to give God glory and praise?
I realized how selfish I was being in wanting that recognition for myself. When in reality, it is God that gives me the ability to be able to run – and to run 3 miles at that! It is God that gave me this body to exercise and not be lazy. It is God that gives me the drive to keep going, mile after mile. This bodily exertion is not for weight-loss, or maximal long-term health, or physical appearance – but to give God ALL the glory and praise and for greater joy in Christ because HE is the one that blessed me with this ability.
So, as I reflected the rest of the day on this change of mindset, I was able to praise God for allowing me to realize that during my run and to see how I was allowing my time improvements and goals I had set up for myself starting to replace Him for myself. I look forward to the rest of the races that come my way and the training that will come with them – but even more look forward to continue to be able to praise God for the Creator He is – for creating my legs that give me the ability to be able to run.
There is an article on DesiringGod.com that really touches on this subject so well. It also gives the following prayers for exercising that are so perfect. I encourage you to read them, let them sit on your heart, and pray them the next time you’re going to go exercise.
▪Father, please give me the will to overcome laziness tomorrow morning, lace up my shoes, and take the first step — and then work such discipline throughout my life in the fight against sin.
▪Father, give me the drive to push my body beyond what is merely comfortable, to “discipline my body and keep it under control” (1 Corinthians 9:27), and work in me, by your Spirit, so that physical training serves the ripening of the spiritual fruit of self-control (Galatians 5:23).
▪Father, loosen my grip on my own performance and results and personal goals. May my exercise not ultimately be about me, but about my increased enjoyment of Jesus.
▪Father, guard me from valuing bodily training more than godliness. Rather, make these efforts holy, through my acting in faith, so that this exercise serves my holiness, instead of competing with it.
▪Father, grant that I would know you and enjoy you more through pushing my body in this way. Let me feel your pleasure through this natural gift so that I am spiritually satisfied enough to sacrifice my own preferences and personal routines to meet the needs of others.
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