Run for your life!
Signing up for a half-marathon helped Alex Morgan get in shape
A few months ago, after months of inactivity, I finally decided that it was time for me to get back in shape. For months I had been telling myself that I would go to the gym which I had signed up to for a year and been twice.
Recently, it was estimated that £4billion was spent on unused gym membership in the UK. So I grabbed my running shoes and hit the streets of West London. Three times a week for the past few months I have been pulling those shoes on (even on holiday) and running.
However, there is a difference this time to every other time I had vowed to get into shape. I had a goal! Before I ran a single step I signed up for a half-marathon: 13.1 miles or 21 kilometres! Madness!
On my first run, I ran for a whole 90 seconds before thinking I was going to pass out. I knew that for me to continue running every week I would have to set a goal.
Therefore, the knowledge that in a couple of months I will be running 13.1 miles determines that on the days that I feel like running – and on the days that I don’t – I run.
And in our walk with Jesus, there are spiritual disciplines that we should be doing regularly. In his book ‘Celebration of Discipline’, Richard Foster states that the disciplines we should be practising as Christians are separated into three categories: inward, outward and corporate.
The inward disciplines of meditating, prayer, fasting and studying. The outward disciplines of simplicity, submission, solitude and service. And finally the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance and celebration.
As I look at the list Foster has put together some come quite easy to me and others where I struggle.
When it comes to prayer there are some days where I feel like I am in the throne room of heaven and others where I feel like I’m shouting at the air. However, discipline tells me that no matter how I am feeling I must continue to put it into practice. Paul tells us to run in such a way as to get the prize... to understand there is a reason why we put all of these disciplines in place.
Today some of you may be running aimlessly, wondering why you are putting all this effort in. Maybe you need to be reminded of the prize that awaits everyone who finishes the race; that each one will receive a prize that is beyond anything we could imagine; that we are called to keep on running.
On the days when it is wet and cold; on the days when it’s too hot; on the days when you’re tired; on the days when you don’t think you can run another step; keep going. The key is to put one foot in front of the other. Every step is a step closer to the goal; a step closer to that crown of righteousness.
Maybe you’ve never tried some of the disciplines that Foster suggests. Why not pick one this month and begin to do it regularly and see the change it will bring?
Then you will be able to say the words Paul wrote to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.”
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