Tag Archives: sports

Spiritual Sprint #3: mellifluous

adjective – (of a voice or words) sweet or musical; pleasant to hearphoto

Purist runners don’t need a kickin’ playlist blaring from their headphones to pound out a good race. But for me, I gotta have my tunes.

Oh sure, many will tell me I’m missing out on the wonderful sounds of nature as I cruise the trail. Or my mind can’t properly clear itself of the day’s worries if guitar riffs, bass thumps, and catchy melodies occupy my brain. I disagree.

The music drowns out the world for me and allows my brain to actually focus. On the days when I’ve run without my tunes, the pounding of my tennis shoes beats my brain with the monotony of the activity. My shallow breaths mock and remind me that my heart isn’t as healthy as it needs to be. In fact, they both discourage me into thinking that I can’t actually go the distance – literally!

Therefore, I run with soundtracks. I let the music drown out the pounding of feet and rapid breathing. The beat of the music sets my pace and helps me run the race.

So it is with my spiritual race as well. However, in this case the soundtrack isn’t all lyrics and guitar melodies; it’s the Word of God. I learned long ago that His Word can be an accompaniment to any difficult race I’ve run in my life.  There’s a verse or passage that drowns out the worry and the fear and helps me keep running with purpose. There’s a prayer that steadies my heartbeat with His, instead of letting it run wild and irregular.

When the race’s route is unknown, we can trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding, and He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:4,5).

When we feel we can’t finish the distance He set for us, we must remember in Christ we can do all things (Philippians 4:13) and that the God who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).

When an injury threatens to keep us from running at all, we can know that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and God has plans for us, plans that bring us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

As our feet pound the pavement of life and our heart rates try to be controlled by life’s problems,  we should let the Word overpower the distracting sounds of the world and keep running until we reach the finish line.

What’s your favorite tune to work out to  either spiritually or physically?

Spiritual Sprint #1: Pace

noun – consistent and continuous speed in walking, running, or movingphoto-6

“Slow and steady wins the race.” Uhm, Mr. Catch Phrase maker, I’d like to make an adjustment to your snappy saying. Since I’ve recently added novice runner to my list of personal information, I think we should say, “Slow and steady finishes the race.”

For Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a Garmin Forerunner 10 — a runner’s watch that calculates distance, time, and pace.  My previous manner of calculating distance included riding around in the car and mapping out just how far I had run. As for time, I used my trusty Ease Into 5K app.

My first time out with my new watch, I simply ran until I reached my goal distance. Unfortunately, I noticed that my mile pace was awful. For my next run, I sought the advice of my husband to remedy the situation.  He informed me that I simply needed to keep my eye on the pace time and forget about the distance — to keep my pace steady and I’d run farther than I thought I could.

I set a reasonable goal (20 seconds faster per mile than my previous run) and headed out. Keeping a consistent eye on my pace, I ran. Some moments, I found myself running ahead of the goal. Further into the miles, I realized my pace had slowed considerably. But with each glance of the pace time on my watch, I adjusted my speed and found the rhythm once again. In the end, I achieved my goal pace time, and ran my target distance with comfort.  I finished.

Keeping pace in my spiritual life often feels like my runs without the watch.  There are times I stop to take inventory of my heart and mind. When I haven’t been consistently praying, reading scripture, or setting aside quiet times with God, my spiritual pace runs amuck.  I’m running too fast, staying too busy to really listen to God’s voice for the day’s “needed” activities; or I’m a sloth that doesn’t get anything accomplished for Him.

Time in the Word each day, a consistent prayer routine, and a stronger focus on “things above.” Those moments create the steady pace that will get me to the finish line. And I don’t want to simply finish the race; I want others to start running with me; I want to bandage the injured that I meet along the route and encourage them to get back in the race.

Spiritual highs and lows often come because we create them with our lack of consistency. We want to blame God because He seems far away, but that’s usually because we’ve created the distance, not Him. It’s the steady pace that keeps our relationship strong and keeps our legs enduring the distance that leads us to the finish line.

How do you maintain a goal pace in your spiritual life?