Friday, October 10, 2008

Marathon Training Lesson #3

My training schedule called for one 'long run' a week. Long runs are so unpredictable. You can start out feeling great and just suddenly 'hit a wall'. The wall can be caused from lack of planning--not allowing time for adequate digesting of food, for example. It can also be caused by just pure physical problems such as cramps, shin splints, you name it. Other times, you just hit a wall for no apparent reason. I think these are just simply 'mental'. So much of running comes down to your 'mental game'. When I hit these walls, the only way I ever recovered was to refocus my thoughts. Halfway through my long runs, I began carrying scripture cards. When my mind would start to weaken, I would start praying scripture. Wow! This made a huge difference! I also began to shift my prayers to others rather than the 'me' prayers of 'give me strength, help me not be weary...' Refocusing worked; it worked every single time. It worked because I quit relying on myself and began relying on God. It worked because it quit being about me and started being about Him and others.

As I have been learning how to cope with 'the wall' in my training, I've thought about how much 'the wall' affects my daily life. I want so much to live my life focused on God first, others second, me last. Just like my runs, I can start off well. I get up and spend time with the Lord--I get filled up with Him with the hope that what I get filled with will flow out on those around me throughout the day. Just as physical 'training' is making me stronger to run a marathon, my daily time in God's Word and prayer is 'training' me spiritually to think and be more like Jesus. Starting the day off with God at the forefront is a great plan and gets that mentality of 'God first, others second, me last' in order. However, somewhere along the way--sometimes early on in the day--my mind shifts, these priorities change. 'Me' starts to creep up to the front. I hit the wall--the wall of 'Me'. I have found the wall of 'Me' to be the biggest challenge of my life. The wall of 'Me' disguises itself in all different ways, including what I have began to call 'emotional tizzies'. I can get worked up into an emotional tizzy in no time flat. And then my mind can become consumed with it. I've realized that I have to refuel my mind throughout the day with God's Word, not just in the morning. I've got to reframe and refocus my mind moment by moment. Just as running a marathon is a moment by moment battle, so is life. Focus, focus, focus. Where is my focus? What am I thinking on? Am I thinking about what I am thinking about? I don't want to be stuck behind the wall of 'me'. I want to climb it and conquer it and I know the only way to do that is through God's supernatural power.

'Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.' Psalm 26:2-3

'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself' Philippians 2:3

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8

1 comment:

God's Girl Pearl said...

Maria ~ I loved the article in "Runners World" about Ryan Hall. Especially the part about where he studied the life of Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence taught that godly people should weave worship into their every day life. That we should do every single little thing for the Lord and stay connected with him throughout our day in prayer. While I think mornings with God are so important to start you day, I also think that worship should be such a natural flow of your day. I totally agree with you that sometimes "me" gets in the way. Let me know when you get this taken care of. So you can share the secret to this. Although I feel like I am getting better, I still struggle with this so much.