Soul on Fire

I was asked (in earnest) recently that don’t I contradict my mission of holistic health by just concentrating on the physical journey?  I can see where this person was coming from, because just looking at the snapshots of life like Facebook, etc, one could easily come to such a conclusion.  So, my short answer: No.  Here’s how the goals break down right now:

Physical: Yes, I am training for a physical goal of running a half marathon in a few months.  I am following a half marathon training program of a couple short runs through the week, one walking weekday, a long run on the weekend, cross-training workouts on off-running days, and strength training.  I like the structure–takes the excuses and justifications out of exercise.  It’s on the calendar, I do it.  I am also trying really hard to tighten up the nutrition and food choices, not only for continued weight loss, but to improve my physical condition (running the morning after eating a greasy meal and dessert for dinner the night before–bad move).  Just because I stay within a specific calorie/macro goal, doesn’t mean I’m necessarily making healthy choices…back to basics, and also taking a look at better meal planning for me and my husband as life and schedules have changed over the last several months.  Again, my physical change and effort is not a pursuit of skinny–it’s a long-term goal of attaining a healthy weight in order to honor God’s creation and to live in His image.

Mental/Emotional:  Running is not purely physical.  The portion of my emotional journey that I’ve been open in sharing in public forum is that of negative self-talk and self worth.  My brain is a walking double standard–it is truly in a constant battle.  I sit here and tell myself that no, there is no chance on God’s green earth my jiggly fat butt is going to pass over the finish line of a half marathon–I’m not good enough, strong enough, fast enough, or worthy enough…I could go on all day.  Then there’s the other portion of my brain that is convinced I am invincible and can do absolutely anything.  I like that side of my brain–it’s responsible for some of the crazier choices on my journey, but it’s also the one that can put the vivid picture in my mind of finishing the race and that incredible moment that brings me to tears just to think about of accomplishing what parts of me still consider impossible.  I do this in so many areas of life, not just running…it truly is disgusting, but it is getting better bit by bit.  I know that I am enough, that I have worth.  Some day I’ll actually believe it too.  Work in progress.  One thing I am trying that I’ve never really put effort into before because I couldn’t get past being cynical over the idea is affirmations and mantras.  Intentional efforts.  I’ve done a little homework on the subject and have come up with a good list of 16 different affirmations and mantras that I am incorporating into daily life in different areas when that negativity is starting to creep in.  Fun stuff…always trying to improve.

Spiritual: Obedience. Discipline.  Training to run any distance takes discipline.  I’ve talked about before how obedience and discipline are necessary for spiritual growth.  Just like I feel the consequences of eating poorly or not exercising appropriately, same goes with not feeding and exercising my faith.  Running and exercise aren’t just physical activities for me, and they can’t be mental because my head shouldn’t go there when I’m exerting myself (then I just get mad and ugly, it’s really not pretty), so it’s one of the different ways I’ve found that God and I get along well (see, we do converse [pray] outside of my car, bed, and patio!).  I have times set aside for personal scripture reading and in-depth study, prayer, sermon preparation, spiritual programming preparation, and all the other spiritual “stuff” of life as a follower of Jesus Christ and the responsibilities of being a pastor.  Running is becoming one of those times.  I’ve cleaned up my playlists (sorry Green Day and Cheap Trick, there’s a time and place) to change my thought pattern.  Edifying music=positive thinking.  I mean seriously, how can you listen to these words, “God, I’m running for Your heart/I’m running for Your heart/Till I am a soul on fire/Lord, I’m longing for Your ways/I’m waiting for the day/When I am a soul on fire/Till I am a soul on fire” (Third Day) as you’re running an interval over a stunning channel, looking up and seeing daybreak over the mountains, and not be in complete and total awe of where God has placed you in this world?  Seriously?!  Holy living–the pursuit of holiness.  Being obedient to the plans God has for me, in taking care of me, to carry out His good work.  Plus the upside of communing with God in different places and different ways, takes the focus off me and gets me out of my head.  Prime example, this last Saturday.  I was dreading my scheduled run because the heat made me sick the week prior, but coming out with the right focus completely changed things.  I truly was invincible.  I could do anything in that moment.  It wasn’t my longest run ever, or even my fastest…but it was focused, incredible, and almost ethereal.  I felt beyond amazing.  I didn’t tire, and even went about the rest of the day with incredible energy and no dragging (just a few choice groans on the foam roller that night, but that’s a different can of worms, LOL).

Yeah, so, sit tight, I’m probably going to be talking about running a lot for a while–but while it’s pushing my physical limits, it is changing me inside and out.  I’m excited about it.  I am absolutely fascinated to see my body do what I never thought possible, and it’s only possible by taking risks, setting the goals, and knowing that the ability is not selfish ambition, it’s God given.  He gets all the glory, and I’m just reaping the blessing in the process.


(This morning coming over the London Bridge)


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