February 27, 2012

Faith and Fitness

I am very privileged to bring you a guest post by my dear friend, fitness inspiration and fellow millie, Olivia. Our husbands were in TRADOC at Benning together almost (gasp!) 2 years ago.

Olivia blogs at IronWoman31 about her life as an army wife athlete. Today’s post is courtesy of her. Be sure and leave some bloggy love, and follow IronWoman31!

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I swim, bike, and run. Yes, I’m one of those crazies who “do” triathlons. Although I must confess, I am a natural swimmer and a collegiate trained cyclist, but only an aspirant runner, so far. I do dream of one day being an Ironman Champion (there, I said it! that took guts!) and so using every last bit of my athletic talents to point others to a God who is mighty, to a God who cares, to a God who promises hope and to a God who promises an abundant life.

Writer Erma Brombeck said it best, When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'.”

At the end of an especially difficult training session, I often remember this quotation, and remember why I give any of my time, emotions, or mental capacity to swimming, biking, and running.

I want to honor God with my life.

So more than just the swimming, biking, and running, my heart has always desired to pursue my athletic abilities in triathlon and use my platform in the sport to glorify my Creator and Savior. The Apostle Paul puts it best, Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NLT).

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Olivia and her now-deployed soldier

So, whatever your talent, run to win. Do it to point to Christ.

“So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)

What’s more, training my body and mind to persevere until the end of a half Ironman (and one day a full Ironman!) is like training my heart and mind to be like Christ’s. Both require daily dedication, repetition, meditation, perseverance, and endurance to shift my paradigm of myself.

“…We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the Holy Spirit who was given to us has poured the love of God into our hearts.” (Romans 5:3-5, NKJV)

As an athlete I must focus on how I want to perform in a race by visualizing my performances, practicing perfect technique, and repeating speed drills; in the same way in my faith I renew my mind by daily meditating on the promises of God. I focus on what He wants me to become, not what I don’t want to become.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

So, really what I think about when I’m swimming laps, riding my bike, and running up hills pushing my 18-month-old daughter is, “how is this glorifying Christ?” And I’ll be honest, sometimes, as a young mommy and military spouse, just getting away from it all and allowing myself a couple hours to regroup on a long run is glorifying Christ.

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“Be still and know that I am God.”

(Psalm 46:10a)

2 comments:

  1. Good point! Thanks for the reminder!

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  2. Thanks so much for this. It reminds me that my on track focus of looking at the number on the treadmill and focusing on when it will get to the number I want it to get to that I should be doing that in my prayer and spiritual life too. I will strive to keep my eyes on Jesus as much as I do the countdown on the treadmill.

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