Back in 2003 I decided to become a runner. Running, for me, has always been a problem. I’ve suffered from Abdominal Migraines most of my life, which are, as I described them in my blog Dancing Con Aguafiestas, set off by running. So, why did I take up this difficult task, one most people who don’t suffer from migraines avoid? Simple, I wanted to lose weight and I wanted to challenge myself. I knew if I kept sitting around I might avoid the migraines, but I’d never live the life I wanted to live.
Learning to be a runner was a challenge, it took me a little more than three years to lose any weight, but I did it. Leaning to be a runner taught me how to set my mind on a goal. Training for a half-marathon taught me how to achieve my goals.
Running and losing weight take perseverance and eating healthy. At this point you might be wondering when I am going to get spiritual on you guys. Well, follow me on this one. Living Spiritually is just like running. When I started running seriously, I took all of the advice I ran across. So, here are three practical ways to help us all live spiritually.
1. Be Attentive: Being attentive as a runner means paying attention to your body, which is important when trying to stay healthy. Likewise, spiritual health requires attentiveness. We can’t see God at work if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Being physically healthy means paying attention to what you consume.
Being spiritually healthy is exactly the same. So, take care of yourself by reading your Bible and spending time in prayer. I spend at least twenty minutes every night reading my Bible and praying. Another thing I try to do so I can see God at work in my life during the day is get a good night sleep. We must treat every day like a big race day, which means getting a good night’s sleep. It is impossible to stay attentive to God’s doings, let alone run, if you can’t even keep your eyes open. So go to bed early.
2. Be in Position: During a race I try to find my mental sweet spot, which always seems to be Coldplay’s album Viva La Vida. I pace myself to its tracks as I run, but if I were to stop running for two months before the race and then position myself at the starting line on race day, I can’t expect myself to succeed. Therefore, I position myself for success by going to the gym at least six times a week.
Positioning is important with spiritual success too. I find my spiritual sweet spot when I am hiking with a friend. Hiking in the mountains with a friend gets me going, but if I position myself inside of the wrong group of people, negative people, I tend to lose focus on God. Likewise, if I seclude myself, not go on any hikes, I typically feel like God isn’t with me. And so I know I must go out and engage with people, ones who support me, to be able to see God work. I do know that there are people who feel God’s presence when they are alone, for those people I encourage them to turn off their tv, or whatever is distracting them, and spend some quiet time with God. Find your sweet spot and position yourself in a place where you are most likely to see God.
3. Be Submissive: When I train for a half-marathon, I know if I want to run the race to the best of my abilities, I must train and training means giving up certain desires, like sleeping in on the weekends. I must submit myself to a training schedule, which typically requires long hours and lots of sweat. But I know if I place that schedule above me, as my master, I will have a great opportunity to succeed during my race.
Again, and you’ve probably already got my point, heck you’ve probably already become Jedi’s at all of this, but I’ll say it anyway, Living Spiritually is the same. We must live with our palms up, submitted to God. As said in Proverbs, “In all of your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” Turn your hands up to God in an act of submission. He may ask you to do something out of the ordinary, but He will not lead you astray.
For we are submitting to one who has run this race before us. We are letting Jesus be our master. Hebrews 12:1-2 says and Tim Tebow tweeted before his first playoff game, “Therefore, as we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. Who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, and all its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”