I recently ran a 5K. This comes from the girl who five years ago thought running was only for athletes. It’s also from the girl who is not competitive, therefore speed is not my goal but finishing the race is my prize.
After my Irish twins (now 5 and 6 years old) arrived in God’s amazing and surprising timing exactly 11.5 months apart, workouts and fitness became an outlet. I quickly found that the body and spirit connection was fueled just as much in prayer as it was in physical activity. Nothing crazy mind you, just moving. It started out with walking and other workouts, but eventually followed with running (aka jogging) if I could fit it in a couple times a week. It wasn’t really about the numbers on the scale, but instead more about feeling healthy and clearing my head.
Fast forward five years and I still stand firm on the belief that just as my day must start with at least some prayer time, it also needs to have some physical activity. To be physically and spiritually healthy is vital to our well-being. Each comes with its own amount of difficulty, especially when it calls on us to reorganize and prioritize our schedule and our lives. Neither activity is really about the exact perfect end or who wins the race. It’s a win-win for you either way. You better bet though that both will be challenging, laden with ups and downs, triumphs and stumbling blocks. Just about when I’m feeling confident, a plateau or a wall hits, and whether that’s with my physical body or my spiritual one, it causes me to stretch and grow.
As I ran the recent race, I found myself grateful for all of those hard workouts when I fought to stay moving. I felt confident in every stride and felt really good the whole race. Nearing the end, I couldn’t help but thank God for the gift of my health and the ability to use my body for good, for myself and for tending to the needs of others. The aches and pains weren’t at the front of my mind, but a spirit of gratitude rose to the surface.
I’ve come to know that the persistence and importance of my prayer life does reap rewards. Like physical activity, when I least want to make time for God is when I need to take the time and do it. Avoiding either makes the return ever more difficult. While neither road to well-being is consistently lined with rainbows and flowers, I know that God desires the best for me in order to serve Him well.
How well are you running the race these days, spiritually or physically? Do you find either to be especially challenging while tending to the daily to-do list, a job, your vocation and caring for the needs of others? You are not alone, my friend. I hope you can find the right way for you to take another step forward in your spiritual and physical health this summer. God may surprise you and do great things after you take that first leap.