I’m taking a road trip this week, a looong road trip. I’m driving to my birthplace of Goshen, Indiana. That’s somewhere around 800 miles or about a 12 hour drive, alone in my car. Just me and my thoughts for miles on end.
I passed this strange truck like thing. It reminded me of some kind of alien. Can anyone tell me what this creature is?
I like taking road trips alone. I get to stop as often as I want, for as long as I want. I get to choose the route, listen to the radio stations of my choice, and play the music as loud as I want. But what I like best about taking road trips alone is the solitude. With nothing to do but drive, I find myself doing a lot of thinking…and a lot of praying.
My faith is important to me. Jesus is not just my savior. He’s my friend. He’s my LIFE. I am who I am because of Jesus Christ.
And yet, as I’m driving along today, something that’s been preying on my mind for quite a while surfaced again. And this time, I had nothing but time to think about it. And what I thought about made me tear up.
It’s no news flash that I’m a runner. If you’ve spent any time here On the Other Side with me, you know that about me! You also know that I love CrossFit. I spend a lot of time training my body. I enjoy CrossFit for CrossFit’s sake, but mostly it’s an avenue to build strength so that I can become a better runner. I run to train my body for races. I do speed intervals to run faster. I run hills to become stronger. I run long distances to prepare my body for long races. I spend a lot of time preparing for running events. I even plan my schedule around my training schedule.
But as I was driving along today, these thoughts that have been swirling around, pricking my conscience, finally got my full attention. Over the last several months, in more than one environment, I’ve encountered this message of prioritization, especially when it comes to training our physical bodies. Are you focusing more on training your physical body than you are your soul? Faith is a muscle too; the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. And in the end, my physical body will cease to exist, but my soul will go on forever.
I have to admit that somehow my priorities have been turned upside down lately. I find myself choosing a run over choosing time spent with scripture. Or choosing a run over time spent with friends. How is it that I’ve put more worth on training for a physical race, which has no everlasting benefits, than on training for the spiritual race that has at the end a crown of life? How is it that I can tell someone who died for me out of love that I value training my physical body more than spending time with Him?
That’s what brought me to tears. I’ve made health and fitness not just a top priority but THE priority.
Don’t get me wrong. Running and training for athletic events is NOT wrong in itself. In fact, staying fit and healthy is one way we can be prepared to do whatever it is that God calls us to do. And He does have a job for you! But I cannot let running become more important to me than the One who gave me the ability to run.
So I’m thinking about how to reorder my life so that God is first and that I can still train for my next marathon. (Yes, another one’s in the works. More about that another day.) I’ve been thinking about some suggestions that other runner friends have passed on:
- Listen to scripture during the run
- Pray for someone different during each mile of the run
- Meditate on a certain verse or passage of scripture during the run
But more than doing things, I think there’s the matter of getting my heart in the right place. Doing things, good things, still doesn’t mean I have the right attitude, and that’s really what prioritization is all about–doing what you do with a right and good attitude. Run, not just for the bling, but for the glory of God and his amazing creation. Run, not just to win, but to encourage others to just do it. Lift heavy weights, not just for the accolades of your peers, but to be able to go about your life’s work when you’re old and gray.
Maybe I’m the only one who lets things that are important to me get out of order…
How do you keep things that are important in life in perspective and in the right place?