In Training

Sometimes when you start into something new it can seem overwhelming or discouraging. I have a treadmill that’s been in my basement for the last five years, mostly collecting dust. I’ve used it a little here and there over the years but not consistently. In the fall of this year, I thought I’d do a little running on my treadmill to see what that felt like. I kinda liked it. I knew I couldn’t run for very long so I’d run a bit then walk a bit then run a bit more. I discovered that the more I trained this way, the longer I could run at a time. I was amazed that I actually enjoyed running. I hated those 12 minute runs in high school…mostly because I wasn’t good at it then.

It wasn’t long before I borrowed a book at the library about running to get some information on how to train so I wouldn’t hurt myself. I quickly learned that I needed the right shoes and other running gear. I learned that it’s very helpful to eat a certain way to get enough energy to run well. I learned that although your heart could probably take 30 minute runs right off the hop, your muscles and tendons would tell you “stop.”  I wanted to know what it took to become a good, effective runner. Now that I’ve read a couple of books on the subject and lots of internet information, I’ve got a much better idea of what to do. It’s unfortunate that many people don’t like running because they think it’s too difficult. They think they can’t do it, often because they push themselves too hard at the beginning and have unrealistic expectations of themselves.

As I have been training in this area, I’ve been wondering if new Christians get discouraged and overwhelmed when they first encounter the Christian lifestyle. If this is you, do you put unrealistic expectations on yourselves to be super-spiritual as soon as you accept Christ into your life. Do you expect yourselves to be prayer warriors and Bible scholars? Christianity also takes training and the best thing to do to learn how to be a Christ follower is to pick up the manual. God tells us how to live, how to treat others, how to live in peace and about His unconditional love. Learning how to pray or read the Bible is a work in progress, not an instant thing. Start off small and take little bites at a time. As you become stronger and your hunger for Christ grows, take on bigger chunks and increase your prayer time. Anything new takes adjustment so if you are a new Christian and you feel overwhelmed, give yourself the same grace extended to you by God and take it one day at a time. As your time with Christ increases, you’ll find that peace comes much more easily and your attitude with follow that of Christ’s.

With running, sometimes I have bad days. I haven’t eaten well or had enough liquid to drink or my body is tired and my knees hurt so my run won’t go as smoothly. It’s the same with our Christian walk. Some days are easier than others. Days go more smoothly when we are well hydrated with God’s word and in conversation with Him. Allow yourself some slack at times but don’t be afraid to set some goals.

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