Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Just Put One Foot In Front of the Other
I started running again this week for the first time since last spring and the unfortunate dog bite incident. I am not a super great runner. Even on my best days I'm pretty slow. Part of my problem with running, well, any exercise, is that I played so many sports growing up that exercise has had no meaning for me outside of the realm of competition. I never learned exercise for the sake of being healthy....it always had to have some greater or grand purpose to it than that. I remember one calendar year I ran track in the spring, played softball in the summer, played volleyball in the fall, and then basketball in the winter. This was then followed by playing on an elite softball team the following spring. I literally went almost a year and a half with no breaks from sports. Is it any wonder I went a bit on exercise burnout for so long after quitting competitive sports for good after university?
One of the things I notice when I do re-start an exercise program is my old tendency to push myself just like I would have been pushed playing sports. It's not enough that I am just out there doing it. I have to go longer, faster, better. I can't just be content with going two miles, even if I walk a bit. No, I have to go two miles, run the whole thing and then the next time I go running I have to go further or faster. I am learning to give myself grace and just be happy to be out and moving and forget everything else.
One of my other issues with running is my tendency to focus too far ahead. If I am running down a street, my eyes tend to be waaaaay down the road. The problem is that I start thinking about how far away that is, and how tired I am and how I'd like to stop and walk for a bit, until eventually I actually DO stop and walk, or at least slow down. I have actually realized that I do better if rather than focusing too far ahead, if I just concentrate on the road just slightly ahead of me and around me (taking looks further up ahead only periodically to make sure I'm headed in the right direction) it makes the run easier. I just put one foot in front of the other and before you know it, I'm at the end of the road which seemed so far away at the beginning.
I find a lot of spiritual parallels with this. Matthew 6:34 says "Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." I think the running analogy applies here. If we start looking too far ahead in life we start thinking of how far we have to go, how tired we are, how we are going to get there and how much we'd like to stop until we eventually do. Or, we start worrying about things that haven't even happened yet! We should keep in the back of our mind the prize (the finish line), that's our motivation. But we should be focusing our fore-front thoughts on what's in front of us today. If we are obedient and wise and diligent with what we have today...tomorrow takes care of itself.
Obviously this is not a prescription for just frittering today away or being frivolous or procrastinating with our todays....we still have to be wise and responsible....but, tomorrow will be taken care of. That's a promise.
PS For those who are wired with a visionary ability, this is a whole other category of "tomorrows" and I am pretty certain that this verse was not speaking of this type of "thinking ahead."