A Christian Runner’s Devotional

Please share with your friends!

Fitness has become invaluable to me as I have witnessed the benefits of taking care of my body.  But you know what?  Some days are just hard.  It’s hard to get going, to feel motivated, and to push through.  Motivation comes from discipline and discipline comes from understanding your purpose.

I typically plan my day the night before.  It gives me a chance to consider my priorities and structure them into my day to guarantee they happen…well as much as life can guarantee anything. Ha!  But at least I have a plan and can wake up with focus.  So last night, a morning run sounded like a great idea!  I got up at 4am, got ready and really tried to get myself into the right mindset for that run.  Cold and still dark outside…my mind started coming up with all the excuses and reasons why I really didn’t need to do that run.  Luckily I had a system to fall back on when my mindset wasn’t where it needed to be yet. 

I got in my car and headed to the gym.  Once inside I started my warm-up and still wasn’t feeling it!  Ugh!  Was I wasting my time (and precious gas?!). So my warm-up was twice as long as usual and I resolved that today, wasn’t going to be the run I had imagined last night, but I would at least do something!  I started simple.  Let’s just do a mile, I thought.  You know what happened?  I hit that mile and set another small goal.  Let’s hit another half mile.  By the end of my run, I had run three miles.  That was more than what I had planned for the day!  Yes, I took it slower than usual, but I exceeded my goal.

What happened?  Movement encouraged the momentum.  I proved to myself I could do it.  I set smaller goals and continued setting them at key checkpoints during my run.  I know many of you could likely run farther and faster than I did, but I’m comparing myself only to myself, as it should be.  After having six kids, I was nervous to start this journey and was uncertain I could run a 12K without peeing my pants.  I’m not there yet, but when I get there I’ll let you know if I make it! Ha!

What I love most about running and training for my upcoming 12K is seeing the many parallels to life itself.  I’m sure there are many more than what I have listed below, but these are the important ones I thought of today.

1.) Importance of Fueling and Training

2.) Surrounding myself with the right people/positive influence

3.) Understanding that practice makes progress

4.) Keep your head up and your eyes looking forward

5.) Getting comfortable being uncomfortable

6.) Rest days are Key to Success and growth!

7.) Enduring to the End is best tackled day by day, moment by moment, milestone by milestone.

1.) Importance of Fueling and Training

Fueling and training, not diet and exercise.

Fuel provides everything the body needs. Protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy carbs and fats.

Just like we fuel our bodies, we need to fuel our spirits. Word of God is that fuel.  Scripture study, studying conference talks.  Prayer gives us power and Heavenly help.

Sacrament.  Making covenants. Attending the temple.  Fuel for your spirit. 

Training —> putting what you study and learn and those spiritual promptings into practice. 

If you’re training for a race, consistency in your training is what will help you reach your endurance and strength goals.  If you delay your training and try to pack to much in too little time, you risk injury and burnout.  Slow and steady really does win the race!  

Even if you’re not a fitness guru, you’ll want to keep your spiritual muscles lean and strong!

Faith is a muscle that requires nurturing and training.  It needs to be exercised regularly to remain strong and to continue to see strength gains.  

2.) Surrounding myself with the right people/positive influence

You are the sum of the top 5 people you surround yourself with.  

Showing up at the gym with all the other crazies at 5am in the morning and seeing other runners tells me I’m not the only one. 

We aren’t meant to walk this life journey alone.  Who are you surrounding yourself with?  

What influences are you surrounding yourself with? Media? 

Are the people you’re around and the choices you’re making allowing the Holy Ghost to be present with you?  

Are your surroundings helping you reach your finish line or Celestial Kingdom?

It’s important to periodically evaluate your thoughts and outside influences.  If they aren’t helping you reach your end goal, then it’s time to say good-bye!

3.) Understanding that practice makes progress

This life is all about the journey.  

Think about all the great stories you’ve read and their heroes.  Oftentimes, the hero doesn’t really start out like much of a hero.  Chances are they’re still learning about themselves and who they really are.  Then they’re thrust into a situation and given a choice.  Either they need to react, run away, or face their fears and shortcomings.  Through the struggle is where the hero finds their strength and realizes that, with help from a mentor usually, they can accomplish great things and save the day if you will.  

My point is, it would be a boring and short story if you didn’t get to witness the main character’s growth and triumphs over the multiple obstacles placed in his or her path.  

Running is very much the same.  Why do people enjoy running?  Does anyone really enjoy it?  I don’t know.  I will tell you that while the struggle is real and sometimes I’m blinded by my own pouring sweat; but, I love to run because it shows me what I can do.  I love the feeling of reaching new levels and the sense of accomplishment and self confidence it brings.  And you know what, running outside gives me fresh air and beautiful views I wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed!

Our lives are very much the same.  What a boring, void life it would be if there weren’t any struggles or obstacles to overcome.  We would stay the same.  No progress.  No sense of achievement.  Worse yet, we’d be stuck.  Without trials and struggles it is impossible to become like our Savior and Heavenly Father.  Thankfully, we have been given a time and place to grow and we have a Savior that made it possible for us to wipe the slate clean again when things get too messy.  He gives us comfort and encouragement.  He is our great mentor!  

What Christ and Heavenly Father understand and what we must learn ourselves, is that this life is all about Becoming.  They know that Practice makes Progress, and everyday we’re given another chance to practice.  Please never feel shame or guilt for not having reached a certain point in your journey.  We’re all running the same marathon.  It doesn’t matter when we reach our unique milestones, only that we do reach those milestones and keep moving forward.  

4.) Keep Your Head Up and Your Eyes Looking Forward, and don’t run in the dark!

Last week I went for a run at, you guessed it, 4am in the morning.  The sun wasn’t up yet…naturally.  Ha!  I recently invested in Joggo to help me train for my upcoming 12K.  It was an interval run where I was supposed to run at medium speed for so many feet, then rest for two minutes.  I was running along and starting to get a bit tired, so I glanced at my phone to see how many more feet I needed to run before I could cut back and rest a bit.  

Blinded by the light of my phone, I nearly ran straight into a trailer parked on the side of the road! It truly would have led to a not-so-fun injury and would have set me back who knows how long.  It was huge and I’m grateful I missed it, but why didn’t I notice it sooner?!  

There were street lamps in the neighborhood, but they were a bit dim.  The lesson?  Don’t run this life journey in the dark.  Christ is the light of the world.  Stay close to the light and you’ll save yourself a lot of near misses, injuries, sorrows.  If I had waited another hour and a half, I could have ran in the light and surely would have seen the giant trailer and steered myself clear of it!

Head up, eyes open and looking forward, and stay close to the light!

5.) Getting comfortable being uncomfortable

I’ve touched on this a bit already.  People who like to run, while we might be weirdos in our own way, are people who have to learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Comfort is an instinct our bodies have.  We want to stay safe and our brain tells us to run from pain and discomfort.  While the comfort zone is cushy, the discomfort zone is where the growth and magic happens. Is where strength and holiness are built through the daily grind of life. 

Never allow yourself to get too comfortable.  

Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ is as much in the discomfort zone as you can possibly get.  But it’s also the only place where you can find peace, hope, joy, and the pure love of Jesus Christ.  

6.) Rest days are Key to Success and growth!

Why are rest days so important?  When exercised, your physical muscles are literally broken down and need to restore themselves, which every time they do they also become stronger.  You must allow your muscles some down time so they are given a chance to rest and heal.  If you don’t and continue to train, you’ll likely encounter injury.

Spiritual rest days have been built into your week since the beginning of mankind.  When Christ created the earth, He rested on the seventh day.  It is a holy day, even His day.  

Don’t skip your rest days.  You need them.  And when you take them, I promise you become more productive and efficient than you could imagine possible.   Honor the Sabbath and keep it a holy day.

7.) Enduring to the End is best tackled day by day, moment by moment, milestone by milestone. Learn to Pace Yourself.

It’s difficult to find the motivation to start a race that you know is difficult and miles long.  The key is starting.  Time on the trail reinforces to yourself that you can do this…as a matter of fact you are doing this!  Sometimes you might consider quitting and leaving that trail.  Stay on it.  Even if you have to slow down and walk, just stay on that trail.  Step by step is how you finish the race.  Each step moves you one step closer to that finish line.  Don’t focus on how hard it is or how far away it is.  

Focus on the next milestone.  The next tree, lamp post, house.  Whatever it may be.  

You’re running a spiritual marathon as well.  And it isn’t over until it’s over!  Right now, I want you to think about the present moment.  Don’t think about what lies ahead or be afraid, only consider what is in front of you right now.  

Instead of worrying about what will happen, stop and ask yourself, “What can I do today to make and/or keep my covenants with God?”  “How can I help someone today?”  “How can I show someone love and kindness today?”   “How can I strengthen my relationship with my spouse? My children?”

Christ said, “That which ye have seen me do, that shall ye do also.”  Loving others, strengthening others, and going about doing good is how you endure to the end.  It happens in the details of your day.  Your spiritual endurance strength increases moment-by-moment and day-by-day.

Pace yourself. Anyone running a marathon strives to maintain a steady pace. “It is not meet that we should run faster than we can walk.”

I hope these lessons have given you a greater perspective on the very purpose of your life! Please share this message with anyone you think may need it. Thanks for reading!