Over the summer months I have been giving my personal physical condition quite a bit of thought. It is not that I am badly out of shape, but I do spend a lot of time in my car and that has had a fair impact on my body over time. So, in real terms, it has played itself out in my life in the following ways: my belly is always before me, I have had some consistent back pain, my energy levels are not as high as they used to be and I have become more partial to studying the inside of my eyelids whilst watching television in the evenings with my wife.
Now I know, I know none of these symptoms are really that serious, or even that hard to correct. I can almost hear you say ‘GET A GRIP’ and you would be in your rights to say that to me. But I have been giving this some serious thought because I genuinely believe that part of being a good husband, a great dad, and all that I can be for God requires me to be in the best possible physical condition. The same need could be applied to my emotional and spiritual conditions too.
In fact, at CVM we are really quite serious about all this and have an entire code devoted to all that I am sharing here:
“I will keep my body fit and free from any addictions”CODE VI, codelife.org
As I have got older I have become much more aware of the need to pay attention. I have become much more focussed on making the right decisions, especially when there is need to change direction in order to make those right choices. Jesus once likened following Him to navigating life on the narrow path, and the thing about narrow paths is they are notoriously difficult to stay on. But, I want to say to you, choosing to remain on the narrow path really does transform our lives. It isn’t that life gets all easy and straightforward, far from it, but it does mean that we get to emerge from this life safely and ultimately in good shape.
I once heard a saying that has always stayed with me: “Victory is in the choosing, not in the outcome!” Sometimes, making right choices, making adjustments in our lifestyles and habits hurts. Sometimes, it feels like the hardest and most painful way to go. But, whenever we make those choices we are utterly victorious, despite the initial outcome.
I feel like eulogising over how life is not a sprint, it is marathon and all that. I am sure you know what I mean.
So, I have decided to get out of my car, I am putting on my running shoes and I am investing in a little hard work (and a lot of short term pain) to ensure that I get myself back to peak physical, emotional and spiritual condition.
And as I run, as I make the right choices, I hear the words ‘Dal Ati!’* in my head. It spurs me on, and in the end I know I will get the prize of living the life that God had always created me to live.
In this great coliseum that we call LIFE, there is so much to be said for steadfastness, grit, determination and character. We see it in sport, and deep down we know how important it all is in life.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”Hebrews 12:1-3
** ‘Dal Ati is Welsh for ‘Keep On’ or ‘Keep Going’