Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting my butt and my spiritual life in gear

My right glute doesn’t fire. I care about this because I’m a triathlete, and running has never been my forte. The glutes (buns, cheeks, rear end) are supposed to be my major running muscles, my “prime movers”, but mine don’t really do much back there. This means my quads, hamstrings, and calves do most of the work to move me down the road, but they’re not really meant for this job. When I run fast or a lot, they tend to give out, and I end up injured. I’m fed up with being injured, so this fall I’ve committed to getting my butt in gear, literally.

At the same time, I’m acutely aware that my spiritual life is in a holding pattern. It’s rare that I crack open my Bible between Sundays, and my prayers are short and shallow, offered up in the midst of other activities. There’s not a lot of two-way conversation going on between me and God at the moment. There was a time when I had a good habit of meeting with Him over His Word, and there was exciting fruit from that that I could share with other people. These days as the Exploring God campaign kicks off here in Austin, I know I should be sharing what I love about Jesus with those who are seeking hope and meaning, but I need a refresher on just what it is that I love about Jesus first.

What to do? I can just buckle down and start telling people what I know about Christ. God is powerful. He can use me even if I’m not doing a great job at representing Him. But just like running without using my glutes, my prime movers, and relying on muscles meant to be helpers to do all the work, I won’t get far if my Jesus-talk is not backed up with a vibrant relationship with my Lord. Knowledge of the Bible, trying to do what’s right, pride – all these can compensate. But love of Christ, coming from an intimate day-to-day walk with Him, is meant to be my prime spiritual mover.

Before I do much running, I’m going to spend a lot of time lying on the floor concentrating fully on teaching my brain and glute muscles to talk to each other so my glutes move when I want them to. Right now just doing this makes my weak glutes sore, but eventually they will get stronger, and ultimately I will go outside and get them to move my legs when I run. In the same way, I need to set aside time and energy outside of Sunday mornings to connect my head with my heart. I need to have frequent, meaningful conversations with Jesus about Who He is and who I am in Him, about the things in me that I need Him to clean out so He can use me better, about the things He’s doing that He’s calling me to be a part of. To fall in love again. Once I have started to move my spiritual muscles, then I can rely on Him to move me in my daily activities to take advantage of opportunities to speak Hope to others. I’m going to flex my spiritual muscles in prayer and study, and then step out in faith to put that power into practice. I’m not retraining my glutes just so I can move them at will when I’m hanging around the house by myself – those buns are meant for running! In the same way, I’m looking forward to both loving and obeying Jesus, putting my faith into practice to make this place a little more like Heaven, more His Kingdom, day by day.

Hebrews 12:11-13: For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27: Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Matthew 7:24-25: Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house.  But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock.

Next blog posts: Ironman Wisconsin reflections, comparison of Hammer HEED vs. Skratch Labs Hydration Mix

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