Winter motivation

Weather is one excuse I made this winter to postpone/cancel running.

Weather is one excuse I made this winter to get out of running.

It’s hard to run in the winter.

For the past few months, excuses have been crawling into my head and crowding out my good intentions. Sometimes, the weather defeated my plans.  I was sick, then my son was sick, then my daughter was sick, then my husband was sick. Other events became more important and ran into when I should have been running.

And then there is the monotonous running in circles around the gym that just doesn’t spark my motivation to get into gear.

For me, running consistently this winter has become a choice rather than an already made conclusion.

In my relationship with God, this concept is also true. It’s hard to run in the winter. When stressors come and storms blow in and life piles up and buries our hearts, my first reaction can often be to expend all my energy digging myself out, instead of digging into God’s Word. This past weekend was a particularly stressful one and I spent too many hours trying to figure out a solution, and not near enough time seeking wisdom from my Heavenly Father. When I surfaced on Tuesday, I opened up the Bible app on my Kindle to continue my daily chronological Bible reading, and I realized that I had neglected this essential time with God for four days – each day that I was consumed with a work project during the weekend.

Habits are not mindless, Pavlovian reactions to do what should be done. They are a result of thoughtful planning and consistent, ongoing hard work.

Running is my response to God’s challenge in my life for regular exercise. This week marks a new start and commitment to that routine. Instead of allowing my excuses to claim victory, I will get to the gym whether or not I feel like it or it is convenient.

Most importantly, my relationship with God must take center stage in my life. With God’s strength I will resist problem-solving urges and instead cast my cares on Him.

It’s hard to run in the winter. But, push forward, keep going!

Spring will be here soon!

Put on another song

It is hard to run without a soundtrack backing you up.

Last week when I was about 15 minutes into my run, my phone (acting as my timekeeper and mp3 player) froze, probably because of an incoming email or text message. The music stopped. I guessed from another clock hanging on the wall how much longer I needed to go, and started plowing through.

Running in relative silence is tough. There was no beat to help me keep up my pace, and all I had to focus on was my heavy breathing and my feet hitting the gym floor, mixed with the sounds of Angry Birds flying through the air from the games my kids were playing.

I usually run to the same music every time I run. I know exactly what songs are coming and how many I have left. But most importantly, they help get my mind and heart focused on the reason I am running in the first place: God. My running time is my personal worship time.

When I began this running routine, these songs kept my feet going in praise to my Creator. The lyrics helped me to pray while moving forward. This is the time of the day when it’s me and God, and the music caused me to recognize and worship.

Worship syncs my life to the rhythm of God’s heartbeat. 

Worship brings clarity. So many times during a run, God has spoken to me about a mission he has for me, a person I need to pray for and encourage, or an area of sin in my life that He and I need to deal with.

Personal worship is incredibly important for every Christian to cultivate. Each of us need one-on-one time with Jesus, just talking, praising, thanking, listening. It requires making room in the schedule. It can be during a run, in the car while on the commute to work, or in the shower, but it must be intentional. Just as we want our spouse or best friend’s full attention when having a conversation, rather than texting someone else the whole time or being distracted with a TV show, God deserves that from us, too.

So, turn on the music. Crank the volume. And, worship the God who gave you breath and life.

The following is a video of one of my playlist songs I run to. I know it’s not upbeat, but the lyrics get my heart going. 🙂