The courage to start…

“The miracle isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

John Bingham uses these words as the tagline to his website.  He’s the author of “The Penguin Chronicles,” an humorous column in Runner’s World magazine.  Through humor and transparency into his own running habits, he tries to motivate folks of all shapes, sizes, and speeds to better their lives by picking up the sport of running.

This is me exhibiting the courage to start.

Not running.  I was a long-time runner and I hope to return to the sport very soon.  This is me exhibiting the courage to write.  Running has given me an idea to write.

It was during a training run that the idea hit me.  It’s an idea that is expressed in 1 Timothy 4:8, the tag-line for my blog:  “…for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way…”  On this training run, I realized that there are many correlations between physical fitness and spiritual fitness.  I was in the middle of a 10-mile long run that my half-marathon training plan called for.  The purpose of this was to train my body to get used to the stress of a 13.1 mile race.  The purpose of my time was to prepare me for stress.

At the time, I was a chaplain in the U.S. Army.  “Spiritual Fitness” is a concept that I dealt with every day.  Providing spiritual resources for Soldiers was my duty and responsibility.  The main purpose why chaplains do this is this: to help Soldiers prepare for times of stress.

On that run I realized: the conditions are the same (stress)… could the training be the same?  Or at least similar?  Bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way. Are there principles of bodily training that carry over to the spiritual life?  Are there principles of the spiritual life that carry over to physical fitness?  I believe there are.

And that’s what I intend to explore in this space.  If you’re an athlete, you may be familiar with some of these concepts like periodization, specificity of training, and work/ rest balance and what they can do for your training.  If you’re a Christian, you may be familiar with some of these concepts like sabbaticals, the cycle of the Church Year, and spiritual disciplines and what they can do for your peace of mind.  In this space, I hope to join the two of these things together so that we can be better at both.

This is the idea that has been rattling around in my mind since that training run five years ago.  I’ve been processing it for that long, afraid to put pen to paper or post to internet.  Today is the day that I have the courage to start.

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