The Run & Not Grow Weary blog series is a piece of inspiration I’ve been working on and am so excited to finally post on my blog and share. In the end, there will be 30 days of posts that I’ll make available as a downloadable PDF at some point for blog subscribers.
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Run & Not Grow Weary
Here is a fun verse from Colossians 3:2
“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
This is a “just do it” command. It implies that we, as believers, have a choice as to what we think about. And we do, by the power of God in us. Still, doing this requires some thought discipline and…
…thought discipline is no easy task.
My mind wanders and I get distracted. My mind can also get caught in an anger or sadness wheel if the right buttons get pushed. Sometimes my thoughts are not just “earthly” but downright hellish. Focusing on the “things of heaven” can be a mega challenge. Especially when I’m mentally, physically and/or emotionally exhausted.
The wrong thoughts, left unchecked, quickly turn into strong negative feelings, behaviors and attitudes that can wreak havoc on your day, your relationships, and yes…even your run.
“This hill is huge” becomes “I can’t make it to the top” = stop and walk.
“Legs are heavy today” becomes “6 miles is too long” = stop at 4 miles.
How Not To Go There
Learning to reign in the negativity while running (or doing anything else in life) really increases my likelihood to finish what I started and with a good attitude.
Here are some tips from the Bible on keeping your focus in the right place.
TIP 1: LISTEN TO YOURSELF
“Avoid all perverse talk….” Seriously, have you listened to yourself lately? You can’t avoid negative thoughts and destructive talk if you don’t realize you’re wallowing in them. Start listening to your thoughts while on the run to avoid the crap talk.
TIP 2: PICK A FOCAL POINT
“Look straight ahead….” You can do this literally and figuratively; either pull yourself out of your crap-talk by looking at some physical object up ahead and thinking about that instead, OR focus on an upcoming happy thought (like how great a runner you’ll be after 30 days of consistency, or what good things God could bring out of whatever struggle you’re going through right now).
TIP 3: STAY ON THE SAFE PATH
“Mark out a straight path….” In other words, plan to succeed. After 2 minutes of soul searching, I bet you can list your top 3 recurring negative/destructive thoughts. You can anticipate the places/people/things that will trigger these thoughts and prepare yourself with prayer or, sometimes, you do have to avoid them all together. In running, prepare to combat lies that you can’t with truths from Scripture that God can. If you know certain days will be a struggle to get out and run, plan in advance to make it fun/easier by inviting a friend.
TIP 4: DON’T GET SIDETRACKED
“Keep your feet from following evil….” Well, duh. But…no, really. This is where thought discipline is at my friends. People stay focused on what matters because they make a decision to focus on what matters. So make a decision now that you will do just that. Then, when you sense your mind straying, decide to refocus. It’s important to remember that God gives us the strength and ability to do this, but He doesn’t do it for us.
Do these things and you’ve got yourself a mind vice. Any 30 Rock fans out there?
Whether it’s focusing on God’s timing in your life, trying to be joyful in the midst of suffering, struggling with taking care of yourself, or battling your inner blerch, think of Proverbs 4:24-27.
Thanks for reading!
May your mind become as strong as your runner’s calves.