You know my daughter-in-law and I ran our 2nd full marathon about a month ago. We probably weren’t as prepared as we could have been but we did put in a lot of miles running in the weeks and months leading up to it. We did okay, (we finished, that’s okay enough for me) but I was surprised at how long it took to recover from running 26.2 miles. I was talking to someone about that recently and they said, “You need to strengthen your core.” Now first of all, I didn’t know I had a core. And secondly, if I do I am pretty sure I don’t run on it, So what does “strengthening my core” have to do with being able to run long distances.
Well come to find out, we all have a core. It is just the trunk of the body, abdomen (believe me, I’ve got one of those,) chest, the torso. While our legs may be fit and ready to run, long distances put a strain on the whole system and having a good, fit body is crucial to keep the legs pumping and the mind positive.
Same thing is true spiritually. We can love Jesus. We can know scripture and be a witnessing machine, but to run the long race we need a strong core. The ancient ones called it being “centered.” It is about having exercised the heart and gut, the soul of us, in such a way that when the miles get long and the way rough, the spiritual core is in good shape and keeps us moving forward.
So how do I strengthen my SPIRITUAL core? Three things stand out to me silence, simplicity, and humility.
• Silence. I get remarkably stronger when I learn to keep still before the Lord. A quiet time each morning that really is a quiet time prepares me for the run ahead. I pray. I read. I even sing. But my best work comes when I discipline myself to just wait, quietly in God’s presence.
• Simplicity. Man, I can complicate things really fast, even my walk with God. I’ve got books to read, Bible studies to do, CD’s to listen to. I am in a small group and a big ministry. I am working on the inner-man and the outward life. What I really need to do is just simplify. God and me, His grace, my dependence, that’s about all I can handle and that’s enough.
• Which leads to the last core exercise, Humility. When I accept that I don’t have all of the answers, I don’t have everything figured out, God begins to strengthen me for the test ahead. So when the storm comes I don’t have to know what the plan is. I just trust the Planner.
I’m pretty sure that if you practice these 3 core exercises you will find yourself surprisingly ready to run the race He has set before us. “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Question: How do you spiritually prepare yourself for the day God sets before you? I’d like to hear from you. Email me and let me know or leave a response here.