What’s Your Training Plan?

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.”

Monday-short run. Tuesday-strength training. Wednesday-cross training. Thursday-short run. Friday-strength training. Saturday-long run. Sunday-rest!

Are you following a training plan? Whether you’re a beginning runner or a seasoned veteran with a wall of medals, you’ve got to have a plan. You need to know what your strategy is from day-to-day in preparation for upcoming races.

Training plans are usually developed by experts. They develop plans so runners will have the endurance to successfully complete whatever their distance goal may be. Many faithfully follow Jeff Galloway’s trademark plan, designed for those who desire a mix of running and walking. Running expert Hal Higdon is known for his myriad of training plans for every running level.

Runner’s World magazine lays out multiple plans to choose from. Beginner 5K plans. Intermediate 10K plans. Advanced half-marathon plans. Beginner marathon plans. Whatever your goal is, there’s a strategic plan mapped out specifically for you.

Once you embrace a specific training plan, you know without a doubt that it’s equipping you to be a better runner. And most importantly, it enables you to cross the finish line.

Imagine a half marathon on the horizon without a training plan in place.  Would you just go with the flow from week to week depending on how you felt? Would you show up at the start line unprepared?

Just as runners follow a training plan, in the same way we follow a training plan to live our lives for Christ. In this case, there’s not a multitude of plans to choose from. It’s called the Bible. Whether you’re a new Christian learning to walk or a seasoned follower teaching others, we all live by this training manual. God’s breathed, inspired and flawless word—not the opinion of men or current culture.

This is what drives us.

This is what aligns us with our creator.

This is what keeps us on the righteous path.

Without it, we’re like a clueless runner without a training plan.

The Bible—our training manual for life—was developed by an expert. God himself used many people—led by the Holy Spirit—to write his story for us. From the creation to the fall. From the cross to redemption. He shows us who he is and how we are to live for him.

A runner’s training plan dictates daily steps to accomplish. But when it comes to God’s word, we have to dig a little deeper to hear him. We have to be still long enough to know what our next step is. We must be patient, studying and soaking up what God wants to show us.

The word of God will challenge us, yet comfort us at the same time.

The word of God will show us our sin up close, yet it equips us with strength.

Whatever each day brings, God desires to teach, direct and guide us on the path he’s prepared for us.

When we embrace God’s word, it equips us to be better followers of Christ. Whatever situations we face, his word gives us direction and insight. The strength we gain from the word of God enables us to thrive, and not just survive.

A finish line awaits us at the end of our earthly days. I don’t know about you, but I want to arrive and hear him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 

READY? How would your life change if you engaged in God’s word with the same devotion you give your training plan for running? Identify an area of your life where you need direction. Pray and ask God to speak to you through his word and show you your next step.

GET SET. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

GO!  Heavenly father, thank you for giving us your word! Please help me embrace it for every situation in my life. Help me to understand your word when it seems confusing. May your word guide and direct me for all my days no matter what others around me are saying. Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Who Are You Competing Against?

2 Corinthians 10:12 “…When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

 

Just a few hours after the 10K, the race results glared on the screen in front of me. Every single person who finished the race could be searched. From the winner all the way to the last person who crossed the finish line. Plugging in my name, I viewed my results. There in front of me I could see my total time and average pace.

Just as I was starting to feel good about my accomplishment, I looked at the next column over and saw another set of numbers: Number in age group; my placement in that specific age group; my placement in the entire race. A lot of other women in my age bracket finished sooner than I did! Now I didn’t feel so good about my time. Shouldn’t I be able to run at a faster pace like these women my same age? Feelings of defeat washed over me.

To make myself feel better, I searched the results of women 20 years older than me. Now as I scrolled through finish times longer than mine, I felt a sense of pride. Well, at least I beat these women.  I didn’t come in last place.

Unless we’re the first one to cross the finish line, there will always be someone faster than us. But if we focus on comparing ourselves to these people, we’ll be left with disappointment. The opposite is true as well. If we compare ourselves to slower runners just to feel better about ourselves, we get puffed up with pride and a false sense of security.

In the same way, we sometimes mimic this behavior in other areas of our life. When we compare ourselves to people who are more successful, wiser and richer we find ourselves feeling defeated. I should be further along, like her.  Before we know it, we continue the comparison game. To brush off these feelings, we turn our attention to those whom we feel are beneath us. Those who may be struggling in areas we are strong in. Those who are just beginning a journey we’ve been on for years. At least I’m better than those people.

Oh how foolish we are to do both of these! Gazing at others ahead of us—through the lens of comparison—leaves us discontent. Looking at those who are struggling—through a lens of judgment— leaves us prideful.  Instead of comparing, shouldn’t we focus on where we are? Shouldn’t we strive to live the life God has called us to? Using the gifts and talents He’s blessed us with to fulfill our purpose—instead of comparing them to others.

When we stand before God one day we won’t be standing alongside anyone else. Each one of us must give an account for the life we lived. God won’t scroll through a list of people and say, Look, you should’ve done better than her. And he won’t say, Great job, you performed better than these other people.

Most runners embrace a PR approach in races. Personal Record. Instead of comparing our finish time with other runners, we compare our finish time to our own time in a previous race. We attempt to beat our best time. The person we aim to compete with is ourselves.

Maybe that’s how we should approach this journey of faith we’re on. Instead of comparing our lives to others, we focus on making progress with our own struggles. Instead of judging others, we embrace humility, thanking God for rescuing us from our previous ways of sin. And when we conquer one area of sin, He takes us further and shows us something else.

READY? Can you identify an area of your life where you compare yourself to someone else? What effect does this have on you? Ask God to reveal a current struggle you need to commit to him.

GET SET. Galatians 6:4 “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction for a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (NLT)

 GO!  Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I’ve foolishly compared myself to others. Free me from any chains of discontentment or pride. Give me direction to focus on the life you’ve called me to. Help me walk in humility. Give me victory over the sins I struggle with. Amen

comparison

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Who’s Ahead of You?

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Just when you think you’ve arrived at your fastest pace, whoosh! Another runner speeds past you like a bolt of lightning. You can almost feel a breeze from the force of their speed. You see them quickly disappear from your view and before you know it, they’re long gone. How in the world does she keep up that pace? I’ll never be able to catch up!

Unless you’re the first one to cross the finish line in a race, there’s always going to be someone running ahead of you.  We are definitely called to run at our own pace, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others who are ahead of us. Beginning runners seek out training tips from veteran runners. Runners who’ve sustained their first injuries could gain valuable wisdom from others who survived those same injuries. The first race ushers in a wave of anxious nerves. What should I expect? What should I wear for this kind of weather? Who else out there would know answers to these questions? Runners ahead of you! Their pace may not necessarily be faster than you, but they’ve pounded the pavement far longer than you have. Instead of putting them in an unreachable category, those of us who are behind them could instead reach out and ask for guidance and insight.

Dear friend, if you’re a follower of Christ, there’s always going to be someone ahead of you—further up the path of life. People who have been following Christ for many years longer. People who have long ago passed through the very same season you may be walking through now. People who have much wisdom and insight to offer if only we will ask. As you enter into a difficult season, perhaps a wave of anxiety is rushing into the depth of your weary soul. How will I ever get through this? Will I ever make it to the other side? And then you may wonder with great curiosity. WHO do I know that perhaps has ventured through this same kind of challenge?

Let me tell you without a doubt that someone is ahead of you that can gently and lovingly guide you. Maybe it’s an older mom who survived the season of raising teenagers. Maybe it’s the woman you’ve heard about who survived her nasty divorce and is on the other side now. Whatever challenge you may be facing, you’re more likely to gain peace and strength with someone else helping you through. So go ahead. Reach out. Ask. Humbly wave the white flag of your soul and courageously say, “I need your help!”

In the Bible we meet a young man named Timothy, a new believer who needed some guidance and direction. The apostle Paul was running his race ahead of Timothy. Paul poured his very life into this young man! Without Paul, Timothy would’ve floundered in his faith. Grown weary. Lost his hope. But instead he clung to Paul. He humbled himself and listened with a teachable heart. And then he flourished into a bold teacher of the gospel. He could keep running his race at a fierce pace because he walked in the footsteps of Paul. Who’s ahead of you?

READY?  Identify an area of your life where you feel challenged and could use some guidance. Ask God to show you someone who has walked through a similar challenge. Are you willing to reach out and ask for help? Pray and ask God for strength and wisdom to take the next step.

GET SET.  Proverbs 1:5 “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

GO!  Heavenly Father, this life can feel so difficult at times! I feel weary trying to navigate through the hard times on my own. You’ve called us to carry each other’s burdens, so I humbly ask you to show me someone who’s ahead of me who can walk alongside me during this season of my life. Help me set aside any pride that may stand in the way. Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Healing Our Injuries

Ezekiel 34:16 “…I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak…”

One day you’re running your perfect pace. You feel as if you’re soaring above the entire world and nothing could stop you. Bam! Without warning, you feel a stabbing pain in your hamstring. You slow down, hoping it’s just a slight cramp. But as you continue on, you realize the hard truth: You’ve strained your muscle. With each step you wince in pain.

How could this happen? Why now?

Instead of continuing your run, you limp to your car. Disappointed, you make a doctor appointment.

At some point in your journey as a runner, you might encounter an injury. For some of us, it’s major. A torn muscle. Excruciating knee pain. A sprained ankle. Even the minor injuries can stop us in our tracks and put us on the sidelines for a while. If we keep on going and ignore the pain, it will only make it worse, causing further damage. We have to face the truth and get proper treatment, allowing our injuries to heal. Whether it’s surgery or physical therapy, we must accept the treatment plan advised.The hardest part can be waiting…

Waiting for the injury to heal.  Waiting for the weak part of our body to become strong again.

In the same way, we as followers of Christ will sustain injuries along the way of life. More often than not, these injuries come when we least expect them. Maybe we’re thriving and feel as if nothing could stop us—living in our sweet spot. But one day without warning, we’re bombarded, sustaining a serious injury. One that knocks us off our feet, leaving us wounded with pain.

The most painful injuries are the ones that wound our soul. The kind that make you wonder how you’ll ever take another step. Wounds from family members. Betrayals from friends. Disappointments in the work place. Unthinkable tragedies.

If we keep going without addressing our wounded heart, more damage will surely be done. As deep as our pain may be, we must humbly admit we need help. As much as we want to thrive, we may be slowed down to simply survive. For a season, we hobble over to the sidelines and cry out to our heavenly father–the one who can heal.

Because he heals in a variety of ways, his treatment plan for each of us is unique. If we listen closely, he will show us the next step in healing. Maybe it’s fellow believers walking alongside us for a season. In some cases we might even need professional help. But one thing is for certain. There will be a period of waiting.

Waiting for our wounded heart to heal. Waiting for the weakest part of our being to be strengthened.

But we don’t have to wait alone. That’s where our heavenly father does his best work. He specializes in healing our wounds. He delights in taking the damaged parts of our life, turning the broken pieces into something amazing.

READY? Where in your life have you felt wounded? Have you taken steps to heal from your pain? If not, are you ready to ask God to show you what your next step is? Can you trust him with the treatment plan he recommends?

GET SET. Psalm 34:18 “God is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”   Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”

GO! Heavenly Father, I am hurting from wounds in my heart. I bring these before you and ask you to strengthen and heal like only you can. It’s so hard to wait because my flesh wants a quick fix. Help me to trust you as I wait. Amen.

injured runner

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

Are You Thoroughly Equipped?

2Timothy 3:16-17  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

If you’ve lived in the runner’s world for any length of time, you’re familiar with all the specialty stores lined with endless racks of nothing but running attire: shoes, socks, shorts, shirts and jackets.  These items are pricy, yet each piece of equipment is essential if you desire to be thoroughly equipped for running your race effectively.

 

I shook my head in disbelief when I paid $120 for my first pair of running shoes. Really? Why can’t I just wear the cute tennis shoes I got on sale at Target?  An experienced marathon runner explained the facts to me about running shoes, “If you don’t have the proper shoes, you’ll be miserable!”  I had to experience aching feet and painful knees before I realized I didn’t have the right shoes. Shoes are to a runner what tires are to a car. Attempting to use the wrong type is damaging and utterly reckless.

It’s essential to equip yourself with uniquely designed socks allowing your feet to breathe and avoid blisters. There’s also a myriad of shorts, shirts and jackets specifically designed for every occasion and every season of weather.

God also calls us to be thoroughly equipped, my dear friend. If we’re going to run our race of faith well, we too must be thoroughly equipped. What does He call us to equip ourselves with? According to the key verse in Timothy, he’s speaking about the word of God. We must equip ourselves with powerful truth from scripture. These compelling words must first cross the threshold of our mind and penetrate like deep roots to the depth of our soul. We have to intentionally embrace them, meditate on them, ponder them continually and digest them through every fiber of our heart. In doing so we will be prepared for every situation we face.

 

The scripture in Timothy tells us God’s word will teach us. So we must embrace scripture and allow our hearts to soak up this precious knowledge of who He is and how He desires for us to live. His word will also rebuke and correct us when we stumble and get off course. These moments may be difficult, yet we’re promised His truth will set us free. God’s word also trains us for the purposes He’s called us to. The power of His word enables us to humbly walk in the righteousness of Christ.

Just as the runner invests in the necessary equipment, we as followers of Christ must make an investment. Not with money—but with our time and effort. We must be intentional with prioritizing our lives around God’s word, no matter what the cost may be. I foolishly thought the cheap tennis shoes were sufficient, yet I suffered the consequences! In the same way, if we don’t invest in God’s word, we’ll end up with something much more serious than painful blisters and aching knees; we’ll end up with painful consequences and aching hearts. Zipping out the door unequipped leaves us empty and too exhausted for running our daily course. Neglecting time in God’s word is an invitation for damage, disaster and ruin.

 

Dear friend, I urge you to make the most crucial investment of your journey of faith: embrace the word of God as the fuel that fires your very soul! The power of His word will keep you on track to face whatever trials come your way and will thoroughly equip you for every good work.

 

READY?   Are you consistently spending time in God’s word? Are you meditating on the power of His word throughout your day? If this is an area of your faith journey you are lacking in, what needs to change for this to be a priority? If you’re walking through a difficult season, embrace His word to give you strength, hope and peace.

 

GET SET.  Psalm 119:10-11, 105 “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Your word is a lamp for my feet; a light for my path”

 

GO!  Dear God, I thank you for the gift of your word…that I can hold it in my physical hands and turn the pages with ease. Forgive me for the times I’ve neglected and ignored your precious word. Please ignite a passion in my heart to embrace it like never before. Help me remember the power that comes from your word. May your word be firmly planted and deeply rooted in every area of my life.

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