I’ve been having major motivation troubles lately…mostly in regard to mornings and running.
I began this post a couple of years ago before a back injury set me b-a-c-k…way back! Since then, I’ve learned a lot about mornings, motivation, and keeping fit.
A disclaimer: I’ve not yet returned to running, by choice. However, I *did* walk my first marathon in June (yep, just last month) AND I’ve promoted to a purple belt in karate.
I will never be a “morning person.” So, I stopped trying. Instead of trying to be a get-up-and-shout-for-joy person like my mother, I’ve accepted the “coffee, Jesus, move” method of starting my day.
((and, truthfully, the coffee usually doesn’t come into the mix now until after I’ve prayed the Angelus and consumed roughly 28 ounces of water).
But, here’s what I’ve learned: My mornings…and ultimately my entire day goes better when I start with prayer. I start first with the Angelus and then move into Lauds (the morning prayer of Liturgy of the Hours). In-between the two, I might enjoy my first cup of coffee…although the really being awake part of my day doesn’t really arrive until after I’m done saying my morning prayers.
How amazing, right? It’s like I was born to put God first in my life.
Oh wait, I was!
We all were.
Created in God’s image, we find our most authentic selves when we find more time (or any time at all) for God in our lives.
Yes, motivation is a mean, mean animal. But, do you know what? The lack of motivation is the meanest animal of all.
You see, motivation is the driving force that propels us from our desires to our “do.” It’s a great tool in getting things done, so long as we don’t allow our fear of failure or our lack of S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals to stand in the way.
When it comes to motivation, we really have to start right were were are instead of jumping ahead into someone else’s “I am here” place.
If your “do” is to run a marathon, and you’ve never run before, you don’t start by running 20 miles. or even 10. or 5. You might not even start by running at all.
Since my back injury, I’ve learned to slow down and simply “be” where I’m at. For the time being, that means that I’m walking marathons instead of running them. And, trust me, I didn’t just jump into walking 26.2 miles either. No, I simply started with were I was: Standing upright for as long as I could without pain, then going for short walks (not even a block long), then longer ones, until I could safely (and fairly pain-free) walk for the hours (7 or 8 of them) required of a marathon.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself because I’m not the “runner” that I once was, I thank God daily that I’m simply walking…that I’m simply able to stand straight again…that I can enjoy life with my children again. There was a time… not too long ago… when I thought I might never get beyond the pain to do something as basic as stand up straight.
Today, my motivation is intrinsically tied to my faith life, and on my simply saying YES to Him who created me. Whether God comforts or challenges me, I more fully trust (more than ever before) that He will lead me down the path that is most fulfilling in terms of Mission Completion.
Like a carrot dangling before me, God’s mission empowers me to “want” do great things.
I want to change the world.
I am motivated.
About Keeping Fit
Since my injury, I have learned to pay more attention to my limitations and to work with them, instead of against them. As the health of my back improves, so does my overall fitness. But, listening to my body (to God working within) has been critical. God designed our bodies to heal themselves in extraordinary ways. It’s amazing, really!
And because I want to be better…at listening to God, and responding to God with my Yes’s, I have also gotten better at taking care of the body He gave me. Because I want to.
I want to take care of my body as a temple of God.
My back injury, my limitations. I now see them as reminders from God to focus on what is most important to Him rather than what is most important in the world.
With His grace, I have been given much of my “life” back. It’s a changed life, but one that is much more fulfilling.
So what if I’m not running marathons. I am walking them.
So what if I’m not prepping for my black belt, like I might have been before my injury. I am shoring up my foundation as a purple belt.
So what if I’m not racing competitively. I am full of energy, able to bike again, and do more “living” with my kids.
Fitness, as I have learned, is not about rock-hard abdominals and a cover story in Muscle & Fitness or Running magazine. It’s about taking care of the body that God gave you in the YOU that you are. It’s about meeting God half-way between your creation and your destination.
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8