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Losing Fitness

I bought new running shoes yesterday. They feel fresh and they look clean. I purchased my most colorful pair yet and am excited to see where they will take me.
I was sharing some of my running history with the guy who was helping me. I was explaining that I have been running several times a week for almost a month now, but I am still struggling to run distances that used to be easy for me. A 3 mile run used to be my shortest, most basic run and I could run it several times a week. When I was training for marathons and half-marathons, there were seasons where a 5 mile run would feel short. Now, it’s hard to believe that I have even completed a marathon and two half-marathons. I just bumped my weekly runs up to 2 ½ miles and it has been challenging. I’m going to do 3 ½ miles for my long run this weekend because 4 still seems a little too long.
The guy helping me was also a runner and he was empathizing with my experience of losing my ability to run longer distances easily. He told me that we lose physical fitness after only 3 weeks of relative inactivity. My experience confirms that this is true, but it still shocked me a little bit to hear. I have trained my body to run long distances in the past, but seasons of relative inactivity have caused me to lose that ability.
I find this principle to be true in spiritual fitness too.
I can have an amazing God encounter in the prayer room on Monday night and really want to skip out and watch TV by Thursday night. I can easily transition from hungering for God through His word to struggling to read my Jesus Calling devotional for 5 minutes in the span of one day. I can remember when 4 hours in the prayer room flew by during my Fire in the Night internship. I couldn’t get enough time in God’s presence. At other times, even an hour can feel like a long time in the prayer room.
Now, I know that these changes are a normal part of our Christian experience and shifting feelings. But, I am sobered by my heart’s amazing tendency to cool quickly when it is not consistently postured before the fire of God’s love. My spiritual condition is like my physical condition. If I don’t use it, then I will lose it. If I don’t intentionally cultivate relationship with God, then I will quickly feel distant and hard-hearted.
So, I’m running, physically and spiritually. Physically, I really enjoy running and I know that it helps improve my physical health. Spiritually, I enjoy intimacy with God and I want to run the race that He has marked out for me well. I also enjoy when I can do these two together, by praying and rejoicing as I run.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #741: New running shoes!
·         #742: A vanilla latte from Wired Café while waiting
·         #743: My mom
·         #744: Our fun family gathering to celebrate Mother’s Day
·         #745: Beautiful weather
·         #746: Green buds on trees
·         #747: Pink blossoms on the tree in the backyard
·         #748: Buying cherries for the first time this season
·         #749: Frosting cupcakes
·         #750: Receiving a personal letter in the mail
·         #751: Walking the rows of new plants, finally tucked into the ground, with Ben
·         #752: Holding hope for my clients
·         #753: When I can’t sleep in the middle of the night and I talk with God
·         #754: Watching Lily through the window as she enjoys lying in the sunshine


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