My First Triathlon

This past Sunday I completed my first ever racing event–a triathlon. Lest you be unduly impressed, it was not a marathon type event. It was indoors and included a 15 minute swim, a 20 minute ride on a stationary bike, and a 20 minute run. Even so, I haven’t participated in anything like this before. In fact, the thought of being in the dust of everyone else in the race was too discouraging. But since this was timed on stationary equipment I decided I could do it, and I am so glad that I did.

We live in a very comfortable culture. If it is cold, we stay in our heated homes. If it is too hot or too humid we turn on our air conditioners. And all too often if something is too hard we don’t do it or we pay someone else to do it for us. We don’t like to be uncomfortable-physically, mentally, or emotionally–and we tend to avoid it when we can. But I discovered on Sunday there is something tremendously encouraging about pushing myself as hard as I can (and surviving). I can’t say as I was participating that it was fun, but when I went back to run a couple of days later, what I had thought was hard before didn’t seem so difficult and what was sometimes drudgery really was more enjoyable than before and I found myself wanting to go farther and faster than I was used to doing.

Good or bad, we live by habit. I see this very much in my children as well as myself. If we are used to giving and practicing generosity, it is easy to give. If we are used to saying encouraging things to others, it is easy to freely give sincere compliments. On the other side, if we usually respond with impatience and anger, the more that becomes our natural response. So as I think on the benefits of pushing myself out of what is comfortable physically, and even pushing myself to the limit, how much greater the benefit of doing this in other areas of life. In the good habits, to push my comfortable limits further and make it easier to be free to do good. And in the bad, to deliberately not practice these things and replace them with good habits, so when I react by habit, there is a pleasing result.

These aren’t new thoughts. Galatians 5: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

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About Wendy McCollum

I am a single mom to five wonderful boys. Life is an adventure, with many twists and turns. We live in hope, always, for our great God can redeem all things. There are so many funny and precious moments that slip by too fast. Perhaps here I can save them for when my own memory fails.
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2 Responses to My First Triathlon

  1. Debbie says:

    When I was your age, I had a similar thought, but I became very quickly frustrated in the doing. Then someone put into my hand a little book called WE WOULD SEE JESUS by Roy and Revel Hession. I share with you from page 40 of my very worn and marked up copy: “The alternative that God presents to our doing evil is not doing good, but doing truth; that is, honesty with regard to our evil. He does not want in the first place our efforts to do good where we have done evil, to try to be kind where we have been unkind, to be friendly where we have been critical. We could do all that without any repentance for what has been there already, and without any cleansing and peace in our hearts. What God asks first of all is truth, that is, plain truthful repentance, and confession of the sin that has been committed. That will take us to the Cross of Jesus for pardon, and, where necessary, to the other whom we may have wronged, for his forgiveness, too. In that place of humble truthfulness about ourselves we shall find peace with God and man, for there we shall find Jesus afresh, and lay hold as never before on His finished work for our sin upon the Cross. Simple honesty, that is, ‘doing truth’ about our sins, will put us right with God and man through the blood of Christ, where all the ‘doing good’ in the world will not.”

  2. Debbie,
    Debbie, thank you for sharing this. Even as I wrote I was thinking it was not in our own strength that we could simply stop doing evil and do good, but could not express it in terms other than the common Christian cliche which I try to avoid. This is beautifully written and this mindset makes possible the last verse, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” as we strive to do good. Ephesians 4 seems very much to say put off this evil and put on this good, so I think there is an intentional “doing good” where we have done evil involved, but central to this is our need for turning away from evil and depending on Jesus for redemption.

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