In 2012, my health was in decline, and as God was shaking my world and getting me to adjust my priorities, one of the things I felt He made clear to me was the need to take care of my health so that I could continue to serve Him in my role as husband, father, and pastor.
When I started in triathlon in 2013, I was simply trying to get healthy and fulfill something on my bucket list. After my first race, Hyannis II Sprint, I wanted to do at least one more, and some of the teens (and adults) I was working with wanted to do one with me.
In triathlon, I found a sport that kept me focused on my health, as I trained to compete. And when I didn’t have races scheduled, I would allow life to crowd out my training time, with my weight going up and my health going down.
My weight going up and my health going down
This has been a challenging year for me in many aspects of my life. Physically, as a triathlete, there are so many things that have come up this year that have kept me from training as I should.
Even though I have an excellent, fiscally responsible training program (Tridot), work, personal and family issues, injuries, etc. have made it impossible at times to get my training in. PT has helped me get to a place physically where I can train, and having USAT Age Group Nationals and a 70.3 mile half Ironman in September have pushed me to make my health a priority again, if only until race time.
This year, with all the challenges I have faced, I have had the urge to stop racing and make 2022 my last year of competing. It is hard to constantly fight to get your training time in, and it would be much easier to just take that training time and spend it doing work, or in front of the TV. It would be easier to eat whatever I want because I don’t have a race to worry about. But deep down, I know this isn’t what’s best. And I wouldn’t be faithful to God if I just let my body go.
Are we being faithful to God?
Our faith walk with God can go the same way. If we’re honest, it is hard to fit in time for God. With all of our other responsibilities, at some point can’t we just rest? Does there come a point where we will have done enough?
I remember one church I was a part of when I was in youth ministry. I was asked to lead the senior (mature Christian) Bible study while the senior pastor was on sabbatical. As I began to ask them questions to engage them in the text, someone said to me that they just wanted me to teach. They had done their work and study when they were younger. They made it clear to me that this was more about fellowship than engaging the text. I thought this was so sad.
But some 20 years later, I think I understand this better. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. It is easier to just check out. Why not just say that we are all set?
Do you have times, like I do, where you feel too weary to get in the Word? Where you don’t feel you have the time or energy to pray? Where you just can’t find the time to come apart and be with God? (Yes, even pastors can get so busy doing ministry that they can neglect their private time with God.)
A couple of scriptures stand out to me…
If Paul hadn’t obtained the prize, if he couldn’t just mail it in, why should we think we can?
If we are alive, if we are still turning oxygen into carbon dioxide, then there is still work for us to do. Satan, the great enemy of our faith, will do everything he can to distract us and discourage us so that we will fall short of what God desires for us. He wants to steal the joy that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
We may have the urge to quit, but if we’re breathing, then God isn’t through with us. So let’s press on until that time when either He returns or calls us home. May we, like Paul, be able to say at the end of our lives…