Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 26 - Getting Through the Narrow Gate

A day off, imagine that. Had a good week 40 mile bike, 60 mile bike, mile and a quarter swim, a run of over 3 hours. So, I had a day off coming. Of course, my nutrition slipped and I don't feel as guilty about my day off as I do my lack of nutritional discipline or to use my time a little more wisely.

All that shows me how easily it is to give oneself up to appetites and passions that do not grow us by deteriorate us. Just one day off and look and the small erosion already. And, if that is true for the physical and nutritional, so it is true with the spiritual. It is easy to go the easy way. "Life is always the conflict between the right way and the easy way." The Bible says that wide is the path that leads to destruction. But, narrow is the gate that leads to the eternal. So, I am eager to get back on the right track the one with the narrow gate.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 25 - Mustering Courage

Yesterday I did my outdoor 60 mile bike; the first one in months. It wasn't that bad. Oh, there was the usual self, the ingrained habits and personal weaknesses that I have allowed to creep in and dampen my spirit. But the great part of this ride was that I did not quit with some lame excuse at mile 30 or so: which is my most frequent distance. No, I just kept moving. I haven't quit, cut the ride short, or failed until I get off the bike.

So many times I have failed in living out my Christian witness: so many times I have not answered my calling, and most of those failure are because I just got off that bike too soon: I did not stay the course but broke off conflict when it got a little hard.

Today I have a 12 mile run to do. Following a 60 mile bike day; today I don't have the fervent "want-to" that I would like to. But I know if I just can muster the courage to go on and get out there, God will supply.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 24 - The Day That Succeeded

On my way to my 60 mile ride on the chip seal course I somehow settled into thankful thought. My bike route is a 16 mile drive but I thought how many others drive that far in traffic to ride in traffic. On my way I saw two young buck deer, hawks, fishing cranes, woods and streams. I thought of the nice people who let me park behind their closed gate where my truck and gear are secured. I thought of the pleasant company these fine people are, and I thought that the few vehicles I will see on the road today will have seen me here many times. There will be friendly waves and smiles back and forth and considerate sharing of the road.

To sum all this up: I just felt blessed. I clutched the wooden cross hanging from my rearview mirror and thanked God for the day; the place, the times, the people. And when I realized I had left my bike computer at home and wouldn't know how fast I was going, I just smiled. The day had succeeded and I was at peace.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Day 23 - Proving It True

Went to the health club today for a swim. This summer my swimming has been at a minimum and just in the last few weeks have I been swimming regularly. In fact, one reason I haven't been to the health club a lot is because I didn't want to answer a lot of questions about my ironman disaster in May. Sure enough, a supporter I have seen in almost five months came up to me and asked about my ironman. I had hoped he would have forgotten I had mentioned it. Almost uncontrollably, I could feel my spirits sag, my shoulders droop, and my voice begin to crack a little as I fumbled around for the right words to say. Another supporter listened in to my stumbling speech as I recalled one of the worst days of my life, one of most brutal disappointments. Finally, I just quit trying to tell the story and thanked my listeners for caring and walked off.

I was close to tears. After all this time, just a recall can bring me down to tears. This has happened so often. I have been broken so often. I have been cast down time and again in my effort to fulfill a promise to God and to myself and all those who support me. As the more practical me took over, I wondered why I am not bitter toward God. If I wanted to I could make a case that He is keeping me down, working me to death in this training and then yanking the rug out from under me. I could have blamed God. But, the thought had never occurred which tells me that I am a little farther down the road to spiritual maturity. I am a little deeper into real faith. "The miles of my journey have proved my Lord true --- " And tomorrow, the journey continues.

Day 22 : Doing Great Things

Yesterday the 40 mile bike went well. Sure there was the chip seal roads that rattle parts on my bike and make my hands hurt. But, the rattle and the little discomfort were quite manageable. In the afternoon a 4 mile run in the woods here was also quite enjoyable. Over 30 + years of endurance sports have yielded me these great days now and then; often enough that I hope for such an experience each day. Oh yes, there are days when I just got a bad case of "don't want to." There are days I just don't feel good, can't breathe right, and so on. But, I have learned through all this to not believe the way I feel is the way it will be - eventually. There has been countless times that God has turned a bad unmotivated beginning into a great workout; a great experience.

So I try to put that principle to life. Don't believe the way I feel starting out. Give God an opportunity to work in my life. Push past the chip seal of the roads in life. Push through the discomfort and wait and expect that God can do great things with even me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day 21 - Still Training - Feeding My Faith

Yesterday my run cut short due to lightning. But, that's OK. I will take rain at any price. The knee is painful at times and that crack in my armor gives me doubting room. I like the saying, though: "Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death." So, to get past I have to go about setting up conditions to starve the doubts. They can be starved but they can also be choked. Don't give air to doubt. Don't let it breathe. Don't let the doubtful thought in. Don't give it air. Give air to the times God has brought me through. The time He saved me out when I barely escaped from a burning vehicle. He saved me out when I had some sort of allergic reaction and couldn't breathe. He brought me through numerous endurance experiences, training sessions, when I could not see my way through.

So, if you see some doubts weak and emaciated staggering around choking to death, know that I am out there, still training feeding my faith well.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 20 - Facing the Wind and Pushing Against It.

A good 24 mile outdoor ride yesterday...some wood cutting and then some resting with my feet up. The next three weeks are crunch time in my training: I think I am ready. My usual morning asthma congestion dispelled by a couple whiffs from my inhaler, ready to blow the lungs out a little on the road.

Yeah, I wish I were younger. I wish my knees were still fresh. I wish I didn't have to deal with having asthma. But that is just the hand I am dealt and I will play the cards I get. There is no other good choice. It is like when Jesus asked Peter would he also go away. Peter replied something to the effect of; Lord, where else would I go? You have the words of eternal life.

I don't intend on going away from Jesus ether. I don't plan on going away from this lifestyle either. Where else could I go? Could I go get a better recliner and begin to fast forward disability and death? I don't think so. When I do die I want to be facing the wind and pushing against it. Thank God for another day; another opportunity.