Listening to inspiring stories of athletes and watching competitions that have us cheering — the 2016 Olympics are here! Perhaps we will make vows of worthwhile goals in our lives — realizing the great discipline, years of dedicated time and resources it takes to accomplish what Olympic athletes do.
I once learned of another element of athletic excellence some may have considered.
Several years ago, our county wide running club hired an Olympic coach for just one day. Elite runners started at 8:00am. The rest of us were assigned an appointment based on individual time from from a recent 10K race. My group was last. Going around the table, each asked how to manage their various injuries while continuing to run. When my turn came, I asked how to be faster, as I had no injuries.
He replied, “No injuries? What are you thinking when you run?”
I told him that running is a time for me to ponder some Scripture that has touched me, to pray for my children and myself. Nodding in agreement, he gave me some training tips to increase my speed.
I cherished this mutual recognition of the power of our thoughts to impact our experience. But our session concluded without me having an opportunity to tell him that these prayers-on-the-go meant much more to me than positive thinking.
One time my foot twisted on a pothole while running. The next moment found me sprawled on the pavement! I had been studying Christian Science for some time, so I turned to God in prayer. I strove to understand His perfect nature and to see myself as His spiritual image and likeness, beyond the reach of any injury. I thought of God as divine Spirit, and me as the expression of Spirit. This brought a strong conviction that I could not be out of alignment with God because He is not out of alignment with us! I felt peaceful despite the circumstances and my running partner helped me up. I was able to jog home as usual with my running group.
That Olympic coach made a connection for me between my lack of injuries and what I was thinking. It’s a great start! But for me, it is even more than this — it is the act of listening for divine ideas as I go — ideas that affirm who I am, spiritually, that keeps me running strong. This is something I feel we can all take moments to do — in running, training, and in everyday life.
Photo attribution: @GlowImages