Every day after high school, I would jog down to the track and get the days training schedule from my track coach, Mr. Graves. He always knew what I needed and helped me to be a better, more disciplined runner. As a freshman starting high school track, there was so much excitement and vigor around doing the exact workout he wanted us to do. But about two weeks into the season, as the miles began to pile up along with the sore muscles, I wasn’t as enthusiastic. I was a 14-year-old undersized boy dragging myself to the track every day. It was painful, and to be honest there were some days I not only didn’t want to train, I wanted to quit. I began to wonder if this whole “track” thing was for me. This Sunday at 217church we will discover some key truths about what TRAINING has to do with us being a church on mission.
Proud of my kids as they finished their first ever race!
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.” 1 Corinthians 9:25
Training is tough work. It isn’t glamorous putting in all those miles when no one is looking and your race is sometimes months away. But one thing we forget: God is preparing us for what is next, even when we don’t feel like it matters. Trust me, It all matters! In every difficult situation and every phase that seems harder and harder, God is constantly teaching and training us. Here are some hints to train smarter in every area of your life:
4 Hints on Training
1. Be Realistic – Most of us think we can do more than we actually can. In our spiritual lives, reaching the goals Jesus wants us to achieve has to do with us being realistic about our training. As we enter into the new year, be realistic about what you can achieve and what you can handle. God will not give you more than you can handle and remember not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to.
2. Have a Long Term View – In a world of instant gratification, it’s those who see the future race while they train that excel the most. I have seen so many people, marriages, athletes, small group leaders, pastors, friends, and co-workers burn out and flame out because of a lack of long term perspective. The more I can connect today’s activity to the vision of the big picture, the more meaningful the training becomes. This means that you have to pace yourself. Perspective will lead to better training.
3. Get A Good Plan – Once you have a long term perspective, you need a training plan. Sure some of the things you will learn will be on “accident”, but intentionality matters when it comes to personal growth. Identify key areas of your life where you want to grow, then ask what is one action that will lead me to the end vision. A good plan keeps you on track, encourages you along the way and provides confidence and enthusiasm. This also allows you to trust God’s voice. If God gives you the plan to execute and you see results, it helps you to trust him more. By the way, if He changes the plan mid stream, it doesn’t mean you were “wrong,” it means that now you are at a different place in your training and He wants you to go further! Once my track coach saw I had mastered certain runs, he changed it up and this allowed me to run faster!
4. Execute with Accountability – Training alone is NEVER as good as training with a coach. Once you have a plan, YOU MUST SHARE IT! If you think you are better alone, you have a pride problem. If you think your ideas are the best, you have a trust problem. Still not a believer? Here is why accountability makes you better:
- You’ll Feel A Sense of Urgency – If you have the habit of training with someone, you are less likely to sleep in on your workout partner. The easiest way for me to go on a run is to take someone with me.
- You’ll Want Others To Succeed– When I actively train with someone, I find myself wanting them to finish strong as well! It’s not about me beating them, but helping them. It is harder to feel tired and sorry for yourself when you are helping someone else succeed in their plan.
- You’ll Finish Stronger – When you are at the end of your training, others can push you when you don’t think you have energy left. Trust me! There is usually more left than you think there is.
Now let me leave you with this thought: I was far from the best athlete on my track team, but I will say this. There weren’t very many people who out-trained me. My philosophy was train hard and the results will come. Training hard may not lead to a championship but it will lead to character and respect. As you live on mission this week, Train hard or go home! I believe in you church!