My sister Lisa is always on the run, literally. Not only is she the mother of 4 children who range in age from 10-15, she’s a long distance runner, a personal trainer, college cross country coach, Bible study leader and wife to a wonderful man named Russ. I didn’t mention that she has also written some beautiful choir and solo music in her spare time. I talked to Lisa recently about her interest in personal training and why she continues to run competitively. She said this:
“I love training people to run for a number of reasons – it gives me a great chance to build relationships, and as the Lord allows opportunity, to correlate the physical with the spiritual in conversation. I also work with a number of Christians which brings lots of great communication about caring for the temple God chooses to inhabit by His Holy Spirit.
So often I see Christians allowing themselves to indulge in careless or even obsessive eating habits and ignoring exercise, claiming that we should simply concentrate on “the spiritual”. We have been created as spiritual beings – yes – however that spirit dwells within a mortal frame that, unless cared for, will become unhealthy. If our bodies are in poor health and uncared for, how can we possibly serve the Lord with “all our strength”?
Simple scientific evidence has proven over and over the importance of exercise in promoting a healthy body and mind. Yet so often Christians avoid the issue for fear that keeping themselves fit may appear “carnal”. Self control is a fruit of the spirit that can and must manifest itself in every arena of our lives, including the physical. Exercise is one of the wonderfully natural ways of maintaining health and gaining energy with which to serve our King.”
I asked her about the Bible study that she teaches and why she adds that to her already busy life.
“As I teach the Bible Study each week, I find nothing more fulfilling than encouraging my friends spiritually with the Word of God. There is surely no gain in having a “fit” body, and a spiritual life that is weak and falling apart. Our bodies will perish, but our spirits are eternal. My walk with my Lord MUST be my highest priority. Then, I must be careful to be a good steward of the body He has created for me – to keep it, as best I am able, fit to serve Him!”
Lisa runs40-45 miles a week and is running her first marathon in October. Her “normal” runs are 10 milers or 1/2 marathons. She generally finishes in the top 1-2% of women and in the top 3 in her age division, 35-39.
Lisa and I used to play tennis before school when we were teenagers, and I used to run with her when I graduated from high school. That was the extent of my athletic pursuits. She was always the powerhouse. Her strong arm would send the balls to kingdom come. I don’t think we ever did find some of those tennis balls!
Having a personal trainer for a sister comes in very handy. She set me up with some great exercises and actually has me using small weights and things to get me stronger. (I’m talking little weights here, not barbells, ha!)
I prefer walking, and this summer, I got serious about it. I like to do it twice a day, once in the morning and once when Tom comes home. It’s therapeutic, to say the least. It’s head clearing, calorie burning quiet time to sort out your day, pray or just think. It’s an antidote to depression and malaise like nothing else. So if you’re needing to get moving, I challenge you to do it. As we take care of ourselves physically, we are able to serve the Lord better and have more energy to serve those we love.