Monday, June 30, 2008

Running Lesson #6


“…a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” - Phil. 4:18

Having a very good sense of smell is not all it’s cracked up to be! Oh, it has its pros but it very definitely comes with a set of cons as well. For whatever reason, my olfactory system is highly charged and incredibly sensitive. I can smell the dead opossum on the side of the road when he’s still alive! It is nice when there is fresh-baked bread in the air or a nice scent in the room, but it can be downright tough at other times.

So you can imagine how I felt on a recent run when I got a snout-full of the scent of moth balls! Here I am, running down the road, inhaling deeply when it hits me like a ton of bricks. I don’t know how you feel about moth balls, but personally I will fold, wrap, and hand deliver my entire wardrobe to the moths before I ever try to repel them with the hideous and insidious smell of those marble-sized menaces. That’s how I feel about the smell of moth balls.

So you can image how I felt when just a few houses down, as I was trying to snort out the previous odor (literally), I got a whiff of someone grilling meat over charcoal! Oh have mercy did it smell good and was it ever a nice surprise! It was all I could do to not drop in and see what was on the menu. I suddenly went from running faster to get away from the stench to slowing down to enjoy the pleasant aroma. What a nice change.

The entire episode reminds me that we all have an “aroma”. As we go through our day and interact with others, they are getting a “whiff” of who we are. Sometimes the experience is pleasant and they like to linger, but other times the odor repels them. You know what I mean because you experience the aroma of other people every day. Some are good and some are bad – but everyone has an “aroma”.

Attitude, disposition, words, actions, body language, and facial expressions are all a part of our aroma. I can’t change all the bad smells out there but I can make sure that I don’t add to them. I’m thankful to the moth ball house for reminding to not “stink” and to the grilling people for reminding me that a pleasant aroma is a welcome delight for someone! What do others think about your “aroma”? Think about it.

Gotta run!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Running lesson #5


“I buffet my body and make it my slave…” 1 Cor. 9:27

A recent loss of 10 pounds has revealed veins, abs, and an overall muscle definition that I have never before seen, at least not in my mirror. Before you think this is an exercise in narcissism let me assure you it isn’t. While it is nice to be in the best shape of your life at a time when many of your contemporaries haven’t seen their feet since the first Bush was President; the reality is that when your age begins with a 4 (or more) all signs of progress are more about vitality than vanity.

The improvements were both unintentional and intentional. They were both unexpected and planned. Huh? What I mean is that, while I did not set out to lose weight, I did intentionally set and follow the plan that brought it about. I decided on a fairly rigorous fitness plan that includes lifting weights 3 days per week and running another 3-4 days per week. After sticking to this plan for several months I noticed something happening around my waist. And now if I don’t cinch up my belt to the last hole I may be embarrassed!

The nicest part is that these are just the fringe benefits. The best part is happening on the inside. My endurance is up and my blood pressure is down. My energy has been raised while my pulse has been lowered. The lean muscle mass is up and the body fat percentage is down. All these are signs of good health – the ultimate physical goal. Set a goal, stick to the plan, and enjoy the results.

The same has obvious, and more important, spiritual application. What is our ultimate spiritual goal? Do we have a plan to help attain that goal? Are we willing to stick to it even when it would be easier to quit? Are we giving something to the accomplishment of that goal every day? If we can answer these questions in the right way, then we will also experience the fringe benefits too.

Remember that the best things are happening on the inside. Benefits such as more peace and contentment. A better outlook on life. A heavenly perspective that allows us to see beyond the temporary. The joy of forgiveness – both received and extended. The blessings of living a selfless life. The list goes on and on and I encourage you to make your own list.

The principle is simple Set a goal, stick to the plan, and enjoy the results.
You can do it!

Gotta run!