I have a couple sisters and a brother who love to run. I’ve never understood why. I know they run for the exercise, but I believe they run to condition themselves and because they enjoy the burn. I have never run a ¼ mile race, let alone a marathon, but I have a dream of entering a triathlon some day. I don’t need to win. I’d just like to cross the finish line still standing.
My journey toward health is like a marathon. Like a marathon, it requires a good strong start (I’ve done that a couple times), and consistent effort all the way to the finish line (I’m working on that… again).
Great racers set specific goals. I have looked ahead and decided what I hope to accomplish. I have fixed in my mind where I want to be in 6 months, a year, and five years from now. I have written my goals down and I review them regularly – sometimes multiple times a day. Every time I walk past my computer I record my progress. I think about my goals all day. I’ve made my most important goals – not about the pounds – but about my reliance on the Lord and my relationship with Him. This has been a key element in keeping me on target and moving in a positive direction.
After I visualized myself at the end of my journey, I identified how I needed to prepare. Today I am determined to pay the price in effort, study, exercise, and prayer. This course will not be easy. But I know I can succeed! Success results when preparation meets opportunity. When I leave the house I have veggies in a baggy. I carry a large water bottle everywhere. I am able to resist the cravings for a soda.
I’m seeing the need to seek help. I cannot depend on my own strength. My kids help; my husband has joined the journey; I found SP and have met a few people through the site that read my blog and email me to keep me moving in the right direction; I’m relaying more each day on the tender mercies of the Lord and recognizing His hand in my success. Up to this point in my life I’ve relied on my own skill, knowledge and ability in my numerous quests for health. This often led to pride. Not a good thing!
In the opening section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord described the wicked condition of many in the world, and I quote: “They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god.” (D&C 1:16.). When I boasted in my own strength and “walked in [my] own way” I never achieved lasting health. In fact, I complicated the process of discovering excellent health! I was too focused on what I looked like and not what I felt like.
Large races have aid stations along the course that provide water, food, encouragement, and assistance. My aid station is found in my daily scripture study. There I find Living Water, the Bread of Life, perfect encouragement and the assistance of the Holy Ghost and the angels.
Over the past week I have felt a little like I had “hit the wall”. I was tired of making good choices. It would be so easy to give into temptation. I was tired of making time to exercise. It’s not like anyone is really paying attention. I also learned that my husband turned off my hypnotist track! I was NOT “feeling it”! No one would ever know I didn’t exercise this week (besides, it was TOM)… “Who will know if I throw it all in for the week?” I will! God will! The Lord will never abandon me on my righteous quest! I must not abandon myself!
The reason to stay on course is so obvious. I’m seeking health, peace and happiness. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. …
“In obedience there is joy and peace … and as God has designed our happiness … , he never has—He never will … give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed.” (History of the Church, 5:134–35.)
We read in the Book of Mormon: “Men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Ne. 2:25.)
I must hold on! I must be true! I must find joy in the journey!
An obvious parallel between my desire for health and well being and a marathon is the necessity to run diligently and endure to the end. Among his final words to his people, Nephi told them: “And now, … after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; … Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ … and endure to the end.” (2 Ne. 31:19–20.)
From the dictionary: Endurance (also called sufferance) is the ability for humans to exert themselves through aerobic or anaerobic exercise for relatively long periods of time. The definition of ‘long’ varies according to the type of exertion – minutes for high intensity anaerobic exercise, hours or days for low intensity. Training for endurance can have a negative impact on the ability to exert strength unless an individual also undertakes resistance training to counteract this effect.
Endurance is not a strong point in my character. I need assistance to press forward. I can endure! Every step I take, every bead of sweat, every weight I lift all increase the endurance I seek and need to achieve my goals. However, it’s more than my ability to walk; it’s more than the strength of my muscles. L. Tom Perry taught, “Enduring to the end requires faithfulness to the end, as in the case of Paul, who told Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).”
I will fight the good fight. I will finish my course! I will strengthen and keep my faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ!
Elder Perry continues, “Enduring to the end is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. First, it requires the Savior’s redemptive power… enduring to the end requires the Holy Ghost, who will both guide and sanctify us. (L. Tom Perry, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, May 2008, 44–46).
I think of this promise of the Lord: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31.) I have that promise.
I have my own “race” I’ve embarked on. There are days, hours and minutes that I “hit the wall” and wish to through the towel in. In those moments a SP buddy sends a note of encouragement; someone posts a comment on my blog; a brother calls to say he’s proud of me; my husband says I’m beautiful when I’m sweaty. It’s as if they are all whispering, , “Stay with me. You’ll feel good at some point. You can get through. I’ll help you through.” I am gaining “Endurance”!