Training day. Today I am covering 10 miles with full pack and 1600 vertical feet at elevation of 8500 – a fairly light day to prepare me for the 500 mile trek from Denver to Durango. Today I’ve been thinking about training, about readiness for the trial, about how training is so different from “trying.”
Life will inevitably test us. In this world you will have trouble. How do we prepare for the moment of the test so that we respond well to the tough circumstances of life?
To follow Jesus is to live according to his way of living, to imitate him as an apprentice. The regular practices or habits of our faith – prayer, study of scripture, fasting, solitude, Sabbath etc, are vital to the life of a disciple. But they are not an end in themselves, that would be religion. Instead, these practices of the abiding life are used by God to transform our minds, to renew us and reshape us, so that when we face the test, the character of Christ is revealed in us.
We do not study to study well, or fast to fast well. Instead, the “spiritual disciplines” are a form of training.
A mentor once gave me a simple axiom, “The test is not the test. Your response to the test is the test.” We don’t have an option to go through life without challenges but we can be prepared to handle them well. We train our minds and hearts to be ready for them so that in the moment of the test our “natural instinct “ (new nature) is toward patience instead of anger, toward grace instead of judgement, toward humility instead of pride – for others more than for ourself.
I guess I could just show up at the trailhead and “try really hard” to finish the hike, but that’s not likely to go well! Instead, I am training for a 40 day, 500 mile trek through the wilderness. I hope my training prepares me to finish well but, even if I can’t finish, I won’t regret a single step because I’m doing this hike to raise awareness and support for kids in poverty. This cause, those kids, deserve everything I can offer. They are the “why” of the hike and remembering why is an important part of readiness.
I am also grateful to know that I am not alone. I’m doing this “walk” as part of a global community of Child Champions who are walking in solidarity with those who serve kids in hard places.
We would love to have you as part of our community. Walk with Us!