Friday, August 22, 2008

The Discipline of Self-Denial

I've blogged a few times re: my fitness level. Usually I do this after overeating and feeling depressed, or just before I start some new diet or exercise program. Then I feel bad when I don't follow through.

This time I waited until I was done!

For the past 10 weeks, I have been following an interval training program I found online:It has been a very challenging time, but this morning I finished their introductory program:As a graduation present I am going out tonight and buying new running shoes!

The cool thing is, while I have lost weight and do feel better, my motivation was not to lose weight or feel better -- those were really just byproducts.

So why am I doing this? I am doing this because I love Cathy and I want to take care of myself for her sake.

It is also, therefore, an excellent exercise in self-denial and discipline. You see, I don't really like running. I would much rather stay in bed and sleep. But in denying my own desires, and instead intentionally doing something for someone else, I am putting myself in touch with the attitude Jesus has. Maybe my self-denial in this area will help me put others first in my neighborhood, or my workplace, or in other areas of my life as well. That is my hope.

And in looking back at the last 10 weeks, I see I have reached a new level of discipline. When I was in the Navy (25 years ago!), "Boot Camp" was 8 weeks long, and it was the hardest physical activity I'd ever done. The endurance test at the end of the 8th week was running 1.5 miles in 15 minutes or less.

As of today, I have been exercising aerobically for 30+ minutes, first thing in the morning, three times per week, for 10 weeks straight! In fact, for the past 3 weeks, I have run a full 5k every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!

Aside from feeling good physically, I feel good emotionally -- about the ability I apparently do have to become more disciplined. I honestly didn't think I had it in me, and have surprised myself. What has kept me going is my love for Cathy and as I set out on my warm-up walk each time, I reflect on the self-denial aspect and ask God to strengthen me to be more like Jesus. If the past 10 weeks are any indicator, He does answer prayer and He does what He says.

Now -- do you think I am jinxing myself if I tell you that on Monday I plan on going to the next level?~ Keith

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