Fitness Focus: Training with a Partner
Let’s face it, sometimes it is difficult to stay motivated to take care of ourselves. We are busy with jobs, family, pets…life sometimes gets in the way of, well, LIVING life to the fullest. Maybe we feel that it is selfish to take the time to exercise when we are needed by others. Perhaps we used to be more physically fit and feel overwhelmed by the task of “getting back in shape.” When facing the challenge of starting a new fitness routine, finding an exercise partner has several benefits:
1. Motivation- Having a friend to encourage you and spur you along in your quest for fitness makes the time more enjoyable. Whether you are training for a road race or just trying to get around the block, friends can meet you where you are and move you toward your goal.
2. Accountability- Statistics show that those exercising with a partner tend to keep a more consistent routine. Knowing that someone has committed to work out with you keeps you motivated to stay focused on your routine and your long-term goals. If you have difficulty or become overwhelmed, a friend can remind you of the reasons you wanted to start exercising in the first place and remind you of the benefits of being healthy.
3. Safety- Exercising outside can be a wonderful and uplifting experience. Many exercise partners enjoy an early morning run or evening walk. Having someone along with you as you enjoy the great outdoors is a good idea in order to keep you safe or assist you if you become injured. Inside the gym, a partner can be a “spotter” as you do intense or exercises.
FAITH FOCUS: Training with a Partner
We are reminded in God’s Word to, “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Heb. 12:1) Sometimes, however, running the race in our faith is difficult. Our lives sometimes provide obstacles that make it difficult to persevere. When we feel like we just can’t go any further, when our faith is weakened by things that have happened to us or we have become weak by our own failure to keep up with our spiritual training, it is important to remember that we have access to a “great cloud of witnesses” that can spur us on as we work toward strengthening our CORE in Christ. How can others help us?
1. Motivation- There is nothing like a friend to come along side you and remind you of the TRUTH of God’s Word. Fellow believers can keep you uplifted and encouraged by helping you find a new Bible Study, being a prayer partner, or just listening to your struggles in your area of weakness.
2. Accountability- More than just an encourager and motivator, having a brother or sister in Christ as a partner in strengthening your faith can help hold you accountable. A strong faith is necessary to run the race or reach the purpose that God has for us. It is helpful to be reminded of the importance of “staying in training” and maintaining a healthy spiritual life.
3. Safety- Finally, a partner in faith can help keep you safe from injury or harm. Our world is filled with many things that are obstacles to our race of faith. It is easy to get distracted by the duties of our lives or the pleasures of our culture. If we stray off the race course, we can get into situations that might cause us to strain or pull those Spiritual muscles that make up our CORE in Christ (these “muscles” include: prayer, study, service, etc.). Maybe we are diligently working these Spiritual muscles by seeking out as many ways as possible to increase strength in our faith. We serve often, we are in many studies, we are involved with prayer circles. All of these are wonderful things, but when we begin to take on too much or use “training plans” meant for others instead of focusing on God’s plan for us, we can strain ourselves, or burn out. A partner, or “spiritual spotter” can help you stay on track, assist in the “heavy lifting” of ministry and service, or step in to prevent overload or strain by reminding us not to always engage our CORE in Christ when using new spiritual exercises for our training.
Even if we prefer to “go it alone”, we like running in solitude or the quietness of personal Bible Study and prayer, we have the ultimate Partner, a Spiritual Spotter to motivate us, hold us accountable, and keep us safe and protected as we strengthen our faith and train for the race marked out for us. Jesus, the CORE of our faith, anchors us to our Heavenly Father, keeping us aligned and focused, as we flow with precision and control through the exercises of our faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
*For more on how to engage your CORE in CHRIST, see the COREprinciples Tab on the top of the page.