See my circle drawing above? I’m learning that this simple drawing is the key to keeping balance and strength as an athlete and in my spiritual life.
As an athlete, I want to practice my sport. As a triathlete, this means swimming, biking and running. The sports I’ll do on race day. In the past few years, in an attempt to improve, I spent more time swimming, biking and running. To a point I improved. Then I began to break down. I broke down from the inside out.
My core was getting weaker, my pure muscular strength was weakening and my flexibility was becoming more and more limited. Sports are repetitive motions. In order to do these repetitive motions successfully requires a strong core, strong muscles and flexibility. Without these three, achieving potential and realizing optimal performance can’t happen and injury will happen. Why? Because your core, strength and flexibility support the repetitive motions of your sport!
Put core, strength and flexibility in the inner circles above, then as you go further out from your “core” you can add in whatever your sport requires. In triathlon this would swim, bike and run of course.
If I get on a training program and I start to skip or miss or shorten my dedication to developing and maintaining the inner most three (core, strength, flexibility) I am going to be in trouble. Perhaps not right away. At some point, I will, at the very least stop my improvement and I am guaranteed an injury. Don’t believe me? Wait and see. For more mature athletes, the nagging injuries are all to often based on “age” and while there is something too that it’s not the full picture. The nagging injuries are the outward reflection of inner physical weakness and the failure to stop the training to fix the inner circles!!
So, in sport, get the inner circles developed THEN move on to the sport specifics.
Often, spiritually, we ask ourselves these questions: What’s my purpose? What does God want me to do? Sound familiar? Yep, I know.
In our haste and our desire to fulfill our purpose we go to the outer circles and miss developing our spiritual core.
Before heading out to fulfill what you think your purpose is or start doing what you think God wants you to do, check out what’s happening in the inner circles!
Are you spending alone time with God in prayer, reading the Bible, listening to Him?
Are you applying what you read in the Bible and hear from Him?
How is your marriage? Are you lovingly focused on your spouse?
How are your kids? Are you lovingly focused on them?
These are your spiritual inner circles. First, your personal relationship with God. Second your marriage. Third your children.
If there are weaknesses in your personal time with God – not regular, too short to listen, not applying what you’ve learned to your life. Then your very core is weak.
God does not give you purpose to go and fulfill until He knows that you are strong enough in your core to go do what He has planned for you! He won’t send you out until He has prepared you to the point He feels He needs to to release you! He wants you out there, fulfilling your purpose, serving others in a strong and fit condition. And just like your body, this means focusing on the inner circles first!
So, draw yourself some circles. Take some time to reflect in both of these areas – sport and spirituality. What do you need to draw your attention back to? More than likely, like me, you need to refocus your energy, attention and time and discipline yourself to develop your inner circles. The rewards are HUGE for this. It’s not easy. But it is worth it!!
I would love to hear about your circles!! Would you send me your diagram?
Be a peach
Erwin McManus in his book, Wide Awake, said that spiritually we are to be like a peach – a strong hard, solid core (the peach pit) and a tender, sweet outside (the peach fruit)!