by Lyndall Waters
I’ve taken up running to improve my fitness and wellbeing. Honestly, it’s not much fun, and I’m not a natural but I’m hanging in there. My newfound running buddies say running 5 kilometres in 30 minutes is a recognised achievement in the running world. I’m quietly determined to join this 5/30 club, but it means running 6 minute kilometres. Ouch. So to help me get my pace right, I’ve just bought a running watch. It tracks pace, distance, heart rate, and gives advice and updates during and post-run. Actually, it’s kinda bossy!
After yesterday’s run, (5km in 33 min – I’m getting closer!), the watch announced that I needed recovery time of 72 hours, and while part of me thought, Yes, I don’t have to run again for 3 days, another voice in my head yelled, Hang on, you’re being lazy if you don’t run every day. You don’t need to rest, you need to run!
But that’s warped thinking. Exercise experts tell us recovery time is just as important as the actual workout. Post-workout, we must eat right, sleep, stretch, and drink water to see lasting improvements. So I am writing this today, not out there pounding the pavement, but at home eating a runner’s recovery meal and giving my legs a break! Maybe there’s something to this notion of recovery time. Thanks running watch!
However, it’s not just our physical bodies that need recovery time but also our minds, hearts and souls. God made us this way; to need rest after times of work, effort and stress. This idea seems out of step with our culture’s belief that it’s admirable to continually work and strive, yet the principle of rest echoes throughout the Bible. At creation, God himself rested on the 7th day. In the New Testament Jesus often withdrew from the crowds and his disciples to spend time with his Father in prayer. Both God the Father and Jesus his Son took time to rest and recover. We are kidding ourselves when we regard rest as a luxury or a weakness.
But when was the last time I was deliberate in giving my soul recovery time?
The Bible tells us our “soul finds rest in God alone” (Psalm 62:1). So just like my running disciplines, I must be deliberate in how I develop spiritual sustenance and nutrition for my soul. Bible reading and time spent in prayer and worship are the best places to start. When I dedicate space and time to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7), my soul will be refreshed. I hold to the promise in Isaiah 40:31-1 “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.”
When we are rested, our bodies can do great things. Mine might even be able to run 5 kilometres in 30 minutes! But more importantly, when my soul’s rested, I will be ready to be used by my God, to do His will.
Lord, as I pause in the midst of this busy life, to wait upon you, refresh my heart and soul.