Soul Health

Written by Lisa Hagen (Minnesota, USA)

Lisa Hagen is a home-schooling mom to 7 amazing children, whom she and her husband hope to raise for God’s kingdom. She also coaches track and cross-country for local high schools. Additionally, Lisa is also a coach for the wheelchair division in track as 2 of her sons have muscular atrophy.

August 17, 2021

While walking this morning, I glanced down at my Garmin to see how many steps I had clocked in before 8.30am.
This simple action reminded me of something I had heard the day before. 

“Your physical health is great. How is the health of your soul?”

Athletes are constantly figuring out when and how they should schedule their next run.
We arrange our daily activities around our training schedule and then, rearrange them to make sure we stick to our plan.
We assure ourselves that our bodies are in mint condition and push ourselves hard to get to the next level.
The pursuit for the shiny medal never ends, and all to prove to the world and ourselves that we are indeed amazing.

The size of our heads tend to grow with each medal gained and with it, our efforts to keep up increases dramatically.
Yes, our bodies are in good health but where does all of this lead to?
What is the point of chasing after a medal?
What are we trying to prove to ourselves and others?
Ultimately, what good is owning a box full of medals?
Why not train for and race for a prize that will never be stored away but be used for all eternity? 

God really got my attention a year and a half ago.
I was in peak shape, always working hard to get my running schedule in, and even cancelling visits with friends and family.
Needless to say,  my spiritual life was falling behind.
As I saw that and walked closer with Jesus, I prayed that He would guide me and physically show me if I should continue to train at that level.  

Not long after making the prayer, I contracted pneumonia.
Undeterred, I popped right back into full training after recovery and asked Him for the second time if my running was getting in the way of what He wanted me to do. I soon fell sick again.
Just as a child is recalcitrant, I recovered and resumed training in full swing. 

This time, as an added measure, I prayed that if God wanted me to stop training at this level, He would have to have me sprain my ankle and physically stop me.
Indeed, a few weeks later, I tore a tendon in that the exact foot that I prayed for a sign on.
I had to come to terms with God at last – I was spending too much time, mental and physical energy on my sport and not enough with Jesus and my family.  

I still run now, but no more 16 miles, just 3 to 6 at most.
I still do my workouts, but no more than and spend way more time with Jesus.
Jesus has returned as my first priority and my family comes second.
Running is something good I do to keep myself healthy, in body and mind.
My box of old medals in the basement is a good reminder of the pointlessness of the earthly prize.

An Eternal Prize awaits

1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV 

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

Working for a physically healthy body is not a bad thing.
In fact, scripture says it IS a benefit.

1 Timothy 4:7-‬8, ESV 

“Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Nevertheless, the health of our eternal souls is of the greatest value.
You can see where your heart is and to whom or what your allegiance belongs to by what you make time for. 

So, how is the health of your soul today? 

Reflection & Prayer Pointers:

  1. Do we schedule our days to make sure we have time with Jesus every day?
    Do we put a priority on time in the word and prayer?

  2. Do we put more emphasis on making sure we get a run in, go to work and have time with friends?
    Do we have time with our King every day?

  3. What are some action plans which you can make today to care for your soul?

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