Saturday, March 28, 2009

Personal Disciplines Update

Sometimes I think I just blog to keep up with Pete and Becky. They always comment, at least. Recently, Pete posted a comment asking how my resolutions to keep up with daily Bible reading and exercising were going. So here's the answer: OK, and not so good.

On the spiritual front, I have managed to stay "caught up" with my regimen of reading, but I go in fits and starts. I'll skip a day, and then double up. I also have pushed my reading time to the evenings before bed, which explains the spottiness; the nights I get to bed relatively early and less tired, I'll catch up. The nights (like last night) when I'm totally fried, I collapse into bed and put off the reading until later. I'd really like to have a standing "appointment" to read first thing every morning, but this time of year (more on that in a minute) makes that more difficult.

Before turning attention to running (or NOT running), I also want to mention Bible study (separate from just reading daily) and also prayer. Our congregation has begun an 11-week focus on prayer which includes all the sermons and all the adult Sunday school classes. I am one of the teachers, so I have a good "external" motivation to both study and pray (although, as an aside, just because I can teach on the subject of prayer doesn't mean I still don't struggle with it personally... probably more than some of my so-called students).

As for the running, I'm almost completely off the wagon. I've run twice in the last 30 days, and both of those runs were less than 20 minutes (and painful to do, on account of my loss of fitness). I keep telling myself I need to start back up again (and to start from the very beginning, like a raw rookie). But this time of year is the meat of my coaching season, and it seems like every minute is consumed by other responsibilities. Every day I pack a bag with shorts and shoes so that I can sneak in a run between the end of school and the start of practice, and every day I find myself using that time to manage my roster, write workouts, correspond with constituents (from my AD to team moms to assistant coaches to athletes). That shouldn't be an excuse, but it's a lot easier to say "I'll do it when things let up."

All that said, I'm relatively pleased with what "out of shape" looks like (except for when I try to run and realize how slow and aerobically weak I am). My weight is holding steady at 138 lbs, my resting pulse rate remains below 60, my cholesterol is under 200, my "good" cholesterol is over 40, and all of that is without running a step or paying any attention at all to my diet. If I were getting fat (even though "fat" for a Salley is like "tall" for a midget), it might light a fire under me to hit the roads. But for now, the cost (in time, discomfort, and fatigue) of running is outweighing the consequences of not.

So, to summarize: I'm not really being "the me I want to be" at this time. But I'm also very aware of the seasonal nature of my life (some folks have winter, spring, summer and fall, I have cross-country, basketball, track, and summer vacation). I know the seasons will change very soon, and I'll have a great deal more control over my time and my priorities. Until then, I'm content to muddle through.


Pete said...

Just a question... since i've never coached anything... nor am I a teacher... but, is it possible to delegate some of your roster & work out writing to team captains? i.e. train them how to coach a little also? they write the workouts, and you approve.

just a thought.

On the praying class
Your honesty & candor may actually be a great part in the class. We just had a sermon on prayer... I really like what our teacher said:

"He already knows your needs. If your prayers sound like, 'Jesus, I need ________.' or 'Lord, help me ___________.' G_d already knows what fills the blank. What he wants to hear is the next part... 'Lord, if I don't get your help with _________, my fear is ____________.' He wants to hear you confess and express your fears and insecurities to him. That's the blank he's most interested in."

anyway... hopefully we can encourage you to keep up and run with endurance... in all fronts.

You're probably one of the folks I admire most from PBC.

bekster said...

Lately it seems that every time I get going good with my prayer and Bible reading, I inevitably fall off the wagon and end up in a worse place than when I started (one step forward, two steps back, etc.). However, when I DO actually take the time to do those things, my days are so much better. Unfortunately, at the moment I feel like I am in a downward spiral of not feeling like praying/etc. which makes me depressed and tired which makes me not feel like praying and so on. Ugh.

Really, though, if I say that I "haven't prayed," that is not entirely true. I ALWAYS pray at least at some point during the day because I have trained myself to make quick comments to and requests of God during the day. Even if I don't sit down and formally give my whole regular spiel to God, I at least offer up a "Thank You for this day... Help me to do Your will today" kind of prayer. Even when I don't actually communicate intentionally, I have a general attitude of reliance on God, and that may be more important than the actual words I say to God anyway (not that the latter isn't important too).

I DID do my usual long morning prayer today, but I was fighting my pillow the whole time. I have also almost finished Chapter two of "Pray Always," but I feel like to get the real benefit I need to now read the entire book of Luke (which I do not intend to do before church tomorrow). I feel kinda gypped, actually. I read the chapter trying to learn something, but what I learned was that I needed to read something else for my answers. Oh well. I'm sure between the sermon, class, and life group I'll have plenty of opportunity to get the meat of the chapter.

Coach Sal said...

To take your question, Pete, not really. I have a great staff of assistant coaches to whom I delegate a great deal (MUCH more than early in my career). But the running of the team is, at the end of the day, ultimately what I get paid for. And, for the record, I like it that way. It's just a time hog.

And Becky, you sound like me. I firmly believe that there are spiritual forces at work seeking to undermine our reading-prayer-study disciplines. I can build almost any other habit in 21 days. But in 21 years, I still encounter resistance to the spriritual ones. I don't think that is coincidental.

bekster said...

Yes, I have no doubt that is true, and the same principle applies to working on camp. The more spiritual "good" it does, the more the forces of evil try to stop it.

mnpolutta said...

Larry, I read your blog fairly regularly, even if I don't always leave a comment. I always enjoy hearing what you have to say.

I agree with you and Becky. Those spiritual disciplines are tough to establish. I am really good at reading my Chronological Bible every day. I can zip through that during breakfast. However, I find praying more than short prayers very challenging to do consistently. For a while, I did a prayer journal, basically writing out all of my prayers. That was a spiritual high point in my life. I stopped doing that (don't ask me why) and now I find my mind just wanders when I start to pray. Before I know it, I'm thinking about what I'm going to fix for dinner.

I think, though, that sometimes I resist really talking with God because then I might really hear Him and He might ask me to do something that I don't want to do. I mean, what if He decides that I should go to Ninevah...? I really don't like to confess sounds so shallow.

As far as working out...I'm going to borrow a slogan..."just do it." You'll be glad you did.


Ann said...

I read you sometimes, too, babe...but I get to TALK to you in person!

Just so you know, I kinda feel in a funk right now too...and I didn't go to the gym today. OH WELL.

Luv ya-