Heather Marshall on August 8th, 2008

I love watching the Olympics! My favorite summer sports to watch are the gymnastics and the diving. I also enjoy watching the swimming and the track and field events. The muscle tone on those athletes is astounding! They make what they do look so easy!

What we don’t see is the thousands of hours of TRAINING these athletes go through to GET to that point! Day in and day out, they put their bodies through rigorous exercises, building their endurance and physical stamina to the point where they excel and exceed all others around them. They did not wake up one morning a few weeks ago and flippantly decide to try out for the Olympics. No, they trained for this moment their entire lives! They refused to give up when they lost; they refused to stop even when it hurt! They pushed through the pain and discomfort, pressed on toward their goal, and have now made it to the top: The 2008 Olympics!

Did you know that God wants us to be like these Olympians? Look at 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (I find it very interesting that Paul mentions “the games” - the original Olympics!!)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Run in such a way that you may win,” the NAS version says. We’re not just running aimlessly through this life, or through this marriage. We are not running without aim. We are striving for a goal, a purpose - a “prize.” We have to “beat our body” and undergo strict training in order to get it disciplined, but the end result is winning!

Now, notice Paul did NOT say, “Try to win,” or “attempt to enter the race.” No, he said to WIN it!! And winning requires training.

I don’t like to run. In fact, I despise it. Most likely cause: I’m not good at it! I tried to “go for a run” one day…. and ended up walking most of it. I definitely am not fit to enter a marathon any time soon. In fact, I can’t even run a mile! I always say, “I tried to run… but I only last a few minutes.” Can I train myself to run a mile (or even a marathon)? Sure thing!! It would require dedication, commitment, and even discomfort and pain.

Now, is Paul telling the people of Corinth to be Olympians and compete in the actual games? Of course not… but since everyone has Olympic fever, it’s a great analogy to use! He’s talking about disciplining their spiritual bodies - striving toward godliness!

We can take those same concepts and apply them to our marriage. We cannot just simply get married and “try” to make it work! It will most definitely fail. Think about what we talked about in the last post, reacting vs responding. If you’re simply “trying” to be a good wife, you’ll easily let your tongue fly loose in a reaction versus a well-thought out, gentle response. Proper responses actually require training. You have to train yourself to hold your tongue, pray before speaking, or meditate on all things that are good before giving a response.

Leslie Vernick, in her book “How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong,” talks about this very issue (She was my inspiration for this entire post):

“I’ve never had a problem with words, and I can hold my own against even the most formidable opponent. I have had to train myself to keep quiet when I want to vent. I have had to discipline my tongue not to say everything out loud just because I am thinking it. Some things are better left unsaid, and I have learned the hard way that reckless and careless words hurt my husband even if at the moment I feel better. Later I may ask for forgiveness, but even a sincere apology doesn’t wipe away the sting of ugly words hurled in a moment of uncontrolled anger.” (p. 125-127)

Aside from training my tongue, I also have to train myself to clean the house as I am not a naturally neat person. I can’t “try” to do it - I actually have to discipline myself to spend a certain amount of time each day tidying and cleaning! I have to train my facial expressions… I have to train myself not to roll my eyes or give attitude on my face so that I can quietly deal with God about my attitude in my heart. That requires discipline, too!!

God knows that training takes work! Godliness takes discipline! Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4:7 totrain yourself to be Godly.

If Godliness is our goal (and I pray that it is!), then we must make sure that our coach, our teacher, IS God, or else we will fall far short of that goal. Jesus taught, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) If your teacher/coach/mentor is someone who is not a Christian - beware! You will end up being like her! We need to emulate Christ Himself in our lives!

Let’s go back to looking at the Olympics. If I wanted to be an Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, would I let my coach be someone who has read books about gymnastics but never actually trained? No! I would want the best coach, one who has been to the Olympics before (or at least coached girls who brought home medals!). I would want….. Bela Karolyi to be my coach!

What about for Godliness? The Holy Spirit Himself is our coach! He, “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in [Jesus'] name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything [He has] said to you.” (John 14:26) We get the best of the best!!

Just because the Holy Spirit is our coach does NOT mean we get off easy!! In fact, it just might be harder, because He is always with us, always guiding, always convicting. It may be painful at times, as we get pruned of our old habits and old ways of reacting, but true discipline pays off in the end!

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

Bear with it, and choose to TRAIN yourself to be a better wife - don’t just try! Let’s run this race so as to win! Let’s persevere, endure to the end, and collect that prize! And what gold medal or winner’s wreath could be better than a crown put on our heads, and our Heavenly Father smiling down on us, saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21,23)

Keep on striving, my friends….. Keep on striving!!!


How is your Olympic training going? Are you training or trying? I’d love to hear your stories…. Comment below!

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63971: How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong

By Leslie Vernick

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8 Responses to “Training vs Trying… To Celebrate the Olympics Starting Today!”

  1. Wow! Great post Heather (honey!) I know … I know I’m not a wife, but I still enjoy the posts and applying them an anyway I can.

    Now, as for that mile/marathon… I think you should do it! My niece is about to do a marathon for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Actually you can check out her page by clicking below… (warning you may cry when you read her story)

    I am so proud of her! Just think - you could train for this event next year. It would be quite inspiring since you are actually a Lymphoma SURVIVOR. You fought the fight and won! I’ll help you train!

    Love ya honey!

  2. Hmmm…. I’ll let my readers decide if I should do it or not…. what do you think, ladies? Is it something worth striving for??

    Cast your vote below… :)

  3. You should totally run.
    And not the “Katie Holmes kind of ran a marathon with a whole team of trainers” kind of run either. You should do the ugly, sopping wet, blisters in between your toes kind of run. Everyone should do that at least once in their lifetime. I did it when I was 8. Ice cream from an ice cream truck never tasted so good.

  4. I can’t tell you if you should run, only the Holy Spirit can answer that as you pray… but here’s a thought, why don’t the two of you train and run together?

  5. Alright, so Jason and I mapped out a 1 mile route near our house… I’ll start there, and see where it leads! :)

    Maybe I’ll actually be a runner someday!

  6. You go girl!! Love this post - the fact that you back it up with scripture is such a true blessing for me!!!

    Umm….glad I missed the “should I run” question - I would have said yikky no no no - sweat, heat, and running - and all together. Sorry Heather I have nightmares about running! Forced to do it in Jr High and I always came in last. I was born to ride horses, quad bikes, and cars - not run! hehe
    BUT MORE POWER TO YOU & JASON!!! I will be on the side line in the shade handing out the cold water as you go by - LOL wink wink :)

  7. HA! I hate running too, but… well… I’m always willing to try new things! (Or old things… again!) Hopefully I’ll be able to stick with it! :)


  1. Striving For the Goal….

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