Sundays musing

15 Mar

Public speaking… you know, when your mouth turns as dry as a chip, your hands, arms and even legs are shaking like there’s a violent earthquake or you’re having a seizure, your mind goes blank, then what you DO say feels a little jumbled… please tell me you can relate to this!

On Sunday I was asked to share how my love of multisport and my Christian faith interact. I experienced all of the above and more! Despite having some positive feedback afterwards I feel a little like I wasn’t as eloquent as I would have liked, and therefore I’ve decided to answer this question on my blog – and then those who weren’t able to experience the full effects of Jen’s terror when public speaking (as well as those who did!) can read what it was I really wanted to get out on Sunday.

So, how is it that my faith and multi-sport combine?

I love multisport. I train consistently on days off (and will be heading to the pool just as soon as I finish this post).  I get a lot of enjoyment from swimming, cycling, and yes, even running (well… most days…).  I’m a nurse in an Intensive Care Unit, and it can be very easy to think that everyone in the world is sick.  Because, for a lot of hours a week that is my world.  I see people who were previously very active, not able to get out of bed. I see people who have a long journey to any kind of “normal activity” – where walking 10m to the bathroom poses a major logistical challenge.  So training and exercise for me feels like a privilege and opportunity to make the most of the capable body God has given me. Each day I’m incredibly thankful that I, for now, have the time and ability to go out and do it. I feel that God is pleased when I treat my body well. I will also use the tougher training sessions to remind myself of those who cannot currently participate due to illness (particularly family and friends) and take the opportunity to pray for them.

Exercise for me is also a wonderful stress reliever.  I enjoy getting out in the open air and reminding myself that there really is an incredible world out there.  I’m continually thankful that I am not God because I’m just not creative enough for the job.  How many different species of trees are there? What about flowers? The birds in the air, animals on the ground (even the pesky bush turkeys)…. How cool are the cloud formations some times? The world would have looked far more mundane if I had created it – with one type of tree, and one type of flower…  I find time on my long runs, or time on my long bike rides are great times to have a chat to my creator. I can talk about things that are worrying me, things that I’m thankful for…. And sometimes, even ask him to kindly turn the headwind into a tailwind (this isn’t all that successful so far though….).

I also use my love of multi-sport to raise awareness for major medical diseases – in particular, Cancer and Motor Neurone Disease.  Both of these diseases have impacted my world significantly, and continue to do so on a daily basis.  I do believe however, that God made some pretty clever people in this world. Medical Researchers are spending their days investigating these diseases and endeavouring to find links so that treatments and cures can be found or improved.  To do this they need funding. I will therefore continue to raise money and awareness for these two areas in particular – in the clothes I wear out on course (for example: Smiling for Smiddy – funding cancer research, MND and Me – funding research into MND), or by participating in fundraising activities for these areas in particular.  I believe that with God inspired minds, these researchers can and will find medical breakthroughs, and I pray that in my lifetime someone who hears the words “I’m sorry, you have MND” will also be able to have a conversation about treatment options.

I have made some wonderful friends in the multisport world.  There are girls who have seen me at my worst, a sweaty, dripping mess. Cranky that I have to run up that hill for what seems like the 100th time (but is probably only the 9th)… in tears when a session didn’t go as I planned…. wondering how much longer before I can stop… hearing me whinge and whine like a 2 year old who didn’t get ice-cream for dessert.  These girls have been by my side in some big lows and highs. They’ve cheered me on out on course, as well as in training. They have sung me up Mount Cootha to distract me from the fact I’m absolutely shattered and feel like I can’t turn the pedals one last time…. They have got up out of bed to run, ride or swim with me… the clock has even been known to start with a “3” so that I can do a long ride and a run before church. They have taken the time to ask “So Jen, how are you, and I mean REALLY?”  I love that I can build great relationships with those in my triathlon world.  Do I have the same belief system as all of them? Nope. Does it make an iota of difference to our friendship? Nope.  These guys know church is a priority for me (and happily schedule training with me early enough to attend!). If they want my opinion they will ask for it.  Otherwise, I just pray and always strive to be a good example. I want my love for my training buddies (just as much as my love for my colleagues, patients and other friends) to be reflective of God’s love for me.

My brother Pete, who has MND, suggested (perhaps jokingly but I’m holding him to it) that once he’s had his miracle and MND is no longer present in his body, that he’ll do a half ironman with me. So, in the meantime I’m going to keep training so I’m ready when he is!

So, as I journey through my life, and my multi-sport passion, my prayer is very much reflective of the Casting Crowns Song – “Love them like Jesus”.  In so many areas of life I don’t have the answers, but I believe my role in life is to walk beside others on their journeys, and just love them!

Casting Crowns: Love them like Jesus – Chorus:
Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers, to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them, and stay by their side

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