My one word – train

Who loves training for a marathon? Not me.

Elite athletes at the London Paralympics 2012.

Elite athletes at the London Paralympics 2012.

But that’s my word for the year (see my other posts on this movement) – train, with the accompanying verse is 2 Timothy 3:16 (about Scripture being God-breathed and useful for training in righteousness). Not exactly the word I was looking for in January, but it kept popping up in my mind, demanding to be heard. Is that from you, Lord? Okay, I’ll accept your gifts. The gift of training. Um, is that really a gift?

Last year, in contrast, I had the rather lovely word flourish, with Isaiah 55:10-11 as the accompanying verse (about the word of God bringing about the flourishing of his people and earth). I don’t know about you, but flourish seems a rather more fun word than train.

For training seems like hard work, marathon or not. (Not.) Sacrifice and graft. Saying no, no, no. Focusing down. But how can we flourish if we don’t train? How can we become the people God wants us to be if we don’t curb our tongues (against false words or too much indulgence or…) or practice our skills or share our gifts?

I’m seeing more and more how flourish and train go hand in hand.

When I first sensed that train was my word for the year, I immediately applied it to my writing life. That first longed-for book, I thought, I’ll have to train to write it and get it done. But of course my vision is too small, and the word doesn’t apply just to that first book, but to the whole of life.

Nearing the finish line, the result of many hours of training.

Nearing the finish line, the result of many hours of training.

Who can I become if I train my tongue? One who brings life or death?

Who can I become if I train my body? One fit, able to run the race, or one easily winded?

Who can I become if I train my mind? One who thinks and explores and delves into the riches of God’s wisdom and world or one who atrophies, settling on past revelations and understanding?

Who can I become if I train my emotions? One thrown by the latest wind or fashion or crisis, or one anchored in the truths of God and of his love?

Who can I become if I train my heart? One who loves or one who doesn’t? And not just my family, but can I love people online (that pesky irritant who keeps spamming me), the young mother struggling with feeding her babe, the older gentleman at church who finds walking difficult, the person next to me on the Tube, those whom I come into contact with professionally?

And so on, and so on.

How about you? What comes to mind when you think of the word train? (Thanks in advance to those who restrain from the cheeky responses about wheels and engines and Thomas the Tank Engine.)

2 Responses

  1. For some reason, I am thinking of that other use of the word train, in horticulture. You train a vine to grow in a certain direction, pinning it where it doesn’t naturally go, so that it begins to grow in a different direction. I can definitely relate to this as a metaphor. Maybe I’ll hang onto that as a blog post!

    1. Oh, thanks for reminding me of this meaning, Tanya. I keep forgetting it, and the tension between being trained and applying our hard graft in training is an interesting one. I think with my heritage of hardworking parents (who both grew up on farms, and are the grandchildren of immigrants), I naturally gravitate toward the latter of the two meanings. But the former – ah, so much of the Christian life revolves around our submitting to God’s loving molding of us – sometimes in a direction we think we don’t want to go in. Thank you.

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