Train Insane or Remain the Same!

Train Insane or Remain the Same!

Special guest writer, Kris Crouch, on her inspiring approach to the training of body and spirit …

I lift weights. I run. Both are painful habits. However, my commitment to increase my strength and endurance demands that I make sacrifices. I willingly take on what challenges me knowing that suffering and aches and pains lie ahead.

I am a practicing Catholic. I adhere and submit to ALL the teachings of the Church. I find myself carrying a load many others say is too heavy and running a course filled with steep hills others say are impossible to climb. If I stumble … I confess, I repent, I beg for grace to change. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It too is a tough workout.

Running and lifting might be considered odd for a 41 year old mother of 8. But these peculiar habits of mine have brought me some invaluable instructions on living and growing in the Catholic Faith. I’ve learned there really is no difference between the approach I must take in the training of my body and the training of my spirit. They are the same. This is the kind of strength that needs to be restored in our culture. We really have gone soft. And I am NOT talking about being out of shape or obese.

Over the years I’ve had many ups and downs physically. I’d be stronger than ever, running high mileage and then pregnancy would force me to stop. I would find myself backsliding down the mountain I’d just climbed. Time and again I have found myself with a newborn and the overwhelming task of rebuilding my strength and mileage. I’d head back out on the road choosing to make each painful step a sacrifice and a prayer.

As my faith and my training merged I learned quickly how perseverance pays off in both. I am certainly not the fastest or the strongest, nor the holiest or the most pious woman. But darn it I am not a quitter. And that’s made all the difference.

As a Catholic I am called to commit myself, my whole self to my faith. “It’s not a religion for wimps” it’s been said. Lucky for me I relish a challenge and I like to be pushed. Living out your Catholic faith in today’s world is a challenge. But it can be done. You don’t need any special qualities or some sort of natural saintly disposition. You just need grit, determination and grace, lots of grace.

As I lift I often think of Jesus lifting His cross onto His shoulders. When I run I contemplate the words of Saint Paul “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) Most people choose the sidelines, to lighten their loads, avoid the hills, turn away from that mountain climb. They tell us to stop, relax. They say we are strong enough as we are.

I block that out in my workouts – the voices that say “Quit!”  I block them out too as I pray for the graces I need to persevere in the climb towards Jesus.

The words of Saint Cyprian are like a pre-game pep talk or a rallying speech before battle. Read them and then go out there and train insane!

What toil we must endure, what fatigue,

while we are attempting to climb hills

and the summits of mountains!

What, that we may ascend to heaven!

If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is less.

Immortality is given to the one who perseveres;

everlasting life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.

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