Wednesday, November 2, 2011

‘The Runner’s Devotional: Inspiration and Motivation for Life’s Journey…On And Off the Road’ by Dana Niesluchowski and Dave Veerman – Book Review

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My husband, Fred, and I have been participating in marathons and half marathons since our first, the Cleveland Marathon, in May 2008. So when I learned about ‘The Runner’s Devotional: Inspiration and Motivation for Life’s Journey…On And Off the Road’, I was on board with that!

Here is the synopsis of this book:

Find inspiration and meaning while excelling at the sport of running! Ever wonder if your running has a purpose and how it connects to your relationship with God? The Runner’s Devotional will inspire you in your faith while encouraging you to excel in the sport you love! This book is for runners of all levels – casual and avid, competitive and recreational – who wants to improve their running skills, attain personal running goals, and grow in their faith.

·         Weekly devotional readings to keep you motivated and inspired
·         Personal stories of faith, challenge, and victory
·         Scripture explanation to help you apply the Bible to running and your life
·         Health and fitness tips
·         Weekly runner’s logs
·         Race training schedules for 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon
·         Journaling pages

Here are the biographies of the authors:

Dana Niesluchowski competed in soccer, swimming, basketball, softball, and more. She loves all sports and is an avid runner, having successfully competed in several races, including a triathlon and a marathon. Dana received a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Wheaton College and a master’s in Exercise Physiology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. At the Livingstone Corporation (a company that partners with Christian publishers to produce Bibles, books, Bible studies, curricula, and other resources). Dana managed and contributed to many resources, including The LegacyBible, Lose It for Life, and iStand – the Power of Courageous Choices. Recently, she and her dad, Dave Veerman, coauthored the Sports Trivia Devotional. Dana, her husband, Walter, and young son, Edmund, live in Oswego, Illinois.

Dan Veerman played high school basketball and football and college football. Since then, he has finished six marathons. A graduate of Wheaton College (B.A.) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.Div.), Dave has written sixty-five books, including Parenting Passages, How toApply the Bible, Letting Them Go, One Year Through the Bible, and If I Knew Then What I Know Now. He also served as a senior editor of the Life Application Study Bible and StudentLife Application Study Bible. The father of two athletic daughters (Dana and Kara) and a founding partner of the Livingstone Corporation, Dave and his wife, Gail, live in Naperville, Illinois.

I am going to focus on a couple chapters. The first is Week 3, ‘Create a Goal.’ Each chapter includes ‘My Story.’ The story in this chapter is from Christy Wong, who is in the Publicity Department at Tyndale Publishers, this book’s publisher. She made the point that the discipline involved in training and racing has spiritual implications. She wrote about the successful completion of the Chicago Fleet Feet SuperSprint Triathlon (375 meter swim/6.1 mile bike/1.55 mile run):

I’d never really trained for anything like this before, and I took it very seriously. On many days, I’d have to get up super early to work out before work, then come home and do another workout. Swimming, biking, and running became my life in addition to an already busy schedule. After I completed the race and had that finisher’s medal in my hands, I thought about all the discipline I put into training for the event. How could I be so disciplined to wake up early to swim or run, but when it came to waking up early to read my Bible or spend time with God, I just couldn’t do it? The realization convicted me, and I knew I had to change my priorities.
The ultimate race I need to run has spiritual implications. If I want to finish the race God has called me to, then I need to be disciplined in my training for that race by spending time in prayer, reading my Bible, living a life to serve the Lord, etc. In the end, it won’t matter how many miles I’ve run, how many personal records I’ve set, or how many miles I’ve completed. Only one race matters. So I’ll be training, because that’s the race I want to finish well. (pp. 16-17)

Wow, that certainly puts things in perspective!

Week 13’s chapter is entitled ‘Just Do It.’ It follows the important point made by Christy:

You know what happens when you haven’t run in a while – you get out of shape. In fact, before long you can feel sluggish and may even begin to add a few unwanted pounds. To stay in shape spiritually, we need regular “workouts” where we exercise our faith and nourish our souls. You have a plan and you’ve built a routine – make no excuses.
“My brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Just do it! (p. 77)

I admit I can find a millions reasons not to work out, and I succumb to those excuses more often that I care to admit. So I appreciate having the encouraging words found in this book.

Week 47 focuses on the topic, ‘Give Encouragement:’

In running, being an encourager can start when someone begins to consider becoming a “runner.” Many runners say they entered the sport at the urging of a friend and that the two friends held each other accountable for keeping to a regular running schedule. And many runners have running partners, friends who meet at the park to run a trail or at the fitness center to run around the track or neighbors who meet up and run through the neighborhood. The runs become social events. (p. 295)

I happen to have a running partner, and I can say without question that both of us would be less inclined to get out there if the other person was not there for us.

Week 51 encourages us to ‘Finish Strong:’

During any long-distance run, especially when we feel exhausted and in pain, one of the most important decisions we can make is to look forward, to think of what lies ahead – the finish. For some, that means winning a prize or achieving a personal record. For others, the prospect of seeing loved ones waiting for them and cheering them on is all they need. And for all, finishing well is a great achievement. (p. 321)

I have a good friend, Nancy, who is an elite marathon runner. When I feel tired and want to stop, her words go through my mind – “You can rest when it’s over!” Those words have helped me time and time again!

The authors again equate finishing strong with life in general:

Every day the finish line of life gets closer. Knowing that your race will soon end and that rest, reunions, and rejoicing await you should encourage and motivate you now, on every step of your journey. (p. 323)

It is awesome how the authors, Dana and Dave, equate so many aspects of running to the race of our Christian life. I intend to reference this inspirational and encouraging book time and time again when I get weary in the game of running and the game of life.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Tyndale House Publishers and provided by them for review purposes.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Blessings and prayers,

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