…train yourself to be godly.
1 Timothy 4:7b
About 16 years ago, I decided to train for the San Francisco marathon. Everything I did was affected by this one goal: To finish 26.3 miles and to finish well. Even in the “small” things, I had an eye on this goal. I was training to be an endurance athlete. How I ate, what I did with my time, what I drank, even the clothes I wore–everything was affected by this goal. During that time, I even purchased a Timex Ironman watch. To this day, even though I don’t run any more, I use that watch.
What if I were to live with “Be Godly” as my one goal? What can I do to train myself to be godly? I wonder if I should be willing to adjust, change, and pursue this goal every bit as much (more, really) as I did the goal of finishing that marathon.
When we began this series, we gathered some supplies mentioned in this post. One of the things I suggested we would need would be a cell phone, watch, or other device with a minute timer on it that can be set to go off incrementally throughout the day.
Believe it or not, my wrist watch–which was so helpful for training for the marathon so long ago–is one of the most invaluable tools that I own in this training program! I know this may sound fanatical, but this is what I do. I set the repeating countdown timer on it. I can set it for every couple of hours or, as I do right now, for every 30 minutes. I have set it to beep every 20 minutes before.
The key, though, is what I *do* when the timer sounds it’s repeating “Beep!”.
First, I quickly touch any button on the watch which turns the beeping off.
Then…I…well…I pray. I know that sounds nutty. It is usually just a one-liner, silent, “arrow prayer.” This teaches–trains–my mind to think Godward thoughts throughout my day, to be aware of His presence all day long. It might be anything like this:
- “Hi, Lord. I love you.”
- “Lord, I want to know you as my Shield today.”
- “Lord, free me from self-pity.”
- “God, you are highly exalted!”
- “Open my eyes to see your gifts in this moment.”
- “Thank you for this (friend, family member, acquaintance, stranger) to whom I am speaking.”
Really, there are no limitations to how you can use this reminder. But what I have found is that it has trained me to be aware of my God’s presence throughout the day. Now, even when the timer doesn’t go off, I tend to “naturally” check in with the Lord throughout the day. My watch timer has trained me to practice experiencing God’s presence. He is here and I want to minimize the number of moments that I go during the day unaware of his loving care with me.
There are days when I am especially desperate for an awareness and reassurance of God’s presence. On those days, I may set the timer for every 20 minutes. It is a lifeline. He reminds me of his presence and I just breathe, “Thank you that you are the God who sees me…” and I rest in that for even a moment.
Even when I am with others, I typically can tap a button on my watch before the beep has sounded more than twice, so it isn’t as disruptive as you may think. When it *is* disruptive and people ask me what the timer is for, I can be honest! I can share with them that I am training my mind. True!
So, what do you think? Do you have (or can you get) a watch that beeps at increments that you set (or some watches beep on the hour if you set them for that)? Then just simply redirect your thoughts in that moment and thank God for his presence in your life. I would love to know if you try this or something like it and how it affects you.