Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Too much fitness messing with Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

This Psalm couldn’t be more famous and familiar and associated with much more – in the way of peace, hope, safety and all kinds of calm and positive things.

I was reading it this week and found that all the fitness training I have been doing for the past two and a half years has given the words in Psalm 23 a kind of parallel reading in my mind.

Maybe it is because I spend so much time out of doors these days; when I visualize the imagery in this psalm, it is now all based on real places rather than idealized backdrops in my imagination that used to accompany the words.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures”.

At training, we actually do lie down in green pastures. But it’s never all we do. If we lie down it is usually because we are about to do an abs blast of some sort, or we are doing sprawls or get-ups or we have actually collapsed or we are doing the plank. But still, we do lie down on the grass.

“he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”

Again, we do run beside waters – sometimes quiet but sometimes fast flowing – often we climb stairs at a waterfall and hear it roar. Occasionally we go through water, across a burn or through a shallow river – and it is certainly refreshing!

“He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.”

There are paths and trails and all kinds of terrain. You need to take care with your footing because of roots and ruts and divots and holes – and you need to keep up on the “right paths” so that you don’t miss a turning or a warning.

“Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil”

Walking through a valley to me used to involve an image of me walking on a straight, flat path while two slopes went up on either side. When we train in the valley we run up and down and round and down and up again – walking through the darkest valley in my mind now involves a lot of hills. It also make me think of an event I am hoping to do in a couple of weeks which is a notional 10k up a hill in the dark. Headtorches at the ready!

“for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”

The speaker in the Psalm, although he has peaceful places to be and traumatic places to be, he is never alone.

I think when we are out training that I get the most out of it when I listen well and follow the instructions and ignore the inner voice that looks for shortcuts and ways to skip challenges. I love the variety of natural landscapes that there are – even within tiny geographical areas, and I love throwing myself through it to see if I can.

At the end of a brutal session, or after a major event, there is always time to rest, reflect and EAT. So too with this Psalm:

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

You get the sense that the Psalmist is at peace and is fulfilled. He is being served and feels a fullness his “cup overflows” because the Lord is his shepherd.

Just as he has followed the instructions to lie down in the green pastures and stick to the paths – following the shepherd – now he has two things following him in turn. “… goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life”.

By following the shepherd, he is followed by goodness and love.

The psalmist experiences joy in the outdoors – albeit metaphorically and peacefully! The parallel with training doesn’t quite work for this Psalm as the high octane endorphin kick doesn’t happen for the Psalmist, but I am happy to have a new way to look at this ancient familiar passage.

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

One thought on “Too much fitness messing with Psalm 23

  1. I can’t think of a better motivational and affirmational companion during all of your trainings. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: