I usually really look forward to training, however, I'm a minimalist. Over 14 yrs. of competing in triathlons, I've usually tried to bike, run and swim two times each per week and take one day off. That's only 6 workouts, though I usually try to lift some weights and work on my core twice a week as well. Compared to the training plans of most triathletes, this isn't much. But, it keeps me fresh and looking forward to my next workout, and, it's all I have time for.
However...training through a Phoenix summer is...well...tough. It's so hot that the only time you can get most workouts in is very early in the morning. Everyone in my house is a night owl...except me. That alarm goes off pretty early some mornings. What gets me up when it feels like a chore? A goal. Much of the time I train just because I love training, but there are those times that the only thing that keep me putting in those miles is a goal. A date. Sept. 2. I'll be meeting up with my teammates on Team USA in Hamburg, putting on my USA uniform (which, is very cool looking by the way) and going head to head against the best old dude triathletes in the world in a 32 mile race. Canada, Hungry, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, etc., will be putting their best on the line. I'll be there too.
So, training is a joy most of the time, but when it's a chore I am still motivated because I have a date...going to spend some time with some old dudes...50somethings...and I'm not planning on picking up the bill.
The spiritual race / journey we're in feels the same sometimes. A joy? Yes, most of the time. Fulfilling, meaningful, filled with purpose and destiny? Yes! Sometimes though, doing what is right in my spiritual training feels...well, like a chore. But, I've got a date. I don't know the day or month or year, but I've got a date - a day where I'll see the Lord and present to Him my life. I only have this life to develop that which I'll present to Him. The Apostle Paul, several times in his writings, challenges us to think and live like an athlete. So in your spiritual race, train hard whether it feels joyful or, at times, like a chore. You are molding and shaping your heart and life into something that will bring glory to God here on the earth and, something worth presenting to Him when you see Him face to face. We both have THAT date somewhere on our calendars.