A few weeks ago, an old workout friend asked me if I’d join him and a few buddies running the Boston Marathon in April 2022. There’s nothing better than a few guy friends getting together to conquer a tough challenge like a marathon. There’s bonding, camaraderie; it’s awesome.
I wanted to give an immediate “yes”, but a little voice in my head was waving a red flag.
It became clear to me that whilst marathons in themselves aren’t inherently bad, and are phenomenally good for health and fitness, my particular circumstances meant doing it would’ve involved big sacrifice on my time. For me, the training required would’ve impacted heavily on my kids, my wife, my job, my overall engagement and focus at home. Let alone travelling to Boston with all the uncertainty that’s currently associated with international travel.
It reminded me of how a good thing – the pursuit of a personal goal like health and fitness – can become a bad thing if it becomes all-consuming and self-serving, and for the benefit of nobody other than oneself.
When certain pursuits in your life become idols, they can become harmful. The mitigation is to have a strong “Why?” and for the answer to that “Why?” question to be “serving the Me next to me”, i.e. others around me.
All good things can become bad. Sharpening and improving oneself should be in order to be a blessing on those around us, not just in and for ourselves.