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A couple of weeks ago I was flying from Spokane, Washington to Las Vegas and started making small talk with the guy next to me. It turns out that his name is Toby Schwartz and he is the head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach at Whitworth University in Spokane. Right off the bat I like this guys attitude. He is one of those engaging people that get you motivated and after a few minutes in their presence you are ready to kick some butt. We talk about various aspects of his program at Whitworth and I am hooked when he tells me the following "Motto" that they have for their program. The motto of our program is "PERFECT". This motto comes from Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, therefore, as our heavenly Father is perfect." When God refers to "perfection", He is referring to "completeness" and "maturity". God is fully complete, lacking nothing. God desires the same for us. God desires us to strive to reach our full potential. The problem that we all have with this concept of perfect is twofold: 1) We misinterpret that word "perfect" to mean flawlessness, and flawlessness is an unobtainable goal. We make mistakes and always will. We desire to make fewer mistakes, but we will always error. 2) We misinterpret perfection to be a goal or the goal. God intends for us to see perfection as a means to the end result. Perfection is not the finish line. Perfection is every step we take in the race toward that line. Humans are typically “product oriented”. American humans, even more so, are focused on the end product or result than most societies. We want “it” and we “want it now” and we don’t necessarily care “how we get it.” God, however, is a “process oriented” God. He is much more concerned with the “how” than he is with the “what”. God cares about the manner in which life is lived, much more than the end result alone. God sees the end result as a compilation of the appropriate process. God has always put more value on the procedure than the outcome alone. If He only cared about the outcome, eternal life would be all that existed and this world would be obsolete. Birth-Life-Death-Eternal Life. If the product (eternal life) was all that mattered, “life”, and “death” for that matter, could be eliminated from the equation and we could be born directly into Eternal Life. Cut out the middle man and save us some time. As competitive runners, we tend to get caught up entirely on the outcome. Time? Place? Position on the team? Who did I beat or who beat me? We race maybe eight times a season and our entire self worth is predicated on those eight Saturdays. We practice nearly ten times that amount and yet the practices have less value or worth than the meet. Furthermore, practice only makes up about five-percent of an average day and yet that practice has more value than the other 22 hours of eating, sleeping, studying, thinking, worrying, praying, and other activities that can either help or hinder the process and ultimately impact the product. 24 hours in a day. Seven days in a week. Twelve weeks in a season. Three months in the summer. About 138 days of practice. Over 450 meals. Approximately 161 nights of sleep. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the items that make up the process during the summer and fall. The product … somewhere between 22-27 minutes of racing. Is it not reasonable or even common sense, that the process should have a higher priority than the product? The product should simply be viewed as a result of the proper process. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave ….” NIV. Toby has a functional fitness dvd that he put together that is a unique workout that takes exercises from various fitness disciplines and assembles them in a variety of routines that may be utilized by a wide range of people who desire to participate in any athletic or recreational endeavor. I of course requested a copy and I am looking forward to reviewing and if it's as great as I am expecting it to be based on my two hour converstation with Toby will offering it on my site shortly. Toby has also been gracious enough to say that he would share some of the articles that he shares with his teams with me so that I can share them here.