Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pressing On

In the past couple of weeks I've noticed that when I pull my running shoes out of the closet and step into training mode, my body is not the only thing that experiences change. Physical discipline always leads me to a more intimate bond with the Lord.

I signed up to run a 10k with the Mardis family on July 4th, so I figured now would be a great to time to start training. I love to run, but I've always been one to set limits for myself-assuming that my body could not possibly make it when the going gets tough. This time, I have no limits; only goals and expectations. I expect my mind to push my body and my body to endure on EVERY SINGLE run! I have a tendency to become easily discouraged in times when I am pushing myself to reach a goal. I often look around me and wonder why I can't just run 6 miles or why at the end of my first 3 mile run my body wanted to collapse. I am guilty of comparison and of doubt. But this time the the Lord used my circumstances to completely change my outlook on reaching my goals and expectations.

Just the other day I ran 2.5 miles, which doesn't sound like a lot, but I was only in week two of my training so my body was adjusting. This run was a cake walk until the last half mile. It was then that my legs began to feel heavy and my chest began to weaken. I also began to feel that doubt creep in. My mind told me that this pain was a sign of weakness, that I wasn't a runner, and that I should just give up if I can't even run this small distance free of pain. Then the Lord intervened with his word:

" Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13-14

These words are ones that I have heard repeatedly throughout my life. Church, camp, bible study, etc..., but in this context their impact somehow spread much deeper than the surface. Running is hard but LIFE is harder, and if I throw my hands in the air every time the world smacks me in the face then I am defeated and ultimately this defeat will stand firmly as a wall between me and my savior. In trusting the Lord with my heart, I have also promised perseverance. When I run I always visualize the pavement at least 10 steps ahead of me, and I have realized that in life I must do the same. It's easy to allow life's present circumstances to hinder my hope for the future, but I have vowed to keep my eyes on the path ahead; not looking back, but STRAINING forward.

Know that writing this is harder than it seems. I started writing this post two weeks ago and am now seeing how I have allowed life to leave me defeated. Today I took a long drive down a one lane country road. I was by myself, windows down, radio off, and I had no idea where I was. One thing I do know-God used this time to speak to me, to bring to light how life was bogging me down. On this drive he showed me freedom and made me vulnerable to who I am in HIM. For a short amount of time I was able to see far enough ahead to live in hope that God has great things planned for me. He doesn't need me but he is CHOOSING to use me every day for the rest of my life. Somehow I lost sight of this. I felt as if my days of impacting others for him were over....the ridiculousness of that is inexpressible.

This season in life is different from any other, and while I have never felt so stable I have also never felt such a strong desire for complacency. I praise my Lord that he has offered me a remedy for this toxic desire-perseverance. Keep pressing on.