"Running" My Race With Endurance Can Hurt!
I have started "running" again. I pass through this stage every few months. I start running, it hurts, I keep running for a bit, I taper off, and then, before I know it, I realize it has been weeks since I last ran. So I start “running” again.
I am not a runner by instinct- I have a love/hate relationship with the activity. But in an effort to maintain the health and energy level I currently enjoy, for as long as possible, I have once again strapped on my shoes and hit the road.
Well, first I went shopping for new and improved running shoes of course, because as any girl can tell you, there is nothing like a new pair of shoes to make something miserable seem more fun! Also, after I actually spend ridiculous amounts of hard-earned cash on a pair of shoes, the guilt alone is a motivator.
So I started "running." Why the " " around the word running?
I know too many friends and relations who run- no asterisks required. They clock their distances in miles and it sometimes takes two digits to reflect how far they ran. At one time. We are talking 5ks, 10ks, 1/2 marathons, even full marathons.
Me? Not so much. And since I am now 53, I am doubting my achievement of the ever running a marathon. I am nowhere close.
Realizing what their running looks like, I cannot in good conscience call my movement running. Not without asterisks. I have too much respect for my friends and family and what they can do. And too much envy.
I, instead, am "running." Other words exist that might more accurately describe what I do: shuffle, walk, drag my carcass, limp, stumble. There are more, but I want this to be a "G" rated blog. I have to be careful because running makes me want to cuss- and I don’t cuss.
The other day I was "running" (walking, shuffling, limping) when I passed some vultures on the side of the road cleaning up road kill. I became concerned that they were looking at me for an uncomfortably long time. Like maybe they were thinking it might be worth it to follow me, and see if I would drop.
Then, as I completed my run, the App I use to track distance congratulated me. They are just pre-recorded blips from athletes., but this one told me I was way ahead of people who had just sat on the couch. I was a "winner" because at least I got out there!
Gee. Thanks App. I think you are trying to encourage me, but why do I feel slightly offended?
"Running" for Jesus
As I struggle to regain anything that would resemble being "athletic" or "in shape" (requires asterisks too!), running verses pop out at me.
Ones like: Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. ~I Corinthians 9:24, NASB
Or there is: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1, NASB
So I run my spiritual race with endurance, even when it looks like "running." Even when God feels distance and change seems slow, I am supposed to keep going and keep believing. I might wonder if what I do is even worthwhile. Does it even matter? What am I accomplishing? Why not just give up? After all life can be hard and people can disappoint and things just might not turn out like I thought. At all.
That type of "running" is exactly what running with endurance looks like. If it was easy, it wouldn't require endurance. On the long course of life "running" my spiritual race that is set before me can look like shuffling, limping, or dragging my carcass along. It may not be pretty. The vultures of discouragement might observe me with anticipation. And I might think and wonder if this race is really worth it.
How do I keep "running"? WHY keep "running"???
Because to keep running is exactly what my Lord commanded me to do. Even if it is ugly, hard, pain-staking "running," I am called to continue. He didn't ask me to be an Olympic athlete in either the physical realm or in the spiritual realm.
He asked me to be an obedient daughter and servant to Him, my King.
He told me to get out there and run that race. So even when it feels like all I am doing is "running," (and quite possibly embarrassing myself), I need to keep going. Not because I can accomplish something, but because He. Told. Me. To.
So tomorrow I will strap on my cute new shoes and hit the road again- hopefully not from falling over face first, but in a more figurative sense. I will "run" past the vultures. I will shuffle past the barking dogs. I will limp up the hill.
And I will feebly lift my hands.
And I will praise my King.
And I will obey.
Until He calls me home.
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. ~I Corinthians 9:26,27, NASB