I went running again this morning, getting ready for the 5K that Ed and I are participating in at Annual Conference in June. This time I made it up to 2.4 miles!
Almost there – a 5K is 3.1 miles, so there’s just a little bit more to go. It took me 30 minutes to get that far, so I could also work on my speed a bit, too!
I had run a little back in high school. Not on a team or anything, but just with some friends for exercise and community. I stopped when I went to college, got married, started preaching – it just wasn’t as much of a priority any more.
So about 10 years ago when I noticed that I was putting on a little weight and wasn’t getting as much activity as I had been. I thought, “Why don’t I start running again?”
I started out with a simple goal – “I’ll just run a mile.” After about 2 blocks I was bent over wheezing! It wasn’t that easy anymore!
But I kept at it. The next time I went out, I was able to go 3 blocks before my breath ran out. Then I could go 5 blocks, but that time my calves hurt. Then I made it to half a mile, and my feet were sore.
It would have been easy to give up – but I began to notice that, each time, it was something different. I had overcome the previous problem!
Some might say, “It’s too hard – my body keeps trying to tell me to quit!” But what I heard was, “You’re getting better – you’re improving your lung capacity! Your calves are getting stronger! Your feet are developing the right kind of callouses!”
When life throws frustrations at you, what keeps you moving? It’s easy to give up, but it takes internal strength to continue on the path. Some might call it CHARACTER, some might call it WILL – but it is a choice. You and I CHOOSE to keep moving because of a value that we hold deep within. Eugene Peterson calls it, “A long obedience in the same direction.”
Will I win the 5k? Probably not. But that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m running this 5k for myself, for my health. I’m running it for the kids, and the Bishop’s Initiative on Poverty. I’m running it for our church, to hold up the values of keeping our bodies as temples to the Lord, in good shape and healthy.
What marathons/5k’s are you running? Whom are you wanting to influence with your character – your grandchildren? Your neighbors? Yourself?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1