Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Just keep running, running, running!

Believe it or not there have been times in my life that I exercised regularly and actually enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, 6 years ago, at the age of 40 I actually jogged a 10K. That is 6.2 miles. GO ME! While I was training for that event I was running every day. Some days they were long runs and other days they were short runs, but I was faithful to hit the pavement. Until a few weeks ago I have not had much of an interest in running, well my boys call it waddle jogging, but alas it was moving faster than a walk. A few weeks ago I actually felt so out of shape and tired that I truly thought I would drop dead if I walked around the block, but I made an intentional decision to "get back in shape." I didn't say what shape, but I want my heart to be happy and healthy and I want to have energy and be able to do active things without being afraid of keeling over. So, on a Tuesday afternoon, I pulled out my running shoes, downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone and set out on a quest to love exercise again. Each day that I purposed in my heart to accomplish this goal I remembered why I loved it and I also was reminded of the things I needed to throw off. I can't exercise in a normal t-shirt. It is heavy and humid and weighs me down. I need dri-fit or sleeveless shirts. I also can't carry a bottle of water with me as I jog. It is a distraction. I need to listen to upbeat praise and worship music and sing along in order for my heart to be focused on Jesus and for my breathing to stay consistent as I sing. I had to throw things off and pick new things up as I went. Does this sound familiar? "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2 To run with perseverance means to keep going and keep doing something even when it is difficult, even when you can't do as much as you thought or the success you had hoped for is delayed, you keep going. Sometimes I set a goal of the next mailbox or the light pole up ahead, if I can run to that point I will walk for a few minutes. Then I set a new goal, but the key is to keep going. Have you every been there is your walk with Jesus? Maybe you look back at a time when you were excited about following Jesus, you walked closely with Him and you were seeing the results in the fruit of your life. Maybe you have become sluggish, lazy and feel out a shape spiritually and you need to fall in love with Jesus all over again. What do you do? You get up, you spend time in the word, you talk to Him, you sing praises to Him and you ask Him to fill you with His presence, but you don't give up. You set goals by looking at behaviors and thought processes in your life and you ask the Lord to help you meet those goals. "Lord, help me to love others the way you love without a critical spirit." "Lord, help me guard my tongue and only speak words that are pleasing to you." "Lord, help me to decrease so that you may increase." You throw off those things that you know will hinder your running towards Him. Throw off the negative attitude. Throw off the unforgiveness and anger. Set aside the people that are negative influences and run on the paths that encourage you to keep running towards Jesus. Maybe you have never even attempted to join the race. Maybe you have never been transformed by the power of Jesus. The first time I started running, people in my life started saying, "What are you doing? You look so good and seem to have so much energy." They noticed a difference. Maybe you have seen a difference in others, in the way they serve, in the way they love and in their attitude of constant joy and peace and you are wondering, "What have they done?" They have surrendered their lives to the forgiveness of Jesus and He has transformed them from the inside out. I never thought I would like running. It looked painful. I thought it was for those exercise nuts. I remember saying I wouldn't run unless someone was chasing me and then I ran. I tried it for myself and I loved it. Yes, I slowly got out of shape because I quit making it a priority in my day, but when I determined to run again, I remembered what I was missing and how great I felt. Tonight one of my boys said, "Mom, you seem to have more energy and you seem more alive. What's going on?" As happy as I was that he noticed and as honored as I was by his compliment, his earlier words of, "Mom, I don't know if you are getting wiser or if the older I get I am just more open to listen, but you share great wisdom with me and it makes so much sense." I want to be healthy and be able to walk up a flight of stairs without panting like my puppy, but more importantly, I want my children to see their mom pursuing Jesus with a tenacity and determination that never tires and never quits. I Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." 

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