Skip to main content

Step by Step...

A couple weekends ago I committed to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) which marks the farthest run I have ever completed by a long stretch. It was a strangely telling experience of much of my personality and the process of completing the race taught me a lesson or two along the way. 

The telling part of my personality is that I do much better when I am in community with people than when I am by myself. In this case, I would not have finished the race in nearly the time I did (1:56:06) had I not been running with Brian who was coaching me the whole way and cheering me along with his presence. I think anyone who runs (or doesn't run) will gladly admit to you that running in community is much more enjoyable than running by yourself. I will testify to that.

There were several times I wanted to stop. Specifically at mile 8 and 10, I could feel my legs really starting to weary themselves with the monotony of the repetitious movement of the run. As my legs told my brain that they were tired, my brain would have to answer back and tell them to keep running for 5 more miles, then 3, then 10 more minutes, until I finally reached the home stretch. 

There are times that we all want to stop--be it for comfort or boredom or selfishness or what have you--we don't like to put ourselves in an uncomfortable position and so we avoid those times when possible. (Romans 7). But if you cave into those desires and start "walking" or worse yet, stop altogether, you will notice a HUGE difference in your finish time. If anything, if we want to see better results, we should push forward and pick up our pace a little. The more momentum we gain, hopefully the harder it is to stop. (I trust that the parallels between actually running and spirituality remain relatively obvious). 

One last comparison that became immediately applicable, was with my thesis. I am constantly fighting this thing (or more accurately, putting it off). I keep telling myself that the next day I have nothing scheduled, I will dedicate the whole day to taking a big chunk out of it. 
Except that's not how you make progress on a big project.
You don't save for retirement by putting away $50,000 every couple years. You put a little in regularly and frequently, so that it just becomes part of your routine, and the money amasses itself over time. 
You don't lose weight all in one training session, but it is a faithful commitment to dieting and workout over time that yields results.
You don't write a thesis over a weekend, but read a little here, write a little there, and gradually complete each chapter. 
You don't finish a marathon in 13 minutes, or even an hour. You keep going, step by step, until you see the finish line roll into view. Then you can pick up your pace a little. 
And you don't train for a marathon all in the week leading up to it. You train little by little everyday until you build up the miles to do longer runs and then finally compete in the race.
And you don't develop a relationship with God through a week of camp, CIY, or other mountaintop experience. You dig into the word everyday. You worship Him at every opportunity. and you pray to Him without ceasing.

It's the little day to day disciplines that pay off with the greatest dividends. 
Selah.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Protesting ChristMass

During a meeting with several other Cincinnati area worship ministers last week we got to talking shop about Christmas/Christmas Eve services; who was doing them, who was not, how many and what time. I was intrigued (neither positive nor adverse reaction) to find that roughly a third of the churches represented were not having any kind of Christmas Day services, even though Christmas morning is a Sunday this year. Yet there was one leader (Reggie) who said that their church has a Christmas morning worship service every year regardless of whether it falls on a Sunday.

Initially this shocked me. How could this be? Why would this be? Why have a church service every Christmas? Why not stay home and eat cinnamon rolls and open presents like the rest of America? Reggie said many of the people who expect this from his congregation are not native North Americans. Initially Reggie was against the idea, but once he realized how many people from his congregation wanted to have a Christmas mornin…

Casting A Conscientious Vote

Here's the thing America: you nominated two terrible representatives for public office--one "Republican" and one Democrat. Both of their campaign managers have decided that the strongest approach to get elected is to basically claim "at least I'm not them." Both parties have released ad campaigns to bash the other candidate and both, I might argue, do so quite effectively.

Now that I have successfully been persuaded that I should vote for neither candidate (thanks to the other candidate), I am left wondering who there is left to vote for. Certainly there is some candidate who is both qualified as a politician and as a person of reasonable morals??

Enter the 3rd party system.
America was founded against a national party system (you can read about that here for an enlightening time). And yet it is this national party system that has allowed a Democratic convert like Donald Trump to represent the Republican party. Trump knew that the only way to have a shot at…

The Home School Game

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Our family has started a tradition of celebrating this day by opening gifts from our stockings on this day and remembering the historical figure of Nicholas, who was a humble and generous person. It is a wonderful compromise for our family backgrounds to both celebrate Santa Claus and at the same time keep Christ-mas about Christ. It has become a tradition I look forward to every year.

This year, we decided to add an element of teaching our children to be generous by choosing toys they want to give away to other girls and boys who are less fortunate than our children. Katie lined up two dozen toys they had not been playing with for some time now and laid them all out on a table. One by one, our kids examined the toys on the table and were instructed to pick out onetoy they wanted to keep for themselves. After each kid had picked out a toy to keep, they were told to go back through the toys and pick another toy they wanted to give away. It was heart-…