For months I trained my body to do what felt impossible: run 13.1 miles. On a rainy Saturday I woke up in Louisville to do just that. It was cold and crowded, but I did it. I ran past tall buildings and through a horse racing park, all 13.1 miles.
Then I didn’t run for a month. My legs were sore and done with the miles of relentless panting and pacing. Occasionally I would run, but only for a mile or so and then I would stop. It didn’t take too long until I was frustrated. Frustrated that my legs didn’t seem to want to go for long runs anymore and frustrated that stomach was still wanting to eat like a runner. When I left the country for three weeks I didn’t bring my running shoes. Day after day I walked.
There was one day in the twinkly yet smelly city of Paris when I walked 25 miles in one day. This was partly because I was lost and partly because I didn’t have much money to spend on metro tickets, but all the same my legs took me 25 miles. At some points during that day I wanted to stop. I got to the point where my legs were really feeling it and all I wanted to do was sit on the sidewalk and eat a hot baguette. But I kept going, even when I didn’t want to.
This morning I put my running shoes back on. I didn’t go 13.1 miles, but I went far and it felt good to have the feeling of wanting to quit yet not quitting. Then I remembered the real reason I started running a year ago.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
Over and over again I read Paul’s words, wanting to feel the finish line. I wasn’t running to say that I run or to drop a few pounds or to test my body’s limits, I was running toward Jesus, every step of the way.
Now I have the tangible feeling of crossing a finish line after a long 13.1 miles. However, I also have the tangible feeling of training for months, pushing myself just a bit further each time. It was hard work.
There are always days when I don’t want to run, physically or spiritually. It is like the infamous “wall” that marathoners hit. It feels like every bit of energy has already been spent and all you want to do is eat a stack of pancakes and sit on a big comfy couch. But, Jesus is still at the finish line waiting for you to cross it.
So I will keep running the race of faith. I will feed on His words and let my soul push itself just a bit further every time. When I would rather watch a movie or stare at a wall I will just remember the feeling of crossing the finish line. It is so worth the sore muscles.
I am still running.