“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
This past summer I started running on a regular basis and this next week I am running the Cougar Dash at Colorado Christian University. I started running specifically to improve my cardio for Jiu Jitsu tournaments. The truth is I have always hated running, but over the last several months it has grown on my. I now run 4 to 5 days a week and occasionally I will run 6 days.
The truth is I have a mental battle almost every time I go running. I like the idea of running more than actually running. I dread starting my runs and quite often during the run I want to quit and walk home. The temptation is significant. The truth is, I'm kind of lazy. If you talk to people who know me many would probably say I am a really disciplined person. That is only partly true; I am disciplined with certain things and struggle with others. I suspect that is the case for most people. For years I thought running was something I should do, but I always had excuses and some of them seemed pretty legit. My knees hurt and they hurt a lot more when I was 250 lbs. If I ran a mile I would be sore for a week. I had all kinds of excuses. My newest one is weather, it's getting too cold. The truth is I have tendencies towards laziness and I just think it's too hard.
When I go on my runs I don't get some euphoric high. I do enjoy the time unplugging from the world while I run and listen to music, but a lot of the time I want to just give in and go home after a couple miles. On my long runs (5-7 miles) this can happen multiple times on a run. I have learned to push through the temptation to quit when my knees hurt and my legs are sore. Sometimes I have pain before I even start my runs. I don't want to make it sound any worse than it is, but it does happen. The answer is simple, go anyway. Don't quit. Success breeds success. When I push through once, the next time it is a little easier. When I make my last mile my best mile (that doesn't always happen) the next time I can run a little further.
It's never how you start, but how you finish. The author of Hebrews reminds us, "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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith" (Heb. 12:1-2). Of course that is talking about our spiritual life, but the principle holds true in all aspects of life. When I run with perseverance, it impacts the other areas of my life. I develop a discipline of perseverance that serves me in my work, in my relationships, and in other endeavors.
In Proverbs 10:4 it says, "Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth." My greatest fear is not that I am too busy or that I will have too much going on in my life, but that I will become lazy and idle. Running has been good for my soul and my discipline. Tomorrow I go run, it's likely going to be cold, but I will go anyway. I will not fade away into laziness, I will discipline my body, my mind, and my soul and in so doing, honor God in all that I do (1 Cor. 10:31).
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.