I wish I was a runner.
I wish I were thin, in great shape, confident, and an overcomer of muscle cramps, blisters and the urge to quit while running a marathon. Wow! Wouldn't that be great…?
To overcome obstacles in the midst of a long race.
To work through the tough routine of training.
To endure muscle cramps and blisters to complete a goal!
I wish I had that endurance.
What does it take to run with endurance? Hebrews 12:1-3 says: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin which 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 the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Oh my. How many times have I lost heart recently?
How many times have I felt weary, drained, spent?
How many times have I let the "sin that so easily entangles" get the better of me? Plenty!
Usually, I have a bottomless pit of perseverance - so where did that jar of clay go?
How is it that I can focus on my problems, worries and concerns so much that I forget what Christ did for me on the Cross?
Have I ever run a race for such a long distance that I would continue until I finished - no matter what?
Have I ever thought about running a race that I would give up my life for another?
Have I ever considered sweating drops of blood for another?
Have I ever fixed my eyes so intently on Jesus that I don't fear the future?
Scott Peck wrote the book The Road Less Traveled years ago, and the very first line in his book says: "Life is difficult."
Life has to be difficult? Whaaat? Why not enjoyable, fun, wonderful?
Well, that's what you get once you realize that there are obstacles in this life and that life is a long race, not a fast sprint. Once you realize that there will be difficulties along the path, life is not nearly as difficult.
Yep! That's correct. Accept that LIFE IS DIFFICULT. And, simply acknowledge that there will be troubles, trials and difficulties in this life - then, it is not nearly as disconcerting.
Jesus said: "In this world, you WILL have tribulation." Seriously?
Did you sign up for tribulation? Trials along the way? Obstacles too difficult to manage on a human level? I didn't.
My rose-colored glasses made me think it would be enjoyable, fun, and wonderful. Purely Pollyanna-style!
But, guess what? Sometimes, life IS fun, wonderful, exhilarating.
However, there are and always will be roadblocks that crop up. Furnaces and air conditioners break. Cars need repairs. The washer and dryer need to be replaced after 18 years. Lawn mowers get tired and quit. Obstacles DO get in the way - hassles that repeat themselves until you want to quit. Remember our lovely computer technology? UGH! We baby boomers can't cut it some days. (Why can't technology be truly "intuitive" and guess what I am thinking? Haha!)
And, guess what else? Jesus said after the fact that there will be tribulation in this world: "Take Heart! I have overcome the world!!!" (John 16:33)
Whew. There IS a ripcord! There is a solution to our problems. God has given us a brain to use, to plan, to manage and to learn how to overcome these issues that make us want to quit. But, we also wear ourselves out before we realize we don't have to run on empty! There are ways to solve the debacles and hindrances along the way. There is help along the way. There is an answer to our dilemma. There are ways to overcome all the hassles that come our way. It's called surrender.
Stop fussing, stop fuming, stop becoming distraught! Stop and ask the Creator of the Universe to calm your fears. Ask Him to ease the pain. Ask Him to show you how to manage your money better. Ask Him where the next step should be on the job hunt. And, then, in your emptiness and exasperation, find a loving, caring, incredible Savior that wants to be your guide. Each day. Each step of the way.
Our race is to be run with perseverance and endurance, not on empty by ourselves. NOT in our own strength. Philippians 4:13 says: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." He's there, waiting to hear your voice. He's waiting to show you the way through the tribulation, through the trials, through the obstacles. We all hope that He will take away the cancer. Take away the heart attack. Take away the grief. Take away the fear.
But, listen to what He says: "Take heart! I have overcome the world!" He will walk every step of the way with you - through each frightening diagnosis, through each rough moment in a marriage, through each loss of a child, through each bankruptcy and through each and every doubt.
Is life magically wonderful at all times? Absolutely not. But it IS do-able and it CAN be enjoyable with the Savior at your side. Trust Him to help you run with endurance. Today.
Pam Spencer has always had an interest in Stress Management and graduated with her Master of Liberal Arts with an emphasis on Natural Health and Wellness from Baker University. Pam teaches Stress Management at the Women’s Employment Network in Kansas City, MO, and loves using her skills to help less fortunate women. She has taken her life experience, interpersonal and organizational skills from these stressful years and has developed a DeStress with Joy attitude and uses this philosophy in her approach to life. Pam has a passion to share this gift from God to teach others how to DeStress with Joy and live life to the fullest.