(This is the first post of this new blog. I will be posting each Tuesday from now on.)
This is a photo of Emma, and me and our dog, Stanley after one of our recent morning runs. I haven’t often made New Year’s resolutions in the past, but this year Emma and I decided that we needed to use the start of 2015 as the reason to begin our trek back into the happy world of being healthy. Since leaving Chicago in June, we have reentered the wonderful land of sweet tea, Mexican food, and chicken fried everything, which has left us using new belt holes in the wrong direction. As such, we decided that it was finally time to suck it up and get to work.
Emma is a runner and enjoys jogging. I, on the other hand, have led my life believing that unless something is chasing you, there is never a time when running is necessary. But I knew that running is what it would take to keep from becoming too much of a fatty, so I begrudgingly agreed to go running with Emma.
Well in order to do this with any longevity, I needed to trick myself by pretending that this is a game of some sort. So we challenged ourselves to run 215 miles in 2015. As of today we have run ten miles, and we are very proud of ourselves. We have been taking Stanley with us, and he is not the best running partner, but he’s getting better. He doesn’t so much understand the concept of running straight and not chasing every squirrel or person or dog or leaf or shadow or figment of his imagination. It’s a work in progress.
Hebrews 12 begins with a very well known verse. It says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” – Hebrews 12:1 (NRSV)
Before we started running a few weeks ago, I used to think of perseverance as what you needed the most at the end of the workout; the perseverance to get through the final lap, the final set, to make it to the finish line. But now that we have been running more regularly, I think the hardest part of perseverance is right when the alarm clock starts beeping in the morning. When you’re out on the run, finishing that final lap is a very near and attainable goal. You are about to be done, so it’s easier to find that strength to finish. But when you’re lying there, wrapped in the warm covers, surrounded by the soft embrace of God’s love and feather pillows; that’s when you really need perseverance. The snooze button is a mighty adversary.
The only way that I am able to go running is because I have Emma (and Stanley) to run with me. Emma gets up and drags me out of bed most days, but there are some days when I feel ready to run and I have to drag her out of bed. If all else fails, Stanley is ALWAYS ready for a run. We are able to do this because we do it together, and I believe that this is also how our faith works.
Most people remember the part of this Hebrews passage that talks about running the race with perseverance, but few remember the way it begins. It starts by saying, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” Even in this passage, we can only persevere because there are so many of us working together. We are one in the Body of Christ, and we aren’t meant to do any of this alone.
I still hate running, but I’m starting to love the experience of spending regular time out in nature with my family. All of us get so exhausted by life’s struggles at times that it feels like we’re running for our lives, but if we are to run this race with perseverance, I think it’s better to run together.
Have a wonderful week my friends,