"12 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"
I am a runner.
I just started running ehhhh about a couple months ago. This is quite an accomplishment for me, because I used to be vehemently against running. Not that I didn't like it, but that I felt I could never be a runner. It was too hard, took too much effort, and I was lazy. But one day I snapped, and I put on my tennis shoes, ran the 1/2 mile around my block, and thought I was going to die on the side of the road. But for whatever reason I kept going. Now 25 runs and 71.4 miles later, I am a runner. I run at least 3 times a week, and average about 4-5 miles per trip. [[Who would have ever thought I would be posting about running??]]
There is something in particular though that strikes me every time I run. Without fail, the first mile or two are torturous. Absolutely brutal. My body is cramping, my lungs are struggling to keep up with how much oxygen I need, and through the music in my headphones, I hear my mind telling me to give up, stop running, this is too hard, you can't do it, it's not worth it. And oh man, do I want to stop running. But, being the crazy Catholic that I am, I spiritualize everything. And as I am running and fighting with myself, I think about our spiritual lives. How often on our paths to purification do we want to give up because it is too hard? How often do we want to just listen to our bodies and let them dictate our actions? Allowing the Lord to heal our brokenness can be scary and painful. Being a Christian is hard sometimes. It may seem easier to just give in to temptation. The devil is constantly whispering give up, stop trying, this is too hard, you can't do it, it's not worth it. But it is so worth it. Because once you get passed the initial hurdles, it is smooth sailing. The endorphins kick in, your breathing finally regulates itself, your muscles are no longer tense, and you are flying down the pavement with the wind hitting your face, and you feel free. Once you allow the Lord to begin healing you and taking control of your life, once you give everything over to Him, only then can freedom be found.
So when it gets tough, ask Jesus to run with you. Ask Him to hold your hand and pull you through. And if you need Him to, I bet He would be even willing to carry you. (Trust me, He has had a lot of practice). Yes it may be hard, yes it may hurt, but if life is a race and Heaven is the finish line, I want to be sprinting full speed ahead, not stopping, not giving up, keeping my eyes fixed on the prize set before me, throwing aside all sin that might hinder me, and running with perseverance the race that is marked out for us.