|Photo by AP|
Years ago I ran the White Rock Marathon in Dallas. I did it primarily to prove to myself that I could. Over the years I have continued to run off and on. Mostly off.
About a year ago I decided to start back. We had just moved to Parkville, MO and joined the local YMCA. For Fern and me, being members of the YMCA is almost like being members of our local church.
When I started running again, the first weeks I could hardly make a mile without stopping. Overweight and out of shape is not a place I wanted to be.
So I ran my mile, skipped a day and did another. Then, I pressed it to three; then to five. Knowing that if I repeat something 21 times in a row it would become a habit, I ran my five miles three times a week for seven straight weeks. Next, I kicked it to six for a few weeks. Now I am at eight miles a run. I will probably lock this in for (Lord willing) 21 straight days. I want it to become a habit.
Now, what does this have to do with life? Here are three lessons:
1. Running is a metaphor for living the Christian life. It takes making a decision to engage, and to press on. It is a discipline which requires training. We keep at it consistently and deliberately.
2. The long distance is built on the ability to run short distances. Milk precedes meet. Endurance comes through the training. No one accomplishes the distance without first starting with the short and building up.
3. You choose what you will do or not do. My Uncle Ralph (missionary with The China International Mission) was fond of quoting the old Chinese proverb, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So start!
As a rule of thumb, we are in as good physical condition as we want to be. And we are as close to God as we want to be. It’s up to us. What do you want?