Walking with faith is like learning to run.
When I first began running, I was super gung-ho about it. After my first run, I went out and bought new running shoes, shorts, shirts, and sports bras. I downloaded Runkeeper to keep track of all of my workouts. I even woke up early some mornings to run, and it felt GREAT!
You know what, though? That first run was a little rough, and it’s not like I just got up that day and decided to run. Thing after thing went wrong that day, and by the time I made it back home I was done with the world. I needed to release all that negative energy that was built up inside me, so I ran inside, got ready, and took off to campus. Between my walk there and back and my run around the Drillfield, I put in over 5 miles of work.
I tried to run 2.5 straight laps around the Drillfield, but my body just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t used to that strain. At that point, I don’t think I had really run for any length of time since I broke my femur back in 2009. Despite the pain and the struggle of getting my feet about me, the run felt good, and it made me want to keep running forever.
At first, I kept up. I woke up early at the beach to run I’d go run on the track at home. I even found a couple good routes around town…
But then, life got in the way.
First, I wanted to sleep in. Then, it was too hot in the afternoon. Then, my normal run spots just weren’t convenient enough (or available at all thanks to construction). Just like that, I stopped running. The ease of my running had run out, and I just wasn’t willing to put myself at the necessary inconvenience to keep it up.
I kept telling myself,
“I’ll do better tomorrow.”
Of course, I’d say the same thing when tomorrow came, and then the next thing I knew, I stopped saying it at all because I knew I wasn’t going to do it.
That wasn’t the end of my running, though. The other day, I felt like running, so I did. I went on a 2 mile run with a friend, and it felt so easy. I wanted to keep running even after my friend couldn’t anymore. The ease of running had returned! My muscles only only hated me a little bit, and my mindset made up for the pain. I was ecstatic!
Then, I tried to run again a couple days later, but, as excited as I was to go, my body didn’t support the idea. I went, but it wasn’t nearly as easy:
I only ran 0.75 miles of my 2 miles run because I couldn’t get my breathing together and everything hurt. You know why?
Because my body was awoken to the new movement during that first run! It was relearning how to build those muscles and increase my endurance.
Even though that first run last week was easy, the next several from here on out – so long as I keep it up, of course – will be a lot more difficult, at least for a while. Building muscle and endurance takes time, effort, and sacrifice. It’s not easy, it’s not always relaxing, but it is worth it in the end. The endorphins and satisfaction I feel Post-run are more than worth the pain and effort I put in to the run, not the mention how much better my body feel as time goes by.
FAITH is the same way!
The first big step into faith is a little rough as you face all the stuff you have to release to God and ask for salvation, but then you experience the same post-run high when the weight of sin is first lifted from you. You have new life, and you are so sure you are going to do all these amazing things, and life is going to be so much easier!
Prayer dwindles. Reading your Bible happens less and less. You barely consider your faith when you act throughout the day.
All of a sudden, you seem too busy to spend time going to church, reading the Word, or talking with God at all. You have too much to do, you don’t have a quiet enough place to focus like you “know” you need to – ANY excuse you can think of works.
And – just like that –
you stop pursuing your faith walk. It hasn’t ended, but you’ve wandered off the path –
you’ve paused your workout with God.
One day, something happens, and you rediscover your passion, so you become rededicated to your faith walk, and you start running again! You feel great! It’s easy! It’s even better than you remember it being! WHY DID I EVER STOP?
Then, you do it again, start trying to build a routine… but this time isn’t so easy. It kind of hurts. What happened?
Well, just like with running, you’ve just awoken all parts of yourself that needs to relearn its proper movements and needs to rebuild endurance. The more you push through and press on through whatever pain or whatever obstacle makes you want to stop and give up, the easier everything will become and the longer and farther you’ll be able to go.
Our journey with God is a race we were called to run with endurance! Keep the faith, keep striving, and don’t give up! Your better is coming, but you have to work to reach it!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2