Friday, April 15, 2011

Run Harder!

A friend told me to go read Love.Serve.Shine's Daily Bread today & it really, really spoke to me so I wanted to share (I hope to share a little bit more about WHY it spoke to me so much tomorrow)...

Colossians 1:11 – We also pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light.

One of my closest girlfriends says that God speaks to her in the tub. When she’s wrestling with something, she locks herself in, draws a hot bath, and just soaks. Perhaps it’s because she’s so relaxed, perhaps it’s the quiet, but regardless, that is where she best hears the voice of the Holy Spirit.

God speaks to me when I run. Anytime I’m feeling worried, anxious, or off, I’ll strap on my shoes and hit the pavement. No headphones. No particular destination; just me and the road. After about two miles or so I’ll usually start to get a sense of what I need to do.

Wednesday was as close to a perfect spring day that you’ll ever get in North Texas; Sunshine, low-80s and light wind. So when the kids and I had finished our errands, we loaded up the stroller and off we went.

We ran our usual route then hit our usual park. The kids played while I caught my breath and soaked up the sun. After an hour or so, we headed home.

Should I run or walk, I asked myself. The kids were hungry and so was I, so I sped up.

The wind had strengthened significantly, and it was an up-hill road all the way back. Just as I was about to slow down, I heard Him. “Run harder,” He whispered.

With those two words, I instantly saw the metaphor. When you hit a hill in life, keep climbing. When the wind is against you, keep going. When life tries to slow you down, run harder.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

My love affair for running started my senior year in high school, when I went out for the track team. My dad, also a runner (10 marathons under his belt), would often tell me, “You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone, Rebecca! If you’re not hurting, you’re not working.”

Our coach pushed us ruthlessly. Race up a hill, jog down, repeat. Race up, jog down, repeat. Fartlek runs were the worst: run one minute as hard as you can, jog one minute. Run two minutes as hard as you can, jog two minutes. All the way up to five minutes, then back down again. I can remember lungs screaming and muscles crying and still pushing on.

By the end of the season I’d shaved over two minutes off my timed mile. I’d incorporated healthy eating habits. I’d added some tone to my legs and a spring to my step. I felt strong.

John 16:33 – “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (emphasis mine).

The International Standard Version translates that verse this way: “but be courageous – I have overcome the world!” The King James Version says, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” The word used in the original Greek is tharseĆ³ (thar-seh’-o), and means “I am of good courage, good cheer, am bold.” When used in the New Testament, it refers to God bolstering the believer, empowering them with a bold inner-attitude. It is inner courage that is the result of the Lord infusing His strength us.* Simply put, Jesus is saying, “Do NOT fear the storms! I have already won this battle for you! All you have to do now is obey. Rest in me. I will strengthen you. I will uphold you by my strong right hand. Endure. I am with you.”

If we could see this world and its storms from a Heavenly perspective, would we fear them so much? If we truly recognized that this life is but a breath, and then we live forever in Christ, would we mourn so much? If we lived in the mindset that this world, and all that is in it is fading away, would we worry so much? Or would we see a storm, roll up our sleeves and press on with ever increasing determination, knowing that this is where we are strengthened.

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

God is beckoning us out of our comfort zone. When the hill looks too big, run harder. When the wind is against you, push through. When the waves crash around you, step out of the boat. With Jesus by your side, you will walk on water.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the Bible, Your Word. Thank you for the inspired words of Paul and the life-changing teachings of Jesus. Strengthen us, Father. Through Christ we can do all things. Through Christ we are more than conquerors. Help us to remember this, write it on our hearts! Help us to live in the victory that has already been won. God, the only thing Satan has over us is fear. Help us to let it go. When we can navigate through life knowing that You will see us through the storms, he has nothing to bind us with. For those of us in difficult times, please comfort us. Please help us to remember that the best is yet to come. Please help us to shine Your light through the dark, so that we might show the lost the way home. We thank You for Your Son, God, and the magnificent, horrific work on the cross that sealed our salvation. It is in the precious, beautiful name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, that we pray. Amen.

* definition and notes courtesy of The Online Parallel Bible