The wind gust blew hard against my tired body. My feet felt clumsy and heavy, almost as if they were encased in cement blocks instead of snug inside my trusty asics running shoes. To make matters worse, half-way through my run, I started to feel a cramp in my side.
This was supposed to be an easy run! It was a mile shorter than my last trek. I didn’t even have the usual added resistance and weight burden that came from pushing my 2 ½ year-old-daughter in our jogging stroller.
I was all alone today and had expected a fun and relaxing running experience. Yet, here I was huffing and puffing and straining to propel myself forward.
“You can do this!” I coached myself silently, putting one weary foot in front of the other.
Despite the fatigue, I did have confidence that I could complete this run. Grateful for the sunshine and the comfortable 60 degree temperature, I stubbornly pushed on. My phone was blaring some of my favorite worship tunes and my Nike running app was occasionally interrupting the music with applause as a Facebook friend “liked” my activity from afar.
My music and the sporadic encouragement made me smile, and helped to inspire me along the way. Maybe I wasn’t so alone after-all?
As I made my way down the final stretch of the route, I pushed my body a little harder. My pace had been fairly slow up until this point, but I wanted to finish strong. With a final burst of energy, I sprinted to the end of my road.
It was probably a little more tortoise than hare. And I’m sure my sweaty tomato-red face and deep heavy breathing didn’t look or sound very pretty. But I accomplished what I set out to do. I was able to run the course that I had planned without stopping.
I CAN DO THIS!
As I was stretching after my run, I couldn’t help but think about how this experience was a little like my spiritual walk with the Lord.
There are definitely occasions when I am running and it’s a fairly easy and actually very enjoyable experience. These are the days that my body feels strong, my feet are light on the pavement, and I occasionally experience what some people refer to as a “runners high.” I really appreciate that I’m doing something good for my health and I’m excited to be hopefully making a lasting difference in the world. (See lizzystrong411 challenge ).
Likewise, there are many days when being an American Christian is a very enjoyable and easy experience. For instance, I have the luxury of having multiple bibles, devotional books, and blogs that I can read regularly. There are a million ministries with encouraging messages that I can access with the click of a mouse and a high-speed internet connection.
I even have a bible app on my smart phone that provides me with daily inspiration! These tools generally help me stay happily connected to my Creator.
While I whole-heartedly appreciate these tools, they don’t even come close to the amazing gift of having a personal relationship with Jesus. I am blessed to have an intimate, multi-layered, friendship with the God of the Universe. A God, whom unabashedly loves me and claims me as His own!
Good grief, I am a daughter of the KING of KINGS! It doesn’t really get more enjoyable (or AMAZING!) than that!
However, despite the fact that I have these wonderful tools and a beautiful relationship with the Lord, there are still days that are HARD! Days that I feel discouraged, and drained, and a little like giving up.
What should be so easy and enjoyable can feel hard and frustrating.
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Sometimes I have difficult days because I have neglected to make room in my heart and mind for God to work. Whether I’m too busy, too lazy, or too distracted by the demands and pleasures of this life, there have been times when I have missed out on the blessings of God.
But then there are times when I’m “doing everything right.” You know, the days when I HAVE spent time reading the Bible, and HAVE spent time in prayer, and HAVE earnestly sought after God. Days when I have tried to serve Him in the various tasks I have been entrusted with. Even so, He feels far away. And life seems overwhelming.
The winds of adversity blow and I feel weak and tired.
On days such as this, I have to push feelings aside and instead stand on what I KNOW to be true. I stand on the truth of God’s word. I stand on the promises that He has made, even if they don’t feel very real in the moment.
On difficult days I have to decide to intentionally look for His blessings in my life. I’m always amazed at how much I really have to be thankful for. I’m also continually surprised at how this realization helps to change my perspective. Maybe that’s why the apostle Paul tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
I don’t necessarily enjoy hard days. But they do give me an opportunity to remember why I believe what I believe. They push me to remember the many ways that God HAS been faithful to me in the past. This in turn points me to the truth that He will CONTINUE to be faithful in my present and future circumstances.
Whether on a run or in my Spiritual walk with the Lord, there are times that I have to push through the feelings of the moment and instead trust in what I KNOW to be true.
I CAN DO THIS…. And so can you!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13