I love to run on the nearby Fernleigh Track. It follows an old railway line and winds me through gorgeous bushland where I can hear Bell Birds and see wildlife like cute bunnies hopping across my path. I recently ran a little further than usual and as I turned back towards home, I noticed a sign I had never seen before:
Since I was a good 5km from home, this “all-caps-command” felt like an order, dictating to my tired legs what they yearned to hear. I have a policy that I don’t STOP and walk when I’m running. Otherwise, it feels too hard to start back up again.
Running is one thing, but what about genuine trials in life that press us down so hard, we cave under the pressure? Our marriage feels too far in the ditch to bring back in alignment. We STOP putting ourselves out there for relationships because we have been hurt one too many times and trusting feels too hard. We feel helpless when it comes to our finances or our jobs so we terminate early.
Personally, this journey of church planting has felt lonelier and more stressful than anything I have ever done; at times, everything in me has wanted to fly back to Texas and give up. The weight of expectation for what it means to be a pastor’s wife feels confusing and daunting most days. And, when our vision doesn’t come to pass quickly, it’s easy to doubt God’s word and wish I could turn back.
We all face trials that cause us pain and moments when we feel like we can’t suck in enough air to go another mile. There are times our heart beats out of our chest with anxiety and fear and we think our bodies might explode.
Rather than letting an outside voice slow us down, why don’t we let our inner voice speed us past this wreckage that seeks to halt our progress?
Last I checked, as Christians, are actually “more than conquerors” and it’s for “freedom that Christ has set us free.” We aren’t victims of circumstance nor are we underdogs or fools.
We have been given a “shield of victory” and we are supposed to be bold because of the hope we have in Christ. We shouldn’t be overrun by negative thinking or hopelessness. Instead, when those thoughts come, we should remind ourselves not to “burn out or quit in hard times; instead, pray all the harder.”
I’m believing for that last bit of leg strength to keep running. I’m believing for the breath of God to fill our lungs so we are strong and courageous. I’m expecting God to strengthen our spiritual and mental muscles so they can take us farther than we thought we had strength to go. That our minds would focus on the long-term marathon, not just the next km.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it” (Phil 3:12-16).