In December I joined a weight loss challenge with about 100 other youth pastors from around the country. It seemed like a pretty dumb idea to start weight loss right before Christmas. And it was, I gained everything back that I had lost before Christmas! Right now I've lost about 5 pounds and I'm hovering there. (I blame Chick Fil A). But that's not what I'm here to talk about exactly.
You see a couple weeks ago my wife who is encouraging me in my weight loss made a challenge to me. She said it like this: "I have a crazy idea. I think that you should train for the 10k" Yup, she was crazy. The 10k trainers were the people who ran through our neighborhood at 8 am in Saturdays. I would try not to hit them while on my way to Chick Fil A. Yet, she was insisting that I could do it. So I signed up.
I was excited but there were obstacles. When I started telling people that I was training for the 10k, most people laughed at me and included a "yeah right" to top it all off. My wife still encouraged me at home. She encouraged me to go get some running clothes and shoes. Before my first training day, I did some self training so that I wouldn't embarrass myself in front of others. It was tough. I had to stop frequently to walk and catch my breath. I thought that I would never make it a full mile running (how sad is that?)
This past Saturday was my first training day. I reported to where we were running from at 8 am. After some rules and what not we started running. By some weird luck I was at the front of the pack....I knew embarrassment was coming because I would have to stop and everyone would pass me. Then a funny thing happened. It took longer for muscle fatigue to set in. I didn't have as hard of a time catching my breath. I kept running. When muscle fatigue started to set in, I noticed that everyone around me was experiencing the same thing. It was encouraging to have someone next to me experiencing the same thing. We didn't stop. We kept running. The pain in my legs kept coming but after a while I could see the finish line. I kept running in order to cross the finish line. FINALLY we made it to the finish. We were all tired but proud of ourselves. We had made it through the first step of our new journey. Next week we're going for 2. We're going to keep running.
I think that we experience this in our lives when it comes to our relationship with God. We sit around and don't spend anytime with Him. We grow fat and lazy in our spiritual lives. One day we look at our lives and think...."wow, I feel really far from God" So we make a challenge to ourselves, we are going to spend time with God. But it usually falters after that.
I want to encourage you to take the steps to seek after God. Buy some new shoes (get a new Bible or a devotional book), mark a time to run (Set a time to spend time talking to God), ignore the laughter and start to train (ignore those who say you can't do it and start off slowly in the Bible and praying), run (read, think, pray), realize you aren't alone (do a study with someone else to help motivate you), when the pain sets in, aim for the finish line (when it's hard to pray or read, press on knowing that the finish line is a closer relationship with your God), cross the finish line and look forward to the next milestone (finish a study, series, specific prayer time and set your sights for the next level)
If we do these things, we will exercise our relationship with God and we will see the fruit in no time!
Until Next Time,