Committed To Reaching The Goal

August 27, 2012

Friends,
About jogging, there’s something I’ve always taken note of. It’s that the first lap or so is the hardest, and that if I can get beyond it, the rest of the course is almost easy. So what do I do if that initial part makes me feel like quitting? I slow down or even walk for a while. Instead of giving up I just give my body a break, a rest, and a chance to catch up to my mind’s determination to complete the goal. Then, for some reason, be it physical or phycological, I’m able to start jogging again, and can often then jog for miles if I choose. Of course wisdom keeps me from normally doing this since I don’t want to later pay by having cramps or shin splints because of not letting my body work up to that distance.

I believe we can apply this insight to other areas of life. For example, many schools begin their first day of their year today. So that means many teachers, kids, parents, bus drivers, etc. are likely going to have a stressful, maybe even chaotic, day. Even the whole week may be hard. However, it will help to keep in mind that it is the first lap which drains us, making us think we can’t go on, but that if we relax, grant forgiveness for mistakes, and not require perfection, the next lap will be easier, and the next after that even more so. Then soon we will be sailing along, knowing we can endure many miles or many days.

This applies to the Christian hike as well. The first few weeks may seem hard. –Hard to eliminate all the bad habits, worthless activities, corrupt friends, unhelpful thought patterns, and whatever else is getting in the way of pleasing God to the fullest. What should we do? We should give ourselves breaks, rests, and forgiveness. I don’t mean breaks so that we go back to sin, but I mean breaks in our striving, our sprint, our climb, our intensity. We should not think we can be Olympians immediately. We should not try to do routines that are for another level, but instead, at the onset, take some slow walks, sit down, relax, and just take joy in knowing we have a loving and kind-hearted Heavenly Father. If we pace ourselves wisely, then we will not discourage ourselves, but will be able to remain committed. Soon we will see that we’ve been growing stronger, and soon we will rejoice to see the first bloom of the flowers of future spiritual fruit.

The goal of jogging is to get our body and mind fit and healthy. The goal for our Christian life is the same –to be spiritually fit and healthy –and by God’s standards, not our own. God’s goal for us is perfection. (Matt. 5:48 // 1 Peter 1:15,16) However, so that we don’t give up during the first lap or so, let’s be wise and pace ourselves, taking rests, or going at a slower speed. And should we stumble, more precautions should be made, asking God to show us what they might be. (–More time in the Word, more sleep, more laughter, more alone-time, more outdoor meditation… or elimination of things that, even though they may be good things, keep us too busy or spent.)

So, when a task seems too difficult, when holiness seems way too far out of reach, when weariness or discouragement engulfs us like a smothering weight, let’s just take a rest, wait patiently for our strength and joy to return, and then get up and go forward, being more careful and wise and tolerant, but always determined to reach the goal.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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