I hate running. I think at times in my life I’ve pretended I liked it, but in the past few years, I’ve just decided to own it. I hate running. But, last month, I had an itch in my bones to go for a run. I needed to work off some stress and running was more accessible than a punching bag. So, I took off for a run. And I ran farther than I’ve ever run before. It was because of one realization I had while running.
It’s supposed to hurt.
Sounds silly, but usually when I run, as soon as I feel my legs cramping, or my chest getting tight, I’d just quit. Then I’d feel horrible about myself because I hadn’t made it to the end of my driveway. So, I would be discouraged and not run again for a year or two. True story. So, this time, I ran, and I ran through the pain. I realized that the pain was good. It was the kind of pain that meant I was doing something. Something good. Something that would make me better in the long run. (in the long run…get it!)
It takes discipline to keep going when things get hard. Discipline is training. It’s what it takes to run a marathon. It’s what it takes to finish a degree. It’s what it takes to lose that holiday weight!
Honestly, it’s what it takes to make it through life.
Endure hardship as discipline.
And sometimes in life, just making it is the goal. And that’s ok! Check it out: Endure hardship as discipline… Endurance, sometimes, that’s the goal! No, this is not what God wants for our life, a teeth gritting pushing through. He came so that we may have life and have it abundantly! But there are seasons, seasons of hardship, where His word to us is Endure.
Life is a marathon, not a quick sprint. Although we try to run it these days at a maddening speed, we have to be able to go the distance. Distance running takes endurance. How do you achieve endurance? You train. You do hard things. You just keep going – even when it hurts. And since we aren’t often walking towards hard things, let’s face it, we like our easy lives, God will often allow us to have some hard times. It’s for our good. Like eating your vegetables.
So often when life gets hard, our first reaction is “where did I go wrong?” As if life were meant to be easy. If only we were living the right way, all the time, always making the right decisions, then life would always be easy. This was certainly my reaction to my season of hardship. But looking long and hard at the scripture tells me that this line of reasoning just simply isn’t true. God never promises life would be easy. He promises rewards, but not ease. Hebrews 12 promises that God will discipline us. As His beloved children, we will experience discipline. Training. It also tells us that it is painful. The word of God is so honest.
When running a marathon there are moments of ‘runner’s high’, where you feel euphoria even while doing a super hard thing (at least so I’ve heard from some crazy person I’m married to who does love to run). And then there are those moments of complete mind boggling pain (some people may actually lose their mind…my husband included!). I think life is like that. There are moments of running when all is well. It feels like floating. And then there are times when you don’t think you can put one foot in front of the other.
It’s in those times that Jesus whispers to us: “Endure”. He doesn’t ask us to shine and glow, He asks us to endure. He knows that we will shine and glow when we receive our reward at the end of the race. We just have to make it through this moment.
Endurance. Some days that is victory!