Are you just going through the motions?
Are you just saying the words?
Is your whole life a consistent avenue of worship?
I have run all my life. Running just seemed to be infused in all that I did. From track meets, to running to clear my mind; running was my normal. It got to a point that I could run long kilometres (kms) on autopilot, and then one day, I stopped running. I couldn’t stand running. It became foreign to me. Even thinking about running became a chore in and of itself. Running takes up time, it exhausts the body. It hurts. Running used to be a method by which I cleared my mind. Not in a healthy clearing kind of way, but in a way that I allowed the pain and unease that came with running, overtake my mind so that I could escape my thoughts, even for a little while. The pain gave me something concrete to focus on. When the pain was not enough to drown out the thoughts anymore, when I could not outrun myself, I stopped.
Then one day, two months ago, I dusted off my running shoes, and I started running again. The first day, it felt like I was going to throw up and pass out at the same time. I couldn’t breathe. My chest hurt. My spit was so thick I could not swallow it. Everything hurt. I forced myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I wanted to quit. I wanted to go back home and crawl into my bed. Why was I doing this to myself. I kept going. I was able to walk, run, and almost crawl for 2.5kms. When I returned home, I heard my mind say, “we will do better tomorrow”. Tomorrow? I barely got through today. I was sure that I would find a way to talk myself out of running the next day, so I did not think much of it.
The next day, I was at it again. I couldn’t breathe, I had a stitch in my sides, my muscles were screaming, my mind thought I was insane. I finished 2.5kms. The day after that, I focused on one thing only; BREATHE. With each step, breathe. Through the pain, breathe. My mind was screaming at me to stop, breathe. My body was begging me for mercy, breathe. I finish 3kms that day. The day after that, in addition to breathing, I focused on re-framing my mind. I can’t, became I can. Trees, signs, posts, poles, all became markers of how much farther, how much longer I would push myself. This is hard, became I will get better with each step. This hurts, became my body is just adjusting to this new normal. By the end of week one, I was very proud of myself. Running 3kms was an achievement and I was going to relish in it. I would set my sights on 3kms everyday and know that I earned it. However, my mind set a challenge for me.
How far will you go if you do not have a set limit?
How far are you willing to push yourself in your discomfort?
No matter what you may think you are capable of doing, can you do better?
A week went by, two weeks, three weeks, a month; now, I run and my body does not want to stop. 6kms, 7kms, 8kms, 10kms. Running feels easy. I have to run longer, push harder, think of new ways and new trails in order to challenge this new normal. As I run, having pushed through the pain, through the adjustment period, many things became clearer to me. My mind is clear. I no longer run in order to try to outrun myself, but instead, I run to delve deeper into my thoughts draw closer to my inner self, shatter mental limitations I often set for myself. Additionally, running revealed a lot of ligament and muscular issues throughout my body that I needed to seek immediate help to rectify. I wonder how these muscles and ligaments might have been adversely affected if I had not persevered. Would I have been able to identify these issues any other way, and seek the appropriate immediate help (physiotherapy) in time? I wonder how these issues may have gotten worse as I got older, instead of being in the process of healing and being strengthened as they are now. How often do I miss the revelation, healing, and strengthening that the Lord is taking me through simply because the process hurts?
Running was something I used to do on autopilot. Coasting through the motions because it was easy. Performing the action because I was trained to. However, I run now with intention. Choosing each day to do better, be better, than I was the day before. Not in performance, but in intentionality, focus, and purpose.
Does this reflect your faith journey? Are you intentional in your faith journey, or are you just going through the motions? Are you intentional in your faith journey, or are you just saying the right words? Are you intentional in your faith journey so that your whole life is a consistent avenue of worship for His glory? Focus on one thing at a time, one day at a time, and allow your faith to grow deep as it grows tall. Put one foot in front of the other, but do not allow yourself to stop, give up, or quit. Run with intention, and see how far you will go; much farther than you can ever think of or imagine.
"...through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." - Romans 5:2-5 (NIV).
Bible Sudy Tools. Grow Deeper in the Word. Romans 5:2-6. Retrieved from https://www.biblestudytools.com/romans/passage/?q=romans+5:2-6