Thursday, September 6, 2012

Running Uphill

To run far and fast, you start out fully fueled, trained and toned.   I was running my life race at a strong and steady pace, working toward peak performance, running to win. At a blind curve the road became a rocky incline. I adjusted my stride, weaving around potholes, more alert to obstacles and dangers.

Spiritually I have spent my summer running my race in my most difficult terrain ever. As the hill incline increased I called on a reservoir of strength I hadn't realized was even available.  Years of training in spiritual disciplines proved worth the struggle.

Then heart muscles began to strain. Attitude began to waver. Focus began to drift.  Determination for running to win changed to desire to finish the race.  Disappointment followed disappointment. Crisis followed crisis. Running uphill in the desert wasteland of enemy territory was lonely.  My usual kindred spirits, encouragers and prayer warriors had scattered, concentrating on their own races. I was being crowded off the trail by enemy critics taunting my grief with envy, shame and discouragement.

"Resistance", said my running buddy, Lindsey, "may reduce speed for awhile, but eventually it makes me faster.  It hurts the worst at the very end, right before reaching the goal.  But when it's all said and done, the most incredible joy overwhelms. Every bit of pain is worth it."

My steady confident stride slowed to survival speed.  Running slowed to walking as I continued to keep in step with the Spirit, believing His promises.  Man of Sorrows and Lord of Joy never once left my side.  Crawling, battered by the enemy, I recently reached the top of the hill.

Out of enemy territory I sit by the side of the road resting in the green pastures of a new plateau.  An article in Runner's World Magazine tells me "It is not only doing the work required in a race that makes you stronger. It's during recovery that muscles can rebuild and adapt to the challenge."

Sounds good! I definitely need rest and recovery, but I didn't quit and the victory is sweet~

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