This evening, our first night home from our two-week California trip, I decided to don my new workout clothes and go for a run.
Now before you think, "Wow, Shelby works out and runs! What discipline!" let me clarify that this is... the first time? Maybe second?
I don't like running. I don't understand people who like running. Those people who just don't feel good until they've gone for a good run or those people who love cross country or those people who love their local gym... they all puzzle me immensely.
I am not a runner. I ran about a quarter of a mile tonight and thought, "oh, this isn't so bad." I power-walked for a few minutes, then went back to running. At about the half mile mark, I went back to fast paced walking and... almost threw up. In case you were feeling insecure about yourself.
But on the last segment of my run/walk, the song Forever Reign came on my iPod. As you may or may not know, the chorus says this:
"Oh, I'm running to Your arms,
I'm running to Your arms,
The riches of Your love will always be enough.
Nothing compares to Your embrace,
Light of the World, forever reign."
I know it was no accident that this song played right then. I stopped (well, didn't stop) and thought a lot harder about running and the spiritual parallels therein.
The Bible itself compares our faith to a running race. I don't believe that anywhere in the Bible is our life of faith referred to as "the Christian walk." It's a run. Running isn't always fun - if you're doing it right, it'll hurt after a while too. But we push on because we know the outcome is worth it.
I heard 1 Corinthians 9:24 from my friend Johnny quite a lot this past season, and each time I heard it I understood it a little bit more: "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!" So run to win. So run to win.
I kind of thought the spiritual parallel ended there until later. After my shower, I came down to write this blog post and almost dug into a bag of Sour Patch Kids I have near at all times. But then I realized... I didn't want them. I had just done all that work to help keep myself in shape - how could I stuff in the very things I had been trying to rid myself of? whoa, there's a parallel for you!
The harder we run after God and pursue our relationship with Him with everything we have, the harder it will be for us to slip back into our old ways. Back to the old common-sense approach - you get out of it what you put into it! The more we strive after holiness, less we will even desire the sinful temptations that bog us down.
I still don't like running. I really don't know how long I'll keep this up because, honestly, I'm not sure if I value being "in shape" enough to do it. But one thing I do know: I will keep running into the arms of God. I know this because I value Jesus about everything. Above the pain and aching that comes from running, I will keep running. Not on my strength, but on His.
Praise the Lord, oh my soul!