Several years ago, I was a runner. While I was single, living alone, without any responsibility except myself, it was easy for it to be a part of my daily routine. My schedule allowed me to come home from work and run at a nearby trail almost every single day. At one time I was running four miles a day. As I think about that now, I am shocked to think that I actually ran that much at one time without walking. I never let myself walk, I felt like was wasting time if I walked so I ran.
At the end of this past year I decided that it was time for me to begin running again. My youngest is a year old and my body has had plenty of time to adjust so what better way to get my body in shape, regain much needed energy and tone up some loose skin than to run. With little ones at home, I decided that the best thing for my schedule was a treadmill. So my husband agreed and we found a wonderful treadmill with a great price and it now sits in our bedroom. I am proud to say that for almost two weeks now, I have bonded with this gigantic work out machine and not once have I hung a piece of clothing on it! In fact, I actually look forward to the kids having their nap time each day so I can use my treadmill. For it's the only time of the day when it's all about ME!
As I began my routine with my new friend, the treadmill, I was shocked to notice how difficult it was to start running again. I knew I would have to walk some as I started out but I didn't know I would have to walk as much as I have. I have quickly learned that I am not twenty three anymore, I am a few months shy of thirty and my body is not as hip on running as it used to be! Last week I was so bothered by my inability to run for a straight twenty five minutes. I kept pushing myself until my body almost collapsed while on the treadmill. Finally I realized that there was no way I could continue at this pace, I had to walk. Still feeling unsettled by this realization, still feeling like I was a looser and not making a difference in my body by walking, I found an article in a Runner's World Magazine entitled, "It's Okay To Walk." Stunned by this title, I read it and felt better about my workouts. "If you're just beginning a fitness program, the best way to start is by walking, "says Budd Coates, four time Olympic Marathon Qualifier and running coach. WHAT? You mean it's okay to walk? I felt relieved as I read the article. It also included a ten week program that builds your workout into running thirty minutes at a time without walking. So, that's what I'm doing! The cool thing about it, it's working! My running time has increased, my walking time has decreased and I feel better. But, first I had to realize it was okay to walk.
The Christian journey can really take it out of us sometimes.
Not because Jesus requires too much! Not because He drains us!
Not because He overwhelms us! Instead, it's because of what we expect from ourselves. We mess up, we fight with our spouse, we yell at our kids, we say a cuss word, we drink too much, we say too much, we worry too much. Time and time again, we will fail but it's okay. All of us fall. All of us miss the mark. All of us have to get up and try again. Our walk with Jesus is not like a diet. You work out really hard all week long and then you go to McDonald's only to ruin your whole week with the purchase of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. You know how you feel!? You feel like you have blown it. You feel like everything you have done up until that point was a total waste. Praise the Lord, our walk with Christ is nothing like that! He's always there, quarter pounder or not!
Many of you feel like you are missing the mark in your life.
Guess what? You are! You will always miss the mark. God doesn't call us to be perfect. He doesn't call us to be free and clear of all mistakes. It's okay to mess up. It's okay to slip.
It's okay to walk. Our journey with Him is always a journey full of learning. It takes time to learn scripture. It takes time to learn to believe when you don't know how to trust. It takes time learn to have joy when you all you can do is feel hopeless. It takes time to learn how to run to Him when you are in a need. If you feel discouraged, if you have blown every new year resolution already, it's okay to start over again. It's okay to walk. For Christ will meet you right where you are. Go to Him just as you are, He's there waiting to welcome you again and again and again. No matter how many times you mess up, He will not forsake you, give up on you, or quit loving you. So, keep walking because He is waiting.