"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
As I scroll through weekend Facebook posts I often wonder why my friends run on weekends. Quite naturally I assumed it was 5 days on 2 days off just like a regular work week.
I always hit the LOVE button when I see pictures and posts. "This takes a special level of commitment," is always my thought. As the weeks and months go by the "weekend runner" becomes more popular. It seems like EVERYONE is doing it.
Recently, I made a vow to live a Healthy, Happy, Holy Lifestyle. This commitment called for a serious level of perseverance. I dedicated myself to a rigid schedule of bible study and prayer on my path to holiness. I filtered what I read, listened to and said on my road to happiness, and I changed my grocery shopping, eating habits and added a strict exercise regime all because of my quest for Healthy Living.
Quite naturally I took weekends off. Saturday sleep – ins. Weekend Ice-cream Escapades. Burgers and Buzz Lightyear nights. And who can forget Saturday Evening Shenanigans with my Girls that include over-indulging in an oily, cheesy dish and soda. I found that Monday's were my hardest days. By 5 a.m. I came up with every excuse as to why it was impossible for me to exercise. I even prayed for rain as I peaked through the Venetian blinds some mornings.
Recently it hit me as I struggled to get started one morning... The weekend runner knows that a break in routine can hinder progress. The writer of this popular scripture in Hebrews, more than likely had the same conviction as the weekend runner. The Message Version of the Bible says "Strip Down, Start Running, and Never Quit".
The weekend runner plans ahead by going to bed on time so that she wakes up on time. The weekend runner laces up her sneaker no matter the weather. The weekend runner goes out and runs her predefined course and more often than not pushes to go a bit further. Though not scientifically proven, but very motivating, the popular saying is that it takes 21 days to form a new habit The weekend runner that I am referring to doesn’t seek to be a Olympian, or even run a 10 k road race in under an hour. Her main goal is to develop a pattern that will reap positive results (weight loss, the energy she needs to sustain her through the day and of course, smooth skin!). Similar, the person on a quest to pursue the things of God must develop habits of holiness that are unwavering. The formula for success includes a propensity for praise, daily practice of prayer and a tendency towards thanksgiving with consistency as the common denominator. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18a says Rejoice ALWAYS, pray WITHOUT CEASING, in EVERYTHING give thanks.
As people pursuing Holiness, we can learn a lot from the weekend runner.
Today I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to push through the discouragement, manhandle your way through the doubt, lay aside the heaviness and despair that so easily sets us off course, and let us be persistent in our pursuit. Let us be determined about our destiny, let us stay committed to the quest, let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us by God.