I went running yesterday, or at least I tried to go running. It’s been a long time since I have ran any distance at all. I have been going to the gym, and I have been riding my bike, but I just couldn’t work up the passion to hit the trail. Here’s my problem. In high school I ran. I ran all the time. On most weeks in the summer I ran about 50 miles, with long runs on Sunday where I would typically run 10 to 15 miles. I competed in numerous 5K’s and even ran a half-marathon. I wasn’t the fastest runner in the world, but I could break 5 minutes in the mile. When I think about running, I think about myself 20 years ago.
Yesterday, I stretched, I warmed up, and then I started running. After about 2 minutes it felt like someone was stabbing a knife in my ankle. I sprained it badly about 6 months ago and it obviously is not fully healed. I tried to keep going and I alternated walking and running, but I just couldn’t run through the pain. I know what I need to do to get back into shape. I know that it will take some time to strengthen my ankle and I know it will take some time to build up my endurance. But my problem is that I don’t know if I am willing to put in the time and effort to start running again. I would rather remember the past instead of create the future. I’m not sure that the results are worth the effort. Even though I need to lose weight, even though I need to get in better shape, I would rather substitute the counterfeit workout at the gym for the real thing. I see a spiritual application here.
For too many churches, it’s easy to remember the past … the past accomplishments, the past successes, the past growth. But even though they realize that things need to change, they aren’t sure that the effort to change is worth the results. They would rather live in the past and think about how it used to be. So they continue on, doing what they know and trust, taking the easy road, and miss out on the blessings of creating the future that God wants for them. Let’s not be afraid to do what hurts, to do what is hard, to do what is needed, so that we can be healthy and used by God.