Yesterday I was running with my eldest child. We’ve been working on a Couch-to-5K running program as part of his High School PE requirements (free app, if you are interested). The idea is that over an eight week period, the program takes you from couch-potato to running-three-miles. Somehow I’m working on this credit with him… as are my husband and next two oldest kids.
So, yesterday we increased the number of minutes running and decreased the number of minutes walking. This happens once per week, but this week seemed brutal. With the increased running time, we were able to cover more ground, so it’s not just like we were running longer, but we were running further. Somehow that reality didn’t set in until we were almost done the fourth of four segments.
I was so tired. My legs were burning because we were running up hill as we neared the end. My lungs were screaming for air. I didn’t think I could keep running until the timer on my phone buzzed and the voice in the app said, “Stop running and begin your cool down.” But, as I’ve found to be true on many other running mornings, having that external voice to tell me when to stop often keeps me going when I think I’m too tired. Somehow I’ve committed to the authority of the person/people who devised this program. I believe they’ve thought through the steady increases in exercise and are trustworthy to gently lead me from no running to over three miles of running in eight weeks. So, I run until “they” say stop. And I make it every time. This week will put us halfway through the program – not an insignificant feat!
The thing is, I’m also tired in life. There are days during this parenting thing when I don’t think I can keep running the race. There are times as a daughter I don’t think I can keep on daughtering well. There are times as a homemaker I don’t think I can make one. more. meal. There are days in our ministry life when my heart is burning with fatigue and my spirit is winded, and I don’t think I can make it until Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to quit early and walk to the finish line. I want to decide when the “cool down” period begins.
The question I face in moments like these is, Will I trust in the external voice of God to tell me when to stop? Am I committed to the authority of God who devised the whole program for life? Do I believe He is working to orchestrate the steady increases in exercising my faith? Do I find him trustworthy and gentle as he takes me from dead-in-my-sins to prepared-for-glory?
In this run from cradle to glory (C2G), I have no idea where I am on the training program. Just looking at years, I am probably about halfway done. But I don’t know that, some people are called to run sprints, some are called to run cross country. Either way, am I willing to keep running? Will I trust that “time to quit” is when Jesus takes me home or comes back for me in the clouds? Will I remain faithful to wait for his rest? Am I willing to keep training for eternity?
I don’t know how I am going to make it. I don’t know how many days I have to run. I don’t know when the next “walk” phase will be. But the one who is training my heart has thought through what is needed to grow me into a healthy, active saint, and He does know. And He is guiding me and instructing me and pushing me beyond what is natural, into what is supernatural. He is training me for eternity.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14
Will I trust Him? Will I wait for His rest? Will I press on toward the goal (Philippians 3:12-16)?