Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
I Cor. 9:26
I love it.
I hate it.
You might have noticed; I'm a little conflicted on it.
I love running the days that I run and the miles click by, I find my pace and I feel accomplished and complete when I hit my goal.
I hate running the days that the thermometer is oppressive and I'm tired and the course seems far longer than usual and I don't make my goal.
I love running when I can post big mileage.
I hate running when even cranking out just a handful of miles takes all I've got and isn't pretty.
Training for this latest race has been tough. I don't really know why. By this point in the training, I'm usually on top of the world, feeling strong, hitting my goals. But for some reason, this go-around, it's been a lot harder. A lot. The weather has been far hotter than usual. My schedule is crazy busy. And running is just plain hard.
But I'm learning something.
It's those days that I run, even when it's hot, even when I absolutely don't feel like it, that are the biggest victory. It's not the days I post the biggest mileage or the best times that make up the full portrait. It's those ugly, hard, short, non-impressive routes. They are the ones that make up the frame work and the support for the more glitzy, feel-good days,
I think the race of our faith is similar.
We all oohh and ahhh when we see someone operating in impressive faith. We marvel at their ease in their run, admire their spiritual conditioning.
But we're not even seeing half the story.
Because any kind of mileage on the road of faith has its times of fatigue and heat and challenge and mental blocks. It's what someone does with those days that makes the longer run possible. It's when we run alone, run through challenges of cold loneliness and hot judgement. It's when we don't feel like doing the right thing, but we do it anyway. It's when our flesh is hollering for a party but our spirits choose purity.
Those are the running days that are hard.
And they are the ones that count.
The pretty running days, they're just the reward of hard spiritual training.
And so I'll keep on, lacing up my running shoes on both my feet and my heart. Even when it's hard. Even when I want to stop.
I love it.
And I'm learning to love the days I hate it.
Just like the race of faith.