You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You're blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That's right—you don't go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I'd never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
Psalm 119 (MSG)
After every race, we promise ourselves.
My running partner, JT, and I. After every race.
We promise to keep running with the same discipline, to keep logging the same kind of mileage that we did for race training. This time, we say, this time we won't slack off.
To her credit, JT works harder at keeping that victory vow.
And I, um, not so much.
I put in a few miles here and there. I take some leisurely jogs, I pursue some new training charts, I intend, I intend. I intend.
But then a new race looms on the calendar. And the training must start in earnest.
That's when I know. For sure.
That I haven't stayed the course.
I've strayed the course.
How tough it is to get back into race shape. The first few training runs feel just miserable, compounded greatly by the fact that I know just a few short weeks ago the miles were moving easily under my feet.
And now I'm having to fight to accomplish any kind of distance.
My spiritual race can look like that. I can come from the high of a time of fasting, a time of study, a time of discipleship. And I think, "I'm staying in this kind of spiritual fitness. I'm going to maintain and improve from here. I'm going to hang on to this new level and go even higher!"
And then the next day comes. And the next distraction comes. And the next wave of laziness comes. And I'm back to leisurely jogs and good intentions and creative excuses.
Only to wonder again at the ground I've lost.
And what it takes to regain it.
It's my perspective that is the issue. I'll train like crazy for a race inked on the calendar, the entry filled out and signed, the fee paid. And I'll spiritually train like crazy for the next speaking engagement, the new class starting, the next writing assignment, races for me.
But it's in seeing those races as singular events that trips me up in my best intentions.
It's all one big race. Every day. Whether there's an event on the horizon or not. Whether there's a deadline looming or not.
The race continues all around me, even when I choose to see it as a race here and there.
I'm back at it, training for one of my favorite races, Chosen, supporting international adoption. And I'm shaking my head at myself as I struggle to crank out mileage that just a few months ago was no big deal. I'm dazzled again at the wisdom in just.staying.the.course.
With my feet.
With my heart.
With my spirit.
In the race of life.