I love to run. I don’t aspire to half marathons, marathons, or other kinds of races, though I admire those who do. I run for exercise, and it’s the exhilaration I feel with running that causes me to prefer it to other kinds of exercise.
When I first started running I could barely make a quarter mile. My husband encouraged me to set my sights on running just a little bit further each time, even if it was one house more. It was so hard in the beginning because the struggle was both mental and physical. As I got in shape, the physical wasn’t as much an issue, but the mental struggle is always there. And that’s why I like it, because I must overcome, and when I do there is a wonderful sense of victory.
A friend told me recently about a pressing through beyond anything I have experienced. He has run marathons. He tells me that many can do a half marathon, but to run the 26.2 miles is really pushing human limits. He says there is a point at which the physical body begins to shut down, usually around 14-16 miles in. It’s then that the war between the mind and the body rages. Those who are able to press forward, controlling the mind and subsequently the body, experience a profound sense of victory. They find that the “limits” their body was indicating really weren’t limits at all because there was more there (some runners call this another gear).
As Christians, we have unlimited ability. Sadly, though, many times we live as though that is not the case. When things get hard we often give up instead of pressing forward. But we have another gear, one that has no limits. And that “other gear” is God — the Holy Spirit of Jesus in us. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NASB). We are instructed to train our minds to obey Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5), and that means focusing on who He is and what He can do; nothing is impossible for Him. Of course there is the requirement of submission to Him and His will, but that is another subject for another day.
I ran 3 miles this morning, and it was the fastest this season. When the fatigue was setting in and my body was trying to convince my mind to ease up and coast in, I remembered the verses above and I not only kept the pace, I picked it up. Thank You, Lord, that You are my limitless other gear for everything in life, not just running.