You were running well; who hindered you from following the truth? Galatians 5:7
After I had my children, a friend of mine introduced me to running. I had always been athletic, but hated sports that required endurance. Running was one of them. I decided to try it out because I had to get back in shape after having my third child. I started with a run/walk but quickly was able to build up to jogging the entire three miles. Soon I was running those same three miles, and within a couple of months I entered my first 5 K.
I was hooked! Running became cathartic for me. My runs were where I did all my thinking and writing; it was where there was open road, and I was free. I would follow the same pattern, 3 miles on Tuesday, 3 miles on Thursday and a long run on Saturday (between 3-9 miles depending on the race I was training for). The longer I ran, the happier I was. I ran a half-marathon and then started training for another. I thought I would be running forever. But after my second half-marathon I said to myself, I’m done. I had no desire to run a marathon and I had hit a wall in my running. My weekday running partner was not available to run anymore and my family and I moved, which led me away from my favorite running trail. My schedule changed which made it even more difficult. I still work out five times a week and am incredibly active at forty-two, but I have hit another wall.
Is my body giving out on me or is God trying to get through to me?
Have you ever been on a streak, waking up early to meditate or morning runs or some other wonderful habit you have built up only to stand in an open space and say, what happened? When did I start getting up later or when and why did I give up that afternoon run? When we allow the outside world to creep into our lives, it is easy to let go, easy to let sin creep in. It is slow, stealthy and many times unrecognizable.
Any time that we are not focused on God is a time when the evil one begins to lurk and look for ways in.
And these things don’t just happen with losing good habits, they also happen with people and groups. You figure missing one mass or church service won’t hurt, but one turns into two and then you find yourself not going at all. Or you start hanging out with someone who does not believe in God, who entices you away from family or church activities and soon you find yourself completely influenced by an atheist worldview.
We can all relate to these things. They happen to us all.
God is trying to get your attention, stop and listen. Evaluate where you are, take inventory. Where am I going? What am I doing? Ask yourself this question:
I was doing so well, what stopped me from following God?
The answer to this question will lead you into Lent. It may be that God is not asking you to give something up, but asking you too add something in. What is it that you lost or gave up that was producing good fruit? Did your runs make you more peaceful and give you self control? Did that extra hour with our Lord in the morning allow you to be kinder? Did your service in ministry make you more joyful or generous? Evaluate these things and meditate on them.
We do not give up something for Lent for nothing. We give up something to trade it in for something more.
It’s time to get back in the race. Your knees may not work the way they used to, but that’s ok. This race is a metaphor for the spiritual life, for the journey to the cross, for the pilgrim’s continuous movement on the road.
I plan on evaluating where I am as well. I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comment section so we can all share how we plan on getting back in the race this Lent. God has been pushing me to think about these things with ample time. Hoping you will join me for an incredibly fruitful, productive and life-changing Lent!
Somehow I got off track. You had shown me good habits, best spiritual practices and led me to good and godly friends. Somehow, someway I have steered off that path. Help me to find my way again to your spiritual discipline and help me to find my way this Lent in what you are asking me to do and focus on.
In Jesus Name,