As I was running this past Saturday morning, I reflected on how proud I was of myself for the improvements I’ve made in running over the summer. I can run for 30 minutes straight fairly comfortably (okay, maybe with a 1 minute break of walking thrown in. But I’m really getting there!). More than that, I’ve learned that I actually enjoy it! My major goal with running this summer was to fall in love with it. Too often over the past few years, I’ve burned myself out with running because I pushed myself too much, too soon. So instead, whenever I started to beat myself up because I wasn’t running fast enough or because I didn’t get as far as I wanted to, I reminded myself that I was doing this to get comfortable and truly fall in love with running. Speed and distance will come later (hopefully!).
As I basked in my own praise though, I suddenly came to a sad but true confession. I have put way more time and effort into my running goals this summer than I have into my personal relationship with Christ. I’ve been willing to spend upwards of an hour 3 times a week with running. I’ve made running appointments for myself on my calendar and I have followed through with them. For goodness’ sake, I made my goal to fall in LOVE with running! When was the last time I set a goal to fall further in love with Christ?
Of course, as soon as possible faults came to mind,
excuses sinfulness rose to the challenge of self-defense. My left-brained-ness sinfulness said it was only natural for me to be successful with something to quantifiable. My responsibilities pride took too much time out of my day to allow time for the Lord. My travel schedule selfishness had caused me to not have a consistent schedule. On and on and on.
The simple fact is that even if running is more easily quantified through pace goals, distance goals, consistency goals, etc., my end goal was to change the way that I feel about it. And I have started to accomplish that feeling. I’m not upset with this–I truly feel like I’m overcoming a pretty large hurtle. I recognize that it’s by God’s grace that I’ve been able to do that. What I am upset about though is that I never stopped to make a similar “goal” for how I spend time with the Lord. I somehow thought that it’s not holy to set goals with the Lord. And maybe it’s not the best way to approach it. But when I realize the progress I’ve made with running, I have to question what kind of growth I could make in my faith by putting it into similar simple, measurable terms. If that’s what it takes to make me consistent for a little while, maybe that’s what I need. I’m not proud of such weakness, but I’m grateful that it’s been brought to my attention.