Whoa. These titles. First hot chicks and NOW THIS. Sparrow journey is taking a turn for the worse, I think. But let me explain.
I’ve been thinking this morning. You see that side bar “About Me”? And there at the end, in the litany of “things I love” it says running. Though I haven’t done more than a brisk walk in over 6 months. I have considered, in honesty, just quietly deleting that item from the “love” list. But I haven’t done it because in actuality, I DO love running, still. By total accident I fell in love with it 2 years ago and no one was more surprised than I that I liked it. Before, if I was seen running? Well than you could bet there must be a vicious dog after me. But one day, I had only a short time for my walk, and not being an exercise-lover, I decided to just “get it over with” and jogged a bit. I could only go 2 telephone poles distance without stopping, gasping for oxygen but was astonished to find I liked it. I felt great! Later I found this book, http://www.amazon.com/Courage-Start-Guide-Running-Your/dp/0684854554/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205349053&sr=8-1 Well that link is a mess but it’s called “The Courage to Start”. Written by a middle aged, overweight smoker who started running and changed his life. Loved the message-that anyone, at any age, can choose to be active and fit-even if you weren’t “an athlete”. Which I am not. So I got out there, and just aimed for small improvements. A few more poles passed before I had to walk, then a little faster time on my 1.5 mile route. Soon, that mile turned to 4 and I didn’t want to turn around. It felt like I was flying and I couldn’t wait to get out on our rural road and feel the pavement under my shoes, watch the trees changing each passing week, that sunset glow through the branches…
So what happened? Why was this activity, that brought me so much joy, set aside? Only one thing-I gained some weight. I’m a short girl, and every extra pound counts. And now, I wasn’t flying. I was stumbling, and huffing and feeling, with every step, those extra bites, the nibbles, the indulgences I hadn’t cared too much about at the time. Now, suddenly, the joy was gone, and running became work. It became a chore to get through instead of an endorphin rush. The irony here is embarrassing. That the solution to the problem, because it is made worse by said problem, gets avoided!
So why am I telling all this? Because I have been working on “the problem”, and lost a little weight and started running again, just a bit. I mean, serious baby steps here and only twice this week. And its still hard (said problem is only half solved) but I am reminded “oh yeah. I liked this, once.” And I am looking forward to enjoying it again. And in the midst of the treadmill discipline this morning I remembered this verse:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
And it hit me that “extra” always weighs us down. I’m a slow learner but feeling the awful bounce of every extra lb. on that treadmill was pretty clear. It got me thinking of the many other “extras”, that accumulate in this life. How easily it occurs, unnoticed, unaware, just a bit here and there until one day the week is full of activities and playdates and meetings, and our school day gets a lot harder. It feels rushed, and the joy of learning, of snuggling on the couch with my boys and a great book? It just disappears. When the cute thrift shop bargains and yard sale treasures start to add up, and one day I look around to realize the serenity and peace of our home has vanished in the visual noise. When the stack of books on my nightstand grows to 38 plus, and I can’t even enjoy the book I am reading because I feel such pressure to hurry up and get that pile whittled down! I hit a chapter in this one, a page or two in that one-trying to get it all in instead of savoring the text, like I used to.
So, back to the weird title. I am committing to the Lord, (and here, publicly) my desire to strip off what hinders-the sin first! but not forgetting to remove some of the “harmless things”, too. For I see how eventually they tend to become wrapped around my ankles, tripping me up in this race He asked me to run. In prayer I am asking for God’s perfect discernment in what to keep, what to strip away? And in practice, putting muscle behind motives, strapping on the work gloves, the running shoes… just taking a few boxes to the needy (who can use it more than we). Praying a bit before saying “yes” to outside activities. Getting out my trusty Asics each day and counting the telephone poles again, looking for progress. And enjoying each book-one at a time. For “a (wo)man without self-control is like a city with its walls broken down” Proverbs 25:28