The other day, I didn’t want to run. That isn’t unusual, most of the time I don’t! But what was unusual is that on this particular morning I had a lot of good (adequate) reasons (excuses) why I could let myself off the hook. Then, the daily argument took place:
You see, there are two Brendas living in my tired old body. There is “mature B”, who loves God and wants to grow into maturity, to be responsible, and to learn faithfulness. I like this woman-she’s a sweetheart. I can tell she is the adult- tender, yet tough. She knows what needs to be done and she gets to it, without whining. When she is in charge, peace reigns and important things get accomplished!
But there is another part of me, and I think of her as “immature b”. She seems about 4 years old and is clearly in no hurry at all to grow up. She is always asking for a nap, a snack, or some entertainment. She throws out constant excuses to get her way, and if mature B doesn’t cave in to her demands? b starts doing that shrill repeated “why?! why?! why?! to wear her out. When little one is in charge? there is total chaos, because even if you give in to her demands? Nothing keeps her content for more than 3 minutes.
That morning, I looked at my training calendar. And it called for 4-5 miles. And mature B said “Come on, let’s do this.” and she started getting her workout clothes on. Little b watched nervously, then started pouting. As Big B started lacing up her shoes, little b began throwing a serious tantrum. B ignored b and kept going. She was showing the little brat just who was in charge today, but she was so gentle and firm about it. I heard her promise “If we have to walk it, we will. But whichever way we need to do it? We are GETTING FOUR MILES IN TODAY.” and little b huffed in annoyance but had to go along.
I admire B, and want her to win because life goes so great when she does!
However, I often feel sorry for little b, and admit that I’ve spoiled her in the past, and that is why she is so ornery.
I hit the road in a slow jog and started mulling this over. I hate the two of them fighting. It wears me out, everyday. And it is constant. Running seems to really bring it out but they fight over all kinds of things. What time to get up… How much housework to do that day… Whether or not to have second helpings of lasagna…
It brought to my mind the verses in Romans where Paul says:
Romans 7:18-24 (The Message)
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?”
and that IS the question. Do I have to keep listening to these two (my spirit and my flesh) bicker about every single decision in my life?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
Romans 7:25-31 (The Message)
That is Big B’s secret. It’s where her power to git ‘er done comes from. She is learning from Jesus how to have:
She doesn’t naturally have any of those qualities. But this Jesus she loves? He has oodles of it, and shares generously when she asks.
That morning, I didn’t want to run at all, but knew:
It’s not about my feelings.
It’s all about BEING FAITHFUL.
So I went. Half a mile into the run, I started started actually enjoying myself. The air was cool, the trees beautiful. My feet fell into a rhythm and a smile spread across my face. At 4 miles I still felt strong and so I added in some hills. Still feeling good, so I put in a mile of high tempo runs. I ended up going six miles, and it felt ike two! Then the Nike Ipod informed me that FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, I had averaged an under 10 minute mile. Two months of running and I have never broken my slow 11-12 mnute pace. Well, Big B was thrilled and gave me a high five and we celebrated our accomplishment with a little dance in the kitchen.
And how did little b feel, you ask? Oh, we had just worn her out.
She was conked out asleep the rest of the day.
I just love a sleeping baby.