“You make it look easy” a neighbor said as I ran by. “Thanks! I’m having fun,” I replied. “Have a great day!”
I was doing a training run for the Boston Marathon, which I’m running in on April 16th. I wish I had the opportunity to tell my neighbor what I’m about to tell you.
Look at the picture of me at age 19 on the left. I’m finishing my first marathon. Do I look like it was easy? Like I’m having fun? That’s an easy answer!
Probably it doesn’t surprise you to see someone in pain and looking like he’s about to die as he crosses the finish line from running 26.2 miles as fast as he can! Actually, that picture represents how I used to approach life: intense, straining, wearing myself out, and depressive.
Getting into Jesus’ Easy Yoke
In the years since then I’ve learned some things about the Easy Yoke of Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30). Don’t get me wrong — I haven’t “arrived!” I’m still learning to “let the peace of Christ rule in my heart” (Colossians 3:15), but God in his grace has helped me to be more relaxed, better able to enjoy the moment, quicker to connect with God and the people around me.
Look at his second picture of me running a marathon. I’m 30 years older. I’m heavier. I have joint pain. And in my training I only ran 60% of the miles I did when I was younger. Yet, I ran it faster and did so with a smile! Why? I trained with Jesus and I ran with Jesus.
With Jesus. That’s how I want to live me life.
As I run the Boston Marathon I’ll be meditating on the book of Philippians. When I’m tired and sore I’ll be relying on the Word of God to sustain me and to help me relax, rejoice, and pray blessings for others as Paul did. Chained to a prison guard, treated badly though he did nothing wrong, persecuted, stuck year after year and yet Paul was the happiest man around and wrote the happiest book to spread the joy of the Lord to others.
These Scripture Meditations and their effect on my readiness to love God and my neighbor are FAR more important than my race.
Run with Jesus. That’s the key. For me life is like a marathon with Jesus. “When I run I feel God’s pleasure!”
More Soul Shepherding
Run Through your Wall tells the story of how God helped me 30 years later finally to reach my dream and qualify for Boston. But the real dream, not just for me but also for you, is to be the kind of person who rejoices in the Lord and cares for other people even in challenging situations.
You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke tells the story of how God taught an anxious, depressive workaholic to live in his rhythms of grace. If I can grow in the peace of Christ than anyone can!