Yesterday was hot...nothing unusual for South Mississippi. Actually, it was much cooler than it had been in a couple of weeks, so I decided to ditch the treadmill plan and head outside...that's when I discovered that 10 degrees cooler than it had been was still plenty hot. So, as I ran around the local track, sweat dripping off of me with every step, I had to wonder why in the world was I doing this? I guess it's because I actually like it...and I used to love it.
So what changed? Well, after a 2 year layoff from running, I gained weight, got sluggish, and basically just lost my pace...and now I have a long way to go to get back to where I was when I started running in the spring of 2006. Each step is a challenge now. That's where the random thought came in. "I bet it won't be this hard to run in heaven. "
Well, now I'm on a major tangent. I'm thinking about running in heaven where my knees never hurt, the weather is perfect, my breathing is easy, (no pollen in the air), and there is a spring in my step that says "speed up if you want to." Of course, everyone else in heaven will be able to run just as well...so how could you have a race? I guess we'd all just run for the fun of it. I had to wonder...when was the last time I ran, "just for the fun of it?" Most of my running is so I can lose weight, get faster, win races. I had forgotten about the fun.
I wonder how many other things in life I do in "competition mode." I compete or compare myself to others...not as fast as her, doing better than him, etc. etc. etc. Sometimes I even compare with myself...I'm not as fast as I once was, or as young as I was or whatever. That's what takes the fun out of running and it takes the fun out of living. I can temporarily make myself feel better about myself by finding fault, or I can make myself feel worse about my self by seeing how others are "better than me". Either way, my focus is off and the race becomes a struggle. It is almost as if I pick the other person up and carry them along with me as I run. Trust me, I am plenty slow enough as it is...I really don't need to be carrying any extra weight to slow me down even more.
That's the problem with comparison. As long as I concentrate on doing what God has called me to do, I am just fine. I can grow and become what I am supposed to be...it's when I start comparing myself with others and what they can do that I have problems. When I try to keep up with someone else and run their race, I struggle and I lose my joy. What I am doing becomes stressful, tiring, and fruitless. However, when I am able to look to the One who has called me to "run", then the stress falls away and joy takes its place. I run MY race, taking each day as it comes. Living can actually become "fun" again. It becomes an adventure.
So back to running in heaven. In heaven I guess we won't run to see who can win, but we'll run for fun. Even if I am "racing" with someone else, it won't be so much competition as camaraderie. I have to wonder, why wait? Why not shift my focus now and start enjoying the "run?" Look at the beauty around me, feel my heart pump, or delight in the sweat that lets me know I am alive. I can enjoy the race with others simply because we are running together. My race is not their race...and theirs is not mine. The "Human Race" isn't really a "race" to see who wins....it's a run we can make together, encouraging each other and enjoying each step of the way.
I don't want to wait till I get to heaven to enjoy the "run". We are surrounded by all those who have "run" before us. They blazed the trail and now they are cheering us on. It's time to lay aside the extra weight that so easily attaches itself to us (when we compare ourselves to others) and run the race that God has planned for us. (Reference Hebrews 12:1) This is our time to run. Let's enjoy the adventure on the way.