Monday, March 23, 2009

Patient Endurance

Running. I don't like it much. The constant pounding of my feet on hard pavement, rocks in my sneakers, sweat covered skin, pain in my sides, in my shins, heavy breathing, frantic, heart pounding aggravation is not something I want to feel. (You can tell I'm not in shape).

I do like walking, though. It's more pleasant. It's a slower pace. There's time to take in the scenery, have a conversation with a companion or just simply think. The steps are kinder to the body and there's less focus on pain. Although I may not reach my destination as quickly, I can endure the distance and pain more easily than if I were running.

In either case, running or walking, to go the distance means I have to build up my stamina, my endurance. I cannot expect to run or walk a 5k race if I've not built up my body to go that distance. It takes time and diligence to condition my body and build up the strength to endure. That takes patience as well. Patience to wait for your muscles to tone, build muscles; for your lung capacity to build up and for your mental capacity to mature to push through the pain. But, eventually your body responds and the distance is mastered and your endurance is strengthened.

I can't say I've the ambition to master such a discipline for running or even walking a great distance for any reason. But, I do know that there's a journey of life I'm on that without endurance training of the heart, would be miserable. Endurance training of the heart comes by walking in God's Word often. Take the time to sit quietly, read scripture and invite God's Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. I'd love to say daily because I know that's necessary. Is it a reality for me? Not yet. But, I am working on that. Walk in constant prayer. That doesn't mean to walk with your head in the clouds but in your busyness interrupt your thoughts with prayer for everything. Don't reserve your conversations to times of rest and meditation but pray constantly especially in your busyness. Walk with a companion. My husband's favorite quote is from Winnie the Pooh, "It's always more friendly with two." It's the same in our life's journey. We were created for relationship with God and with others. Wether you are going through the best or worst times of life, open your heart to friendships with those who can lift you up, encourage you and speak truth in love when needed and always point you to Christ.

Over time these few disciplines will build patient endurance to weather the joys, the pains and distances of our journeys as we look toward the goal...Christ's return.

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