Running is an old passion that I have recently rekindled but it is a love/hate relationship. Running takes effort, determination, discipline and it requires that I intentionally make time for it. All things that seem to be contrary to human nature. Going for a run can often be one of the last things I want to do, especially when it’s early in the morning, but I love the feeling I get when I run.
There are the obvious health benefits of being active and exercising, but running makes me feel alive. It’s a place free of distractions, where my mind is allowed to think, process, and dream. But one of the things I love about running is the challenge. I’m continually setting goals for myself, challenging myself to run faster, run further, and striving to achieve those goals.
I recently signed up for my second half-marathon race in April and I have set what is quite frankly, a rather lofty goal for myself. One that is going to be very difficult to achieve because it will require me to push myself harder in running than I ever have. But it’s the goal I’ve set, the dream I want to accomplish, and so I’m willing to put in the effort necessary to hopefully achieve it. I’m not yet running the pace I will need to achieve it, but I press on towards that goal.
Interestingly, running is a place where I often feel God speaks to me. Recently I felt God reminding me of 1 Timothy 4:8, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” Essentially I felt God asking me ‘are you willing to press in to Me, to put in the same effort to achieve the goals and dreams I’ve set before you?’
It wasn’t that there is anything wrong with the goal I’ve set for myself in this race, but would I allow it to consume me to the point of placing it above the things that God was calling me to?
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3 of all the things he had accomplished, of his earthly success. In v.7 he writes, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.” He then goes on to describe his earnest desire to above all, know Christ and be one with Him.
We all have goals and dreams for ourselves. Yours may not be in running, but maybe in another sport, maybe in your career or business, maybe in your family, whatever it may be, I believe God would say the same to each of us. ‘Are you willing to put in the same effort to pursue me as you are to pursue _______?”
None of us are perfect, we are all on a journey and all at different places on that journey. But just like how with our earthly dreams we strive and plan and we press on towards our goal, God is calling us to press in to Him and work towards the ultimate goal. Even Paul knew he wasn’t perfect in his faith. He records his own response to his desire in v.12-14. “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me… I have not achieved it, but… I press on…”
Press on towards your dreams, but above all, press in to God.