“It was either that or drink a bottle of whiskey.” I had asked my friend why he took up running.  Although he was fairly new to running, he was already running long distances and even completed a marathon. I think in the context and light heartedness of our conversation, he was making a joke, but a year and a half later, I hear his words in my head on just about every run I go on.  A fairly new runner myself, I am continually intrigued about what motivates people to run.  My own running story began with my coworkers, a little program called “Couch to 5k,” and the awesome folks at First Flight.   My motivation to run was less “pavement therapy” and more “I don’t want to be the one to drop out first.” Over time though, I began to understand what people meant when they talked about a runners high and just “needing to go for a run.”  Prior to that I considered those folks ‘seriously disturbed’ and followed a Mindy Kaling attitude towards the sport. 

I ran a half marathon and followed that with around six months of oh you know, NOT running.  If you have been following the story I am telling,  you may recall when I “decided” to be a runner again and signed up for a marathon this past spring. You may also recall the ‘lessons learned.’ 

Today as I was feet to pavement, I began to think about the ‘things I had been thinking about.’  Far out, right?  Am I the only one who does this?  Don’t answer that.  I think about everything from my grocery list to why God doesn’t just work in the form of that magic eight ball from my childhood.  I think about how I should crave kale but I could really go for a Krispy Kreme doughnut, and a pizza, annnd yeah …..maybe a Jimmy John’s sub.  I think about how I was just praying and talking to God, but somehow got distracted by another little library. I think about how I “talk AT God” too much and should really consider listening for Him more.  I think about true love.  I wonder if I have missed it. I think about my dad, too.  Often.  Most every single mile.  And I consider  WHY I always think about what my friend said, “it was either that or a bottle of whiskey.”  *

In our lives, everyday really, we are given choices. Chances to decide on something that can move us forward or keep us stuck. There are important seasons, too, in our lives that ask us to intentionally, purposefully, and faithfully choose to get ‘UNSTUCK’ from something.   Everything around us may feel hopeless, overwhelming, and with no end, but we STILL can decide how we react to our circumstances.  When I was doing that whole “think about what I was thinking about,” I realized what had grabbed my head and my heart for so long was my friend’s perseverance.  Maybe that’s why it had stayed with me.  (That and it was funny.) During a difficult season of his life, he chose not to just survive but thrive.  He chose to persevere WELL.  

 “Perseverance”:

noun
1.
steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc.,especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

I like that.  

2.
Theology. continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading toeternal salvation.

I like that better.  

Steady in spite of obstacles and living continual in grace! 

I am not training for a race.  I am slow, still caring for my knee with run/walk intervals.  But, I notice an increase and deeper motivation for my running lately.  It is free therapy, yes, but I hope it is developing into an activity that reflects a life of perseverance.  As I reflect on my recent life and pen it to page for my book, I want that to be something I live.  Something I actively choose.  Sweet friends, may our trials and circumstances of life not leave us hopeless and without joy:  
 
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5: 3-5)

My hometown main street has the Winston Churchill quote, “When you’re going through hell, keep going”  on the sidewalk.  I think I take a picture of it every time I walk over it and text it to different friends.  It’s a good reminder.  Something we can so easily forget.  So let’s keep going, friends.  Let’s keep re-remembering and ease on down this road!

 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

*Note* may have been bourbon. 


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