You have to walk...


...before you can run. 

Yesterday I went to the park to exercise. It was bad. It was bad in a lot of different ways.  

I've been trying to get back into running. The only problem is, I've exercised about 2 days in the last month or so. Since the move and since moving away from our gym, I haven't even been going to Zumba on Saturday mornings. I can tell that my clothes are fitting tighter, and you know me...I'm always in for a quick fix, and for some reason, I have become fixated on getting back into running.  

There's one problem though...I haven't been doing anything! Other than lifting boxes and using power tools, I have not done anything to support the fact that I can just jump back into working out and become a runner.  

I realized this as I was shuffling my feet back to my car after 20 minutes at the park. My back was killing me, my ankle was throbbing, it was just a mess. I started thinking about all of my friends who are teaching their children to walk right now. They're teaching them to take one step at a time...put one foot in front of the other. They are learning to pull themselves up, steady themselves, and take one step at a time.  

Even though I'm not a baby learning to walk, I can definitely relate to one. What made me think that I can just get back out there and start running without any negative effects? My body was screaming at me that it's not used to the impact of running...take it slower...STOP...just walk!

But what would it have been like if I would have gone out to the park and walked? I probably would have been able to walk much longer than 20 minutes. I probably would have burned more calories. I probably wouldn't have been shuffling my feet to my car.

Isn't that what we do though? Isn't that the name of the game for most of us in our 20s and early 30s. We want to jump straight to the good part. We don't want to go out there and build our endurance. We want to jump straight to our dream job, or straight into the perfect house, or straight into whatever it is that we want. But that's not realistic.

This revelation that I had yesterday as I was shuffling to my car made me think about one of my favorite passages of scripture.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
— Romans 5:3-5

We have to struggle at first. We have to swallow our pride and take that entry level job. We have to swallow our pride and live in that apartment for a little while to save some money for a house. We have to swallow our pride and get out and walk at the park for a while.

But we must rejoice in those things! Because we know that after a few years in the entry level job, a great opportunity will come along. We know that after we live in that apartment, we'll have enough money to buy a house. We know that after we walk at the park for a while, we'll be able to start running again. We rejoice because in the midst of our struggles, we are building endurance.

And while we're doing the job that isn't creative enough, or living in the apartment that doesn't feel like home, or while we're walking at the park and getting passed by tons of people, God is building up our character. And as our character is being built up, we have hope for what lies ahead, so we keep striving to do a good job, to make those four walls feel like a home, to keep walking around in circles at the park,  because hope will never put us to shame!   

What venture are you on in your life where you need to walk before you can run? We all want the quick fix, but when we look at it through the lens of what scripture says, is that really what we want? I don't. I would rather rejoice in my struggles, because I know that the ending of this story will be much sweeter if I walk before I run.

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Posted on October 15, 2013 .