You see, I wrote this to myself when was training for a half marathon in Texas in July (terrible idea in the first place, but I didn't want to sound like a wimp and whine about the obvious reasons...I mean, I wanted to live a little bit longer...but whatever...Tee ran a 1/2 with me, and I didn't want to let her and Jules down, so I agreed against my better judgement). Training was brutal and my stamina greatly reduced because of medication I was on at the time. Running, like most other things is a mental exercise as much-if not more than a physical exercise...you already should have figured out that I survived that day-my main goal was to survive and I don't think I've ever sweated so much--or hated running so much--as that day. But I've recovered just fine. And one of the things that motivated me that day was the fact that life is kinda like a race. Some days it's downright brutal. But our focus cannot remain on the discomfort we feel. We think about the finish line--my parents, and my dear friends and mentors from Bolivia cheering (or worrying) for me, the free frozen yogurt, the satisfaction of successfully completing a ridiculous feat. In life we can't focus on the hardships in front of us--well, we shouldn't. My friend used to remind me that you never want to finish a race and feel like you could've run harder, faster, or farther. And I definitely do not want to finish my life thinking that I could've done better or more.
I wrote this note a while back-on a particularly frustrating day of watching friend after friend give up. There are plenty of well meaning individuals who offer the cliche advice that we should do what makes us happy. Ummm...hello. If we only did what made us happy we would leave a disaster in our wake.
"Why so quick to quit?
I'm so tired of everyone so quick to give up. Why can't we just encourage others to persevere? Why won't someone try to save their marriage instead of saying they just can't. When will people hold out and maintain sexual purity for the one they will marry. Or have the baby they conceive even of they know it will bring some hardships. Because with that perseverance will come strength and what a testimony of love. "
Paul Shepard (pastorpaul.net) said, "we are killing a generation in the name of love...loving them to death, not life". His point was that we do a great injustice to those we care about when we neglect, or refuse to faithfully come alongside others and help them see areas of need and grow out of it. So we might out of "love" tell our friends to just give up when something gets hard because we want them to be happy, but is that love? What about "love endures through every circumstance/always perseveres/endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:7b NLT/NIV/NASB)
Who will be the ones to press on and finish strong--and cheer on those around them to do the same?