Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Getting Back in the Race

Oh, thank God, Hallejulah! I am so done!!

I walked out of the gym so relieved that I was done.  I had just walked 2 miles.  My knee was throbbing, I was sweaty and gasping for water!  My pedometer said I had walked 4736 steps and I was feeling every single one of them!!

Not many years ago, my idea of exercise was laps around the pool - - on an inner tube!! But the years crept up, life happened and it became in my best interest to exercise my body.  So for the past ten years or so, I have been very consistent in my exercise - - walking, Jazzercise, Zumba, bike-riding, hiking, etc.

But something happened last year and I lost my zest for exercise and began putting it off more and more.  It fell several notches on my priority list and I was only doing it here and there - - if I felt like it!!

Last winter was a very long, very cold winter here in Vermont and it was easy to stay home and curl up with a good book instead of venturing out to the gym.  Not surprising, I have gained several unwanted pounds.

About three weeks ago I decided it was time to stop making excuses and get back in the race!  I went back to the gym and started walking again.  Funny thing - I wasn't able to just start up again right where I left off.  I had been walking 3 miles/day, but for this first day back on the indoor track, I didn't think I would even be able to do 2 miles.  I made it, but just barely.  My legs hurt, my back hurt and I was huffing and puffing.  It was not pretty!!

This past week, the week between Christmas and New Years,  I "checked out" from life.  I cocooned at home.  I withdrew from most activity and almost all responsibility.  I stayed home, several days not even getting dressed.  I did, however, continue to go to the gym.  Walking 2 miles is getting a little easier and I am looking forward to adding more steps and making it back up to 3 miles.  It's a slow and grueling process, but I am determined again and I will do it!

But getting back into the "race" of life, after checking out, is even more grueling.  I was not really looking forward to it.  But, I knew it was time.  The only way to win the race is to run it!

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."  
I Corinthians 9:24-27

It's the beginning of a new year.  The old is passed, the new has come!  It's time to leave the past in the past.  It's time to shake off bad habits and build new ones.

It's time to get back in the race!  It's time to run to win the prize!  Forgetting what's behind and reaching forth to what's up ahead, knowing that "my times are in His hands."

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:13-14

I do think it is good to "check out" once in awhile and there is certainly nothing wrong with a day at home in our pjs with a good book, but I can't make a habit of that kind of behavior anymore than I can continue to be lax in my exercise and still expect good results.

Our spiritual walk is the same.  We need to be diligent to run the race set before us.  We need to be diligent to "run" with the Holy Spirit to win the prize set before us.  There are seasons of rest God gives us along the way, but we are never expected to stay there.  We are always expected to get back in the race and run toward the prize of the high calling.

It's time to let go of 2015 and all its mistakes, failures, broken resolutions, back slidings, disappointments, discouragements, sorrows, triumphs, successes; yes, we need to even let go of the good things.  We can't rest on yesterdays' laurels.  It's time to put all of that behind us and press toward 2016.  It's a new year; there are still 360 blank pages on our calendar and God wants to fill them with "good and perfect gifts." So, it's time to open up your fist, let go of yesterday and lift your open hand to the Lord and ask Him to fill it with all He has waiting for you!

It's time to get back in the race!

"Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.  Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the  right hand of the throne of God."  
Hebrews 12:1-2

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