Thursday, March 13, 2008

Running the Race

I ran today. A little. (Right now my sister Holly is picking herself up off the floor) I hate to run. I don't know what it is. When I run, all I can think about is when I can stop. A couple of years ago my sister Holly and my mom decided to come to Nashville and run the Music City Half Marathon. Holly called me one night all excited with a BRILLIANT idea. "Music city marathon...blah, blah, blah...thought it would be great if we ran as a family." My response? "Hell no. Holly, I don't even want to run down to the mailbox much less a half marathon." I know that's not very christian but that is exactly what I said. I know her. She envisioned us all running side by side, wearing matching T-shirts, smiling ear to ear the whole way, and crossing the finish line with hands clasped together and held high while everyone took pictures. I envisioned getting 3/10 of a mile into it and desperately needing a port-a-potty. I envisioned the effort it would take to figure out ahead of time where all the water stands would be because heaven knows...I would be visiting all of them. I envisioned me humiliating myself and wanting to DIE. But...today was just so beautiful it made me want to run. A little.

My dad loves to exercise but he doesn't like to run either. Years ago, when he was the Georgia state director for FCA, they asked him to run in the Peachtree Road Race. Thousands of people run in the race every year. Somehow he way underestimated the whole miles/kilometers conversion and thought he could just show up and run. Well, just as I envisioned, he had to stop at every water stand along the way.

There were all kinds of people running the race. One guy ran in a tuxedo. To my dad's utter humiliation, about halfway through the race, two people in full-blown chicken costumes blew past him. But of all the people running the race, it was clear that those who were interested in running well and even winning weren't wearing tuxedos or chicken outfits. They had stripped themselves of anything that might hinder them from running their best.

I can't help but think of Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us
throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let
us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
The word that is translated as "everything that hinders" literally means a mass or weight. It was a word used to describe how an athlete would ready himself for action by removing excess weight or even excess clothing. Notice the verse says, "everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles..." These weights may not be sins. There's nothing wrong with tuxedos and chicken suits...but they aren't made for running. What are the weights that you may be carrying that may hinder you from running the race marked out for you? Too many commitments to too many things? Preconceived ideas? A relationship? Guilt? Unforgiveness?

Greg LaMond, two time Tour de France winner was once interviewed about his training and was asked whether or not he lifted weights with his upper body. He said no because he didn't want any more weight on his body than was absolutely necessary to pump his bicycle at the level he wanted. He said that if he got on the scale in the morning and was one pound over the weight he knew he needed to be, he was horrified until he lost the pound. If only we could look at our own hearts and feel horrified over the extra weights we are carrying. If only we were so concerned about removing the things that hinder our relationship with Christ.

One last note, Greg LaMond said that he usually wouldn't notice the extra weight...until he reached the mountains.

1 comment:

Heinzfeet said...

Wow, that's a good word. Loved the running story. By the way, I think I'm going to make Jason the oatmeal thing tomorrow (but I'm not going to tell him...sounds a little gross, but we'll see). I'll let you know what he thinks. :) We had fun playing with you guys the other day. Selah keeps saying "Charlie?" I think she just likes saying her name!