My heart is pounding in my chest. With every step, it seems to get louder. Thud. Thud. Thud. If I were unfamiliar with my body and hadn’t been residing in it for over twenty years, I would be fearful that my heart was actually trying to beat its way out. Harder and harder it thuds. I swear my shirt is moving from the thudding, the pounding, the knocking. The pounding reverberates across my chest and down towards my legs. But my feet are vying for competition with the thudding. They are beating the ground with anger with frustration. Step: pound. Step: pound. Slapping the ground almost in mockery, they slap and pull away, slap and pull away as if to let the ground know that yes, I am touching you, but no, you cannot hold me. No, ground, you will not hold me. No ground, you will not stop me. Weariness is beginning to take over. My heart can only take so much thudding and my feet can only slap so much. The two competitors are wearing down now. Their determination to outdo the other has depleted almost all of the energy.
But…I’m not finished…I’m not finished. No, I’m not finished. I have miles to go, and almost in defiance my feet remind me that they are not stopping until they’ve reached their destination. My heart thuds, yelling that it will not slow until it has reached its destination. Miles to go…and yet…there seems to be no way to do it…but there is no choice but to do it. Duty, feet, and heart pound on.
I’m on my afternoon run.
By nature, I am a runner. I refuse under any circumstances to give it up. I’ll run in the rain, I’ll run in the blazing heat. (I prefer the rain, but that’s just me being my odd self.) For those of you who run, you know what I mean by runner’s high; the exhilaration, the thrill, the drive – there is something so outrageously delicious about achieving runner’s high. This is my adrenaline fix. I liken it to driving at ridiculously high speeds, zipping through the forests 200 feet in the air, and jumping off ridiculous heights…I enjoy these things, but running is my everyday fix. Without it, my brain and my body goes a little stir crazy.
There are days; however, when my body just cannot go. It’s worn down. It’s tired. My mind wills me to go, but legs, feet, chest – all form a mutiny together and simultaneously decide to start hurting. Of course, I am idiot and will not stop running unless I cannot breathe, or my legs begin throbbing so badly that I need to lie down. I’ve ran when I’ve been sick, I’ve ran with stomach aches, head aches, shin splints – you name it, and I’ve tried it. I ran so hard once that I had to stop and lie down to prevent from passing out. It’s not good when you are seeing spots. My mother links this to my outright stubbornness. I simply define this as being strong-willed and determined, but call it what you like, I hate quitting even when it hurts, even when its painful.
But running is just my thing, and even though it is my thing, there are days that I just cannot do it, or I am simply to weary to do it.
I don’t know what your “thing” is, but I believe most of you will attest that everything has its ups and its downs – school, work, tennis, painting, cooking, vacationing (yes, vacationing can become tedious sometimes). As humans, it is in our nature to tire of something or to grow weary of our tasks. Somedays, I love learning, I love reading, writing, lecturing, the whole deal; other days, I outright hate it, I abhor having to critically analyze everything. I tire of having to argue why Americans have a fetish for SUV’s, why slavery was held as an institution for so long in the USA even after Mexico and England had abolished it, why Rome fell when it did, why Napoleon lost at Waterloo. Sometimes I want to scream: who cares!!!! But I don’t quit. I keep going.
As Christians, the road, the path, the race can become tiring. There are so many things that come against us on our journey through life that growing wearing isn’t an option. It is a definite. No matter how many positive spins, no matter how much goji juice you drink, no matter how many church services you attend: you will absolutely, positively grow weary. It is a definite. This isn’t an if question. This is a when question.
But the bigger question is what do you do??
The wonderful and amazing thing is that God knows about our weariness, and God is there to help us carry on. Carrying on isn’t easy. We cannot do it alone. No, no, even when the weariness and pain begin creeping up upon us and the tendrils of despair began taking over our body, we must determine to continue on, for God is there to help us carry on if we will allow Him to.
He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:29-31
Weariness comes from many different avenues. Sometimes it is the result of sin in our lives. Or sometimes it is something beyond our control like loss, pain, or suffering. Sometimes it is a spiritual attack from Satan, and other times it is God stretching us and molding us. At times, just day to day living burdens us. We lose focus, or we grow tired or bored of day to day mundane life, but whenever such circumstances occur, we must remind ourselves that we have a God who is there for us. Through Him we must shake off our weariness, and we must run the race of this life. The road is not an easy one, but God in His mercy did not intend for us to run it alone. He fully intends to run it along side of us if we will only let Him.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
So now, everyone, what is there left to do, but push onward and…run…????