Focus: Running with patience
Hebrews 12:1 (KJV) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…
Running with patience is something I need to work on—how about you? There never seems to be enough hours in the day for me. My husband jokingly tells people my national origin is ‘Russian’, because I’m always rushin’ here and rushin’ there.
A person who has recovered from a history of substance abuse can easily switch over to other addictions that might not seem as ‘wrong’, but can be just as destructive. My own problem is not knowing when to quit at the end of the day.
I used to be a runner. I ran three miles a day, six days a week. It was exhilarating. There is a definite ‘rush’ you get when you push your body that way. I enjoyed the exercise, but I also liked the energy boost I experienced when my blood was coursing through my veins a little harder than normal. That ‘pumped’ feeling is what I get when I work. These days—and for a long time now—I tend to work harder than I should because of the ‘high’ I get when I’m able to accomplish a lot. I have a hard time stopping. I tell myself, ‘I just need to finish this or that first, and then I’ll stop’. Sleep isn’t a high priority for me, compared to finishing things I’ve started. Getting more rest is what I really need to work on. Especially, since I’m not as young as I used to be.
I’ve had the ‘over-achiever’ mentality all of my life. I remember my grandmother talking to me when I was in sixth grade and telling me I really didn’t need to work so hard, as I was in my room copiously re-writing my notes from school—while the other kids were playing and having fun. I was ‘driven’ from an early age. I liked the experience of getting ‘results’ from my time and couldn’t see much point in ‘playing’. I could spend hours working on a project of some kind, but was never very interested in a lot of the things kids normally do when they’re young. I see the pattern so well now, as I look back over my life. Jobs that were ‘all consuming’ and hobbies that got ‘carried away’. I’m still over committed—even though I’ve ‘cut way back’. I know I have a problem, and I’m working on it…but, I’m not there yet.
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I have to remind myself, a runner who has a long distance to go, doesn’t run at full speed. They pace themselves so they can finish the race. They ‘run with patience’. They are always moving forward, but conserving part of their energy so they will have enough to finish the race. If they try to go too fast, they might not finish at all. What do running with patience and waiting on God have in common?
Often, we think of the act of ‘waiting’ as sitting still. Not moving. But, waiting can have a lot of different forms. Think of a pregnant mother. She is carrying a life inside of her that is under construction. Pregnancy is work. A pregnant mother can’t sit still and just wait for her baby to be born, she has to keep ‘doing life’ as she is waiting for her baby’s due date. The closer she gets to the end of the pregnancy, the harder it is to wait. She just wants to have that baby. But, she has to wait until the baby is ready. As much as she wants it to be born, she has to accept the fact that a full term baby will have a much easier time surviving and thriving, than one born ahead of time. There is a reason for the length of time a child is supposed to be in the womb. Important development is taking place every single day. A pregnant mother has to, in a sense—run with patience.
Most of the time, we think of ‘running’ as pushing ourselves to move forward. In some cases—like mine, the running comes naturally. It’s the holding back or, not moving ahead too fast—being patient—that’s the challenge.
When you are ministry minded and want to ‘help people’, running with patience becomes even harder. You want to serve the Lord and you have all of this passion and zeal. You keep saying ‘yes’ until your life is spent burning the candle at both ends. You tell yourself you’re ‘doing it for God’, but there needs to be a balance that allows for quiet time, personal time, time for family, friends, and your day job—if you have one.
When you’re running a race, ‘sleep’ can seem like ‘down time’. This is the area I need to work on most. Allowing your body and mind to rest is part of learning to ‘wait on God’. It can be a challenge to adjust your thinking to this concept if you’re a ‘workaholic’. The truth of the matter is—waiting on God is trusting God. Trusting Him to help you get what you need to get done in a reasonable amount of time…and not being such a perfectionist that you can’t ever see the end of a project that, in your opinion, could always be improved upon.
Declaration: I will find new strength by taking myself less seriously. I will give myself time to rest and time to play—knowing that balance is important in a healthy person’s life who is trusting God and running with patience.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.