Over the last decade I’ve enjoyed running half-marathon races—13.1 miles. The starts are usually mayhem. People sprint off the line. Energy-levels are high. Adrenaline is pumping. It’s chaos and craziness. But around mile 3 or 4 you catch up to a lot of folk who started with more ambition than wisdom.
That can happen in Lent, too.
We’re at about mile 5 right now in this Lenten experience. It can be challenging. Once we get to mile 7 we can start counting down to the end. Right now, we’re far enough into the race to be weary; not far enough into the race to see the finish line.
If that describes you in any way, welcome to the pack. Don’t stop and walk. Keep those legs pumping, even if only gently. Character and godliness is forged through endurance, not comfort. And perseverance is something that the Lord takes great delight in. (James 1:2-4)
Breath in; breathe out.
If you started with too much ambition, scale it back. You have permission. Better to finish the race at a different pace than drop it altogether.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of [heavenly] witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
Lord Jesus, help me fix my eyes on you today. Teach me your way. Bolster my resolve. Strengthen my faith. And as I run this race with you, fill me and shape me as you desire. Amen.