On Dec. 4 I will run in the White Rock Marathon in Dallas. Once a week, I will provide my observations on the connection between the spiritual life and training to run a marathon. Please visit my White Rock fundraising page to honor my daughter and contribute to a great cause.
The biggest mistake a beginner in any new venture can make is starting too hard and too fast. In our zeal for getting started and our grand imaginations about what we are able to handle, so many of us start a new thing way over our head. We get up at 5 a.m. to workout even though we haven’t gotten up that early in 12 years; we start a blog even though we barely have the time to respond to emails; we read three chapters of our Bible when one would have been just fine. What marathon training has taught me is the idea of slow progress.
I know one lady at my work that has completed a marathon who, when she began running, set her goal to simply run to the next light post. How do you go from running as far as the next light post to running 26.2 miles? Slow progress. I didn’t start my training by running a 10K, instead I started running for 20 minutes and some of that was walking as I focused on maintaining a certain heart rate. Most training programs call for building miles upon mile until you are able to run 15-20 miles. But you do not get there unless you first can run that first mile.
So many Christians need to take to their spiritual practices like they would a marathon training program. Maybe their “light post” strategy should be to memorize one verse once a week or read five verses every other day or pray intently for one minute. Once you complete this small effort, you add on one thing that is doable and then after you do this, you change up the plan to keep it interesting. Savor your slow growth in Christ. It took the disciples three years to understand who Jesus was and how they could serve like him. Jesus was patient with them, he will be patient with you. Start small and grow. It is the best way to becoming who you want to become.