I ran 10.2 miles yesterday. I’ve lost 19 pounds in the last 3 months and also, all desire to live. My middle name is “Carbohydrate.” For me, discipline in eating is about as fun as getting run over by a golf cart. This week, I was in Pawley’s Island with a team from City Church wrapping up a two year learning process of what it looks like to make disciples that make disciples in the community of our local church.
After many hours of white-boarding ideas, I snapped. The kind of snapping where I wanted to do something drastic.
I said to my friend Oliver, “Let’s go run 10 miles.”
My friends and family have always called me extreme. Maybe I am. Any other way to live is a completely boring mindset. To me at least.
I was so excited and stirred up I had a borderline buzz of pre-exercise anticipation. I put on my “short” shorts, t-shirt, and then…Bam. Where are my running shoes?
I was five hours away from Greenville, and I didn’t have my running shoes. It’s been years since I’ve wanted to fist fight myself but in this moment, I was sincerely ticked off at the “man in the mirror.” I walked upstairs, sat on the bed and did some deep thinking.
There are times when you simply have to do something drastic.
I put on a pair of shoes that are the equivalent of bedroom slippers and took off running towards the beach.
Five miles into our run, Oliver said, “We are doing good.” At the time, I felt like I was gargling blood in my lungs and my heels had splinters in them. I acted tough with Ollie, but I was dying.
By this point, I seriously considered quitting and blaming it on the shoes. I chose the higher route however. The route of Rambo, William Wallace, and Kobe in the playoffs. I dug in and sucked it up. At mile 10, I remember thinking, “I’m tougher than I thought I was.”
In John 6, we see many disciples desert Jesus. The teaching got too tough for them. He no doubt dropped a little bit of a bomb when he said, “Eat my flesh and drink my blood” to Jews that were listening.
To say that was a shocking comment would be an understatement. Yet, in this moment, we catch a glimpse of the idea that following Jesus is very rarely easy.
I used to think that Jesus was calling me to an easier life by saying yes to Him. At 41, I’m convinced that Jesus is actually calling me to follow Him and die to myself. Following Him looks more like a 10.2 run than a 5-minute brisk walk. Hard- yet rewarding.
Dying to myself is hard. Galatians 2:20 is easy to preach but harder to walk out. Yet, there is nothing else I want to give my life to. The Father sent his perfect Son into the desert before any ministry began. Perhaps I should be slow to reject a nice 10-mile run that God calls me to go on. It’s for my benefit. I’ve learned to suck it up and run with Him when He tells me to. Even when I don’t feel like I have the right pair of shoes.
Take off running.