The latest lesson I’ve learned from my running (that never ceases to amaze me as to all the spiritual applications) is the difference between running in the heat versus running in the cold. I highly recommend all new runners beginning in the cold because running in the heat can be down right discouraging!
Lesson #8: The cold is a slow start with a fast finish. The heat is a fast start with a slow finish.
What does this mean? Well, for me, when I started running back in November 2009, I had to invest a decent amount of money in the right Cold Gear for running in 30-40 degree weather. The hardest part was getting started. It was almost like your body just didn’t want to get going, anything to not be exposed to the freezing air outside. Mentally, it was the same likeness to how you feel when trying to get in a cold pool—your whole body cringes, and you really, REALLY just don’t want to do it. By the time you can convince yourself to get going, your blood starts pumping, and as you heat up, the run actually begins to feel good. The colder the weather, for me, the stronger I finished my runs because it really felt good to be warm.
I liken this to someone, albeit myself at times, who is quite comfortable with where they are in life. They are in a warm, safe environment that isn’t really challenging them mentally, physically, or spiritually. They aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong, but they’re not really doing anything right either. They just are. They eat, sleep, and do every day exactly the same thing in the same way. If they’re Christians, this means you are probably going to church regularly, fairly consistent with your quiet times, and possibly even involved in Bible study or service opportunity. But what you’re NOT doing is listening to the nagging voice deep down inside you that keeps saying, “Isn’t there more? Isn’t there more to this life than just being? Take a risk! Do something different! Be all the God-creation God made you to be! Your Source of power is unlimited! Why are you settling for less than what could be?”
Now, there is a season for everything. And I honestly believe that God sends seasons of comfort, peace, and contentment because we need them. We often experience them at the end of some trauma or hardship or when we’ve reached a spiritual plateau, and we’re still forming the good habits of the Christian walk. We need these times and places, but we have a God who ultimately always calls us to more because He knows us best.
He knows that when we get too content, too at peace, and too comfortable, we begin to forget about the One who brought us to this pasture land. We begin to rely more and more on our own strength to get us through our contented days, and gradually, we move from contented to complacent. Nothing good comes from complacency, unless you consider pride, boredom, rebellion, selfishness, and laziness a list of admirable character qualities.
No--God eventually calls us to come walk on the water with Him. (Matthew 14) He wants us to sell all we have and follow Him. (Matthew 19) He challenges us to go cast out the demons, or preach to ALL the WORLD the good news of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 24) God is about big, hairy, audacious goals because He knows us best. He knows we always need more—something to attain. For where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18) He’s a BIG God with so much to offer. We can set goals and chase Him our entire life and still need more, still be more. Why would anyone chase anything or anyone else? I know of nothing on this earth that has more to offer than God Himself. I challenge anyone to taste and see that the Lord is good that He has abundantly more to offer than you could ever think, dream, or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
All that to say, listen to that small nagging voice…there is more. Be grateful for the time of rest God sends your way, but when the time comes and that small voice begins to ask again, “Isn’t there more to this life?” Do something different! Take a leap of faith! Grab onto God and run. It might be a slow start like a cold day, but I promise, you’ll warm up to the idea=)