I love to run because it’s hard. I am not a natural runner by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, my pace ranges between 9 and 11 minutes per mile. I would love to run an 8 minute mile, or even better yet, anything under 8 minutes. I’d be excited to run a 7:59 mile, and do it for a length of 3 miles. It is a goal of mine. I was running yesterday because it’s hard. The physical difficulty overpowers any mental weakness I may be feeling. It’s kind of like that joke about a person who went to the doctor and said, “Doctor, my stomach hurts.” So, the doctor twisted their arm. The patient said, “Hey, why’d you do that? Now my arm hurts.” And the doctor replied, “Well, you forgot about your stomach didn’t you?”
Now, while that’s silly, it helps me make my point. Running helps me forget about other challenges and makes me press through the physical difficulty of running (and life circumstances in general), enabling me to focus on the spiritual strength of God. I always talk to God, ask Him to speak through me via my thoughts, actions, and writing. Many times, I will focus on one Scripture during the entire time that I run. Or, there will be silence and God will bring a Scripture to my mind.
Yesterday, God brought Hebrews 10:38 to my mind. “My righteous one will live by faith and if he shrinks back, I will not be well-pleased.” During the first mile, I was able to whisper the verse as I ran. After the 2nd mile, I began to silently recite the verse, as I was slightly out of breath. When I took a break to walk, again, I could say it aloud clearly.
I reached my destination; the park. I forgot about my Scripture as I got water and stretched. I think I was so glad to reach my destination that I let my mind wander. As I embarked upon my return home, I started up the big hill. At first, I could whisper the Scripture, but eventually, I was out of breath again. I had to silently recite it to myself while I scaled the big hill. When the hill got to be very hard, I wasn’t even silently thinking about the Scripture anymore; I was out of breath and in pain; my mind wandered and then thoughts of stopping entered.
“No. I said aloud. I will finish!” Then, I remembered my Scripture again. I started thinking it, silently to myself. Eventually, I made it to the top of the hill, and I was able to catch my breath and say it aloud again. I decided to walk for five minutes and catch my breath. My mind wandered to a movie I recently watched with my family: Alice in Wonderland. I remembered the battle between good and evil and how Alice: the hero, was knocked to the ground, dropping her sword, she lay there out of breath for a moment.
I remembered Alice crawling over to get it, grasping it tightly and standing back up to fight the evil dragon. She even recited five impossible things aloud, encouraging herself to keep going. As I remembered this scene, I realized how the physical demands of running, caused me to lose my breath and even forget my scripture for a moment. And since the Word of God is the Sword of the Armor of God, I realized how the physical demands of life cause us to drop our Swords (i.e. the Word of God) for a moment, leaving us vulnerable to wandering minds of quitting thoughts. Just as Alice did, I realize that I must make the choice to physically crawl back over to my sword and consciously make the decision to pick it up and stand up to face the dragon, again. I also realize that the more I have trained myself in the Word, the more likely I am to recall it in times of turmoil. Prior training provides the muscle needed to crawl over to my Sword.
What stuck out for me in the movie, as well as within myself, was that the Sword is there, but it can literally go unused if we don’t make the choice to pick it up, even if we have to crawl over to it from where we were knocked down. If we decide to lay on the ground, or quit on the hard hills, the dragon will come, and we will find ourselves powerless. But oh, the power and victory that awaits us when we decide to persevere against the dragon with the Sword of the Spirit in our hand and upon our hearts.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.