OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #350 Don’t Give Up at the Beginning
It was a tough week of training a few weeks ago, so when Friday came my legs were already feeling tired for the LSD, or long slow distance run. I woke early, ate breakfast and hit the road. It would all be worth it in September when we do the Mountain Man race, a four-stage ironman-type competition in Edmonton.
The first km or two of a run always feels miserable as the body warms up, but I expected this to pass. Except it didn’t. My legs felt heavy like lead, made worse from bruises received on the obstacle course earlier in the week. As the GPS app on my phone signaled the fourth km, I thought I might need to turn around, to go home, and to try again another day. I was tired and achy. Maybe it was just not going to “come together.”
A voice inside nagged me: don’t give up at the beginning. I had just started, and hadn’t given it enough effort to consider stopping yet. I needed to go further. That single thought plagued me, propelled me. I pressed on until I reached a quarter, then half - I was too far from home to give up at that point, and too proud to call Jan. Finally I reached home, feeling glad I had not given up when I wanted to.
It seems to me this was a life lesson and not just for a day of running. So many of our good intentions suffer because we did not persevere through the difficulties. We sometimes we give up too early.
I’m not particularly fond of the word perseverance. It creates mental pictures for me of pushing a big rock up a hill. Hard tiring work. All effort and little joy.
There certainly can be joy in hard work, but most often it doesn’t come until the end. The grad walks the stage. The farmer harvests the crop. The runner crosses the line.
Biblical writers encourage us not to give up. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12*)
Don’t give up. There will be joy in the end.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Married to Jan, Troy is a chaplain and has more than 20 years of pastoral experience. This letter published July 9, 2017. *New International Version. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com