Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running Lesson #11

Permanent vs. Temporary

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call…” [Phi. 3:14]

It’s that time of year again when you find out how badly you want to run. Chilly temps, wind-chill factors, and icy spots all remind you ever so rudely that it is winter and you are outside! While being outside beats the treadmill any day no matter the weather, it does have a way of making you sort out your priorities. There’s an adage that says, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only weak people.” I don’t know if that is true but I do know that conditions will force you to decide how permanent your goals are.

I run when it’s time to run and not when all the conditions are just right; the only exception being dangerously hot weather. (My entire plan will be put to the test while I’m in Montreal the last week of January!:-)) After many hours of running in less than ideal conditions, I have concluded this: the nature of my action is determined by the nature of my goal. If my goals are permanent then my actions are too; if my goals are fleeting my actions will be as well.

For example, if I am suddenly inspired one beautiful spring day to get out and enjoy the beauty of our Creator, as many are, I will do so. And while that is a worthwhile goal, it won’t get me out the door on a nasty January morning when His handiwork isn’t as obvious. My goal was temporary (perfect days don’t last) and so was my action.

On the other hand, if my goal is a spring marathon I will head out the door regardless the current weather because my objective is still ahead of me. I have short term goals (races) and a singular long term goal guiding what I do (good health). Because my goals are not affected by weather, neither are my actions. The conditions are temporary but my goals are not.

Now, let’s make this practical for the Christian race. If we forget our permanent goal, we’re going to make some bad choices that are based on temporary circumstances. Pleasure, popularity, and possessions do not last, yet how many times do we short circuit our long term goal by placing priority on these very temporary actions? With temporary goals, temporary actions work; but if our goal is enduring we’ll have to think long term. Why did Paul “press on”? Because of his goal to have “the prize”. We too will win the race if we do the same. Think about it and press on!

Gotta run!