Heavenly Hills

Have you ever trained for a marathon or half marathon?  I have many times, and even though I don’t participate in them any longer, I still enjoy the training program.  It gives a spice of life to any running program and I enjoy the challenge of the hill training as well as the speed training days.  I find it boring if I don’t include these training days into my weekly running regime.

As I was running my hills yesterday, I was proud of the strength that I gained since I started back on a regular running routine.  During my training days, I would do a hill that is just outside my home that is a kilometer down from my house to the bottom and turn around and run a kilometer up the hill.  It is a difficult climb, but back in my hard core training days, I could easily do six kilometers of these bad boys.

I decided when I first started back running regularly that I was going to spice up my routine by adding a hill workout into my weekly plan and set out to do my all too familiar hill.  The run down was easy breezy, but the run up was harder than I could ever imagine.  I pushed hard and tried to stay mentally tough but as hard as I pushed mentally, my body just didn’t have the strength in it to continue running.  I was devastated, I had to walk the hill.

Through my walk of shame on this hill, I couldn’t believe how weak I let my body become.  I broke my foot a year and a half ago, and ever since then my desire to run dwindled and I let it slide.  It wasn’t my priority any more for some reason.

Once my body recuperated enough for me to run again, I continued to push myself one more time trying to finish my run strong.  Again, I couldn’t make it to the top.  Again, I was disappointed in my performance and knew in my head that this hill was going to be my new challenge for the summer.

It’s been four weeks since my first attempt at this hill.  My second week in I was able to finish the hill without walking.  I was so pleased, but nowhere near finished with this challenging hill.  My second week, I did a kilometer down and a kilometer up, then a half a kilometer down and up to increase my work load.  The third week, I repeated this again.  Last night, I finally repeated the cycle twice and completed four kilometers of this dreaded hill.  Still, I’m not done.  I will not be happy until I get back to doing the six kilometers easily as I had before.

Just like I had to start small to build my strength on this hill, we have to start small when we are building our spiritual strength as well, and you have to have the right mind frame and desire to pursue this challenge.  Doing hills can’t be forced on any runner, especially new runners just starting out on their running career, it will make them hate running.  I feel the same is true about spirituality.

I know it says in the bible to spread the word of God, and I try, but my feeling is, you can spread and spread and spread, but if people aren’t in a place in their lives to be open to this, they are not going to listen.  Just like my attitude on doing the hills after I broke my foot when running wasn’t my priority, I feel people go through a time in their lives that they think they don’t need spirituality and it isn’t a priority.  Just like the moment in my life when I realized the muscles in my legs were greatly deteriorating, I finally realized that it was time to do something about these weak legs I have.

It’s the same with spirituality.  Many times, people have to watch their lives crumble and hit bottom, totally deteriorate, before they realize the importance of having a time set aside in their day to grow and strengthen in the word of God and start to live their lives using his word.  Isaiah 40:31 explains, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Whenever you realize just how weak you have become, don’t worry, it won’t take you long before you are back running the hills again.  It just takes dedication and determination.  The same holds true with your spirituality.  If you want to be strong in life, his word is waiting for you to read, learn and apply to your life.  You will be stronger than you ever were before.  Pray about it, and watch the strength develop that you never knew you had.