One of the most important aspects of physical fitness is the development of endurance. Unfortunately, this isn't an easy process. In order for our endurance to improve, we must continually push ourselves to go farther or do more than we did previously. In the process, we get to deal with the soreness and fatigue that are direct byproducts of the effort to increase our endurance. If we desire to improve our health through greater endurance, we have to accept the discomfort that comes with the effort.
Milton Berle was referring to this paradox when he said, "My doctor told me that running could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already!"
No one is instantly ready to run a marathon, and if you tried without preparing you would likely fail. The key to successfully developing endurance is to focus on a goal. Like so many of the things we share each week, this truth applies both to our physical goals as well as the spiritual ones.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul wrote, "We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."
The Christians in the Thessalonian church were inspired to endure by the hope they had in Jesus Christ. In his book the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren wrote that "the secret to endurance is to remember that your pain is temporary but your reward will be eternal."
Developing endurance isn't easy and the process will often lead to pain, soreness, even suffering, but we can be successful if we keep our focus on the goal. What are your goals? Have you taken time to set physical and spiritual goals? If not, this week would be a great time to consider the question. Don't be afraid to write them down or share with someone else, that will help you stay focused.
If you would like others to encourage you along the way, I invite you to join us as we meet this week. On Wednesday we will meet at noon at the Springfield entrance to Pre's Trail (the corner of Aspen and D Streets near the playground). On Saturday we will meet at 8 am at Alton Baker Park and join a group that is training for the Pacific Northwest Marathon. (They will be starting their run at 7 am, but hopefully we can still connect and support them) And on Sunday we will meet at 3 pm at Clearwater Trail.
Have a great week!