It’s easier to post about victories, like my marathon training progress last fall, but tonight it’s just me “getting back in the saddle.” It’s so discouraging to have been running so much, almost finished with a marathon training program, and now find myself at what I’d consider to be square one. My run was pretty rough tonight, but I did it, pushing all 80ish pounds of my two kids, stroller and all.
The verse, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13) kept coming to mind as I ran- it’s not just the bad things we should leave behind, but even the great things we’ve done in order to think clearly about our present state. Wish I could ride my training victories forever, setting new PR’s on a 5k, half marathon, and farthest distance ever run, but I can’t stay there. Have I mentioned how much I learn from running?
“Getting back in the saddle” brings mixed emotions. It feels great to pick up something we love again, but when’s it’s been awhile, we are keenly aware of the contrast between our formerly perfected craft, and the gap between where we are now and where we used to be. However, learning from our failures is key to keeping the pace in the marathon race, it’s not always about touting the experience of summiting a mountain, but what happened in us when we didn’t.
Starting at square one is never fun after you have come so far in the past, but I’m trying to be aware of what I’m learning on the journey. Paul mentions a similar pattern of thinking in Philippians 3 as he tells us to forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead. In this passage, he recognizes that he still has so much to grow in, and yet in the same passage, he commends us to initiate him in his pursuit of Jesus. There is humility in forgetting what is behind (both the good and the bad) and simply striving towards what’s ahead, as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith in the great marathon of life (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Getting back in the saddle again is part of the great race of life: fall down, get up, learn, change, repeat. Here goes repeat.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:12-14
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”-Hebrews 12:1-2