I can still recall the first time I was required to run a quarter-mile for time. As a 15 year old, I felt running one time around that track would be a piece of cake.
Well, like many, I hit the proverbial wall as I rounded the final turn, having not properly paced myself for the inevitable. You see, my body was built for sprinting rather than medium distances, and the muscles in my legs started tightening and my pace became embarrassingly slow.
More than 60 years later, I’ve learned the significance of pacing myself in all I do. We all have and need to know our limitations.
Let me share one other running experience from my early 40s:
Early in my insurance career, one of my clients, an attorney, persuaded me to sign up for a 10K race to support his service club in Pasadena. Since I was jogging 5K three times a week religiously in those days, once again I reasoned the run would be fairly easy.
What I did not consider was the event itself and the course I’d be running with hundreds of other competitive runners. The Run for the Roses course went up and down the hills surrounding the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. All my training had been on the flatlands and I soon realized that the course would be more challenging than I anticipated.
I did pace myself, running around seven-minute splits, which was slightly slower than my flatland jogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
As I neared the finish line with less than 400 meters to go, I sensed the need to pick up the pace and complete the race with a respectable time. Since it was all downhill, I decided to simply increase my stride.
Unfortunately, I heard and felt a pop in my right hamstring that almost brought me to my knees. Twenty years prior, during my baseball days, I had strained my right hamstring one summer and continued to play with it taped for the remainder of the season. There was no doubt in my mind this was the same area I had obviously injured years before and which had never properly healed.
I did finish, limping the last leg of the race on my one good leg. It was important for me to finish and not DNF (Did Not Finish) even though I fell well back in the pack with more than 100 runners passing me by as I limped home.
These events both happened before I accepted Christ as Savior and Lord of my life. I know how to attack the wall that often comes up and rears its ugly head of adversity in diverse ways.
Our lives are not easy, but nothing should keep a devoted follower of Christ from reaching the finish line.
What makes me say this is knowing firsthand that we don’t run the race alone. We not only have others to call upon. We have the Holy Spirit living inside us as well and can call upon His strength to persevere in all life’s trials.
The Apostle Paul explains the dilemma we face in Galatians 5:7-10. Let me share those verses as the apostle writes to his brothers and sisters in Galatia:
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. ‘A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.’ I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.”
You see, Paul had hit many walls in his race to the finish line, and he knew how to withstand the enemy who wants us to give up and give in.
Hitting the proverbial wall? If you find yourself struggling in business matters, in health issues, in family circumstances or whatever else you face in life, all I need say is this: You don’t need to face those trials and hardships alone. Your Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to come to Him.
Yes, you do need to let Him know that you realize that you are in need and admit to Him, and perhaps others around you, that you’re in a real mess and are asking Him to come into your life and take control of everything this day forward.
Follow Him and you’ll find yourself on the road that leads to peace and prosperity.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at email@example.com for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.