I hate running sprints.
I have always had the worst endurance ever. Running sprints have always kicked my tail. I would so much rather run a mile than 10 20-yard sprints. I would. Seriously. I’m just not a fan.
But, my whole life, I have this weird 5 minutes after I run them where I think, “Man, I’m glad I ran those. That was kind of fun.” Pushing myself like that and stuff is enjoyable after the fact. I’m not good at pushing myself. But when a coach does it, and I proceed to participate, it’s a little boost of confidence when my fat self actually finishes the sprints.
There are lots of things in life we really don’t want to do. Practically, no one on planet earth wants to do homework for anything. Nobody wants to take out the trash. I really don’t want to lift weights at 5 p.m. every day. Not a soul wants to wait in line at the DMV. Emotionally, no one wants to care for other people all the time. No one wants to commit to loving people who don’t seem to love them back. There is no one ever who wants to watch a loved one leave this earth in physical death. Spiritually, we don’t always want to do more. I don’t necessarily want to just sit down and crack open the Bible. We don’t want to deal with people at our churches. We don’t want to admit that God’s plans for us are way better than our own. We don’t want to share the Gospel because it’s weird and, and we feel embarrassed.
No one wants to run the sprints.
You don’t do homework for fun. You do homework in order that you might retain information needed for a certain outcome. You don’t care for other people 24/7 because it’s the most convenient thing ever. You care for other people relentlessly because it’s the virtuous (and 10000% Jesus) thing to do. You don’t sit down and crack open the Bible for simply your own personal feelings. You crack open the Bible because Christ wants to talk to you, or because you don’t know what’s going on, or because there’s a yearning in your soul to know what your purpose is.
We don’t run sprints to have a great time. Pushing your body’s physical limits is not fun. It hurts. You run the sprints for what they help you accomplish. I did a ketogenic diet this time last year. I lost 45 pounds doing it. Was skipping out on Zaxby’s invites awesome? No. Was sitting far away from the cereal, so I didn’t eat any of it, convenient? Not really. Was eating glorified rabbit food (low-carb snacks are pretty sub-par) just a fantastic time? Of course not. But let’s not ignore the facts on the ground post-diet. Was fitting into an XL shirt better worth it? Totally. Was going down 6 inches in waist size worth it? 100%. Was more self-confidence in who I am in Christ an upgrade? Irrefutably. Was sleeping and physically feeling better greater than that cookie I skipped in March? Absolutely.
Bottom line: no one wants to run the sprints. Don’t waste anyone’s time with complaints about something you simply have to do. There is no virtue in fabricating a dragon to slay. We do this too often: I’m so busy… Church gets out late… I stayed up till 1 am doing homework… he really irritates me… I don’t have time to read my Bible today. These are some of the sprints we are unwilling to run. The brutal and unwavering fact of the matter is that stagnation— namely spiritually— doesn’t exist. You (me included) are moving forwards or backwards— to the Cross or away from it. You don’t “run the sprints,” and you get out of shape— plain and simple. It’s time to move on from what we have created ourselves to be, because we will always have manufacturers defects if we are the ones creating the product. We must ask, discern, and understand who Christ wants us to be— the perfect and holy Creator.
No one wants to run the sprints. But you know what?
When we get to the other side of the class, or the relationships, or the job interview, or the cancer, or the season, or the surgery, or the commitment, or the heartbreak, or the career search, or the lack of purpose, or the semester… or the sin that holds us back….
We’ll be glad we ran the sprints.