I hate to run. With a passion. It hurts. It makes me feel heavy, like 1000 bricks. I don’t understand how anyone could possibly enjoy it, sorry Emily haha. But today, I went for a run and as I was focused on the end of the pavement that seemed so endlessly long, I couldn’t help but think how much I needed to practice endurance, self-control, and patience. I was so focused on the end and the pain I had to feel to get to the end, and that I just wanted to get there as quickly as possible. But how can I expect my run to be easy without proper practice? This simple realization can be related to so many areas in my life. If we don’t train our bodies, hearts, and minds to be prepared for the “run” then things in life will be more difficult. Because I was so focused on the ending result and the pain I was feeling to get there, I stopped enjoying the beautiful things around me in the moment of passing them by. At times I’m sure I even overlooked and never noticed a blessing that could have been, because of my tunnel vision. These thoughts came pouring in during my short time running with my eyes glued to the stop sign at the end of the street. For a moment I stopped, dropping my hands to my knees and I looked to this scene, which was pretty gross and smelly, with litter covering the ditch. But right above the mess was a beautiful picture of wild flowers floating in the most beautiful sky. I was reminded in taking this simple picture that it’s okay to stop when needed to regain, refill, and recharge your mind, body, and spirit. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less than. It makes you stronger. It makes you better. It makes you wiser. It makes you more capable to get to the finish line in a healthy state. Sometimes we focus on getting to the ending result without realizing that the battle isn’t meant to be quickly reached. It’s gradual and it takes time and most importantly it takes a lot of endurance. It isn’t about who can get there the fastest. It’s about who can outlast this life’s tests and struggles and pains, with holding on to the faith in which we find in the cross. Starting today practicing endurance, in running and in life, my prayer is not to end up at the end of my life raggedy from suffering to get to that point as fast as I could, but to live joyfully in the present, in this moment God has blessed me with, trusting in his perfect gradual process for my life.