Stretching Out Spiritually for a Long Distance, Enduring Faith

As I progress as a runner, I am learning that a good amount of my time is spent on injury management. Running really isn’t about whether or not you will get hurt… it’s about how badly you’ll hurt and what you do to push through it.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I recently had a birthday. Brian Regan once said that, once you reach a certain age, when you injure yourself, you pretty much need to get used to that pain in perpetuity. In the same vein, Matt Chandler once mentioned that it is actually possible to hurt yourself while sleeping.

On a run earlier this week, I set out for a longer distance than I would have thought possible just a few months ago… 4 miles. It was a cool morning, and I planned out a course that would add a little extra distance to one of my usual 5K training routes so I could kinda trick myself into running further. And it worked.

But there were a couple of places on the route that I had to stop in my tracks. It was either that, or leave my kneecap behind, rolling around on the sidewalk somewhere.

I have been nursing a knee “niggle,” or nagging pain, for a few days. I went a little off-road through some grass a few days before and landed awkwardly on my right side, and my knee didn’t like it one bit. I’ve been stretching a lot, and it is manageable. But it’s still there.

And it fought me during those 4 miles.

I had to stop two or three times and stretch it out. Once the endorphins started flowing and the stretching took hold, I was able to finish well. But I needed those breaks to make sure I could go at it to the end.

The Apostle Paul often referred to the Christian life in terms of a race. Johnny Hunt has often publicly postulated that Paul was an athlete or at least a fan of athletics. He was able to identify with racing, and used it often as a metaphor.

Sometimes, in our walk with Christ, we all need to stop and stretch.

Nagging spiritual injuries pop up, and they need to be worked through. We don’t necessarily stop. But we do deal with the problem, because, if we don’t, it will cripple us. We work through the pain and discomfort (or, guilt, doubt, anger, fear, etc…), and we press on.