I just signed up for the Savage Race. It’s one of those ridiculous mud runs with obstacles. Yes, I know, I’m crazy. 🙂 If anyone wants to run with me in race on April 18th, let me know. I’d love for you to join our team.
The Savage Race isn’t for everyone. My wife isn’t running because I married a wise woman. (One of us needed to have some caution.) However, while the Savage Race may or may not be your idea of a good experience, I think all Christians should consider signing up for an endurance event at least once in their life–maybe several times. If not a mud run, then a 1/2 marathon or long distance cycling event or any of the many other options.
I know, that’s a pretty bold statement–and I’m pretty cautious about making “everyone should” statements. And there are always situations where this won’t be true. For example, anyone with a physical disability probably doesn’t need extra training in endurance. They could probably teach the rest of us all about endurance. But for those with don’t deal with something like that day after day, training for and completing an endurance event might be one of the best ways to grow as a Christian.
Let me be very clear, I’m not suggesting this for the physical benefits. Sure, it will be good for your body to do long runs or rides. But the mental and emotional work required to complete a long, grueling experience is far more valuable–and longer lasting–than a better body.
Keep in mind that I’ve never enjoyed distance exercise. I always chose sprints or sports (when I bothered to exercise). I’m saying this as someone who is doing what is unnatural me–and growing tremendously because of it.
As you train for the endurance event, each exercise session gives you practice choosing to do uncomfortable things in hopes of a long-term reward. Each day your sore muscles complain, but you exercise anyway, strengthens your ability to make difficult choices in other areas of your life.
See, at the heart of Christian maturity is perseverance. If you want to be more godly, improve your ability to endure.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
There are a lot of verses like this, but I think you get the point.
Endurance training for you body can improve your emotional endurance, too. You don’t have to wait around for real life troubles to practice perseverance. You can grow that aspect of your character on purpose. You can increase your endurance so you’re ready when a hard relationship moment happens. Besides, having more physical energy makes all this easier, too!
What is your way of increasing your endurance ability this year? If you don’t have one planned yet, maybe you should come run with me! 🙂 But whatever you do, don’t just sit around and wait for endurance to come to you–go get it.