“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” Hebrews 12:12
After years of slipping into the sedentary lifestyle I decided to start running again. I used to be an athlete able to run fast or far depending on the race. Hurdles and the 200 yard dash were among my races, and I also ran cross country. On the cross country team the coach would load us on a bus and drop us off miles from campus. We had no choice but to run until we got home.
Now, years later, I set out to run again. At first it felt great! I was thrilled to get my stamina back and to push the pace. I felt the thrill of getting back in shape again, that is, until my knees seized up in pain. Pushing the pace was not an option as I stopped on the trail and gave my legs a shake in dismay. I had no choice but to slow my pace considerably, ice my knees and run shorter distances. It was discouraging.
Several weeks later my knees are starting to get stronger. I don’t look at all like the athlete I used to be. I kind of shuffle along monitoring my knees and giving them time to build up muscle again. I never had knee problems before. It used to be my shins but never my knees. I guess after years of a sedentary job, putting off running after two kids and a busy life have caught up with me.
I realize that this applies to many areas of life, physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. I like to tell my clients that care in all of these areas is important. It really does come down to facing the discomfort and taking yourself right up to the point at which you are weak and pressing a little bit beyond it.
My clients often tell me how exhausted they feel when they are in counseling. It’s true, when you are working on addressing emotions, thoughts, and changing behavior it is hard work. I encourage them to press on because eventually it will get easier. It’s a bit like strengthening your knees after not running for a while.
What are some areas that you are working on that make you feel feeble or weak? Don’t be discouraged and give up. Press on and slow your pace. It doesn’t matter if people see you shuffling along. It’s not a competition. It’s for you to get stronger and overcome something important. It is easy to let go of discipline and convince yourself you will get to it eventually. I finally decided I had been saying that long enough about running. It is not always fun to get out and run (really jog) but I always feel better when I am done.
Whatever it is that you are working on whether it be a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual discipline, press on at your own pace and you will get a little bit stronger each time.