I hate running (my apologies to the Apostle Paul)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I Corinthians 9:24


I can’t tell you much I hate running. Hence the reason this has never been my favorite Christian metaphor.

Back when I was Shannon Kelley the College Student, I had to take a gym class in order to get my math education degree. (Even after all these years, my heart cries, why?) I soon discovered that it was basically a running class led by a Drill Sergeant-type professor. During “class,” he ran and talked with the cool athletes up at the front of the pack, occasionally shouting mean things toward those of us at the back. I loathed every minute.

In order to get an “A” on the final exam, we had to beat our personal best time. I ran around the track as fast as my little legs would take me, but it came down to the last few seconds. As I rounded the bend, I heard the Drill Sergeant (I mean, professor) shout the first and last words he’d ever speak directly to me:


“Come ON, Kelley! Just finish this and you’ll NEVER HAVE TO RUN AGAIN!”


I was so surprised he knew my name that I put on an extra burst of speed and made it to the finish line in time, laughing!

I’m sure he’d be surprised to know that I now do a lot of home exercise with my “friends” Chalene Johnson, Denise Austen, and more. Through this, I’ve discovered that I love the lateral moves. I prefer lateral lunged to front lunges, lateral raises to front raises, even side-to-side “skaters” and shuffling basketball drills to any kind of forward movement.

Lateral moves seem more natural to me—and easier on my joints. When one of my virtual trainers introduces a lateral move, I think, Great, I could do this all day!

…until it starts to hurt.

As I was doing my skaters today, I thought about my proclivity for those side-to-side movements. Here’s the thing:


Lateral movement gets us nowhere.


The Apostle Paul knew that.

Drifting from Bible study to Bible study without applying anything…

Serving the same old way without joy…

Going to church each Sunday without really joining in the worship…

Those lateral moves are taking us nowhere.

And just as with exercise, lateral spiritual moves start to hurt. Doing the same thing over and over doesn’t help us grow stronger; it just makes us sore, stiff, and uncomfortable. We weren’t made for that.


In your spiritual life, are you moving laterally or forward?

Are you really learning from your studies?

Growing closer to God and His people as you serve?

Really praying and praising in your church services?

Are you running the good race, fighting the good fight?


When we’re running the race for God, we have to go forward.


We were made for that.

And never forget: As your running, He sees you and knows your name.


Take the Challenge:  How are you going to make a “forward” move today?


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