After slightly more than four hours of sleep, I woke up Monday morning and went for a run before work. I was wiped out before the day even really got started … and it was a long one. After working a full day, I came home to my worst nightmare: the yard needed to be mowed, the dishes and laundry done, and it was a toasty 95 outside. Ok, so maybe that’s not my worst nightmare, but it’s close. Thankfully, I got a new mower, so I as expecting things to be easier …
Expectations …. Ugh. I took the bagger off the back of the mower and tied up the door so it would blow out the chaff instead of mulching. Because the door was right by my legs, I decided pants were a good idea. And they were, mostly. I only got three large bruises from being hit by UFOs, instead of gaping wounds. But it was so hot outside. And so hot in jeans. And before long, I was a sneezing mess, covered in dirt and debris and wishing I could just go in, wash the yard off and lay around. But the dishes were waiting. And so was the laundry. And I just remembered I needed to go to Wal-Mart, when all I really wanted to do was go to bed!
I was almost done with the yard before my muscles began to cry out for mercy. My legs, already hurting from the morning run, were screaming in agony and my arms were threatening to go on strike. I willed myself forward. “I am almost done!” I yelled, encouraging my rebellious muscles to keep going. “I am not quitting now!”
The mower died.
I had to walk all the way back to the garage to grab the gas can, take it back to the mower and fill it up, walk back to the garage and put it away, then get back to mowing the last little part of the yard. I was sooooo done. But not really.
I pressed on. I did what I had to do, finished up the yard and twenty minutes later, pulled a cold water bottle out of the fridge before hopping in the shower. One chore down, several more to go. Oh my aching body!
I finally crawled into bed after ten, completely worn out but done. I conquered my chore list for the day. More than that, I conquered my deep desire to quit long before I was officially done. As I lay in bed praying, the Lord impressed this truth on me: sometimes, there’s so much more than running. Sometimes, there’s what you planned to do, and a bunch of other things after it that will tax you beyond your current capacities. You will have to press on and do the much more, despite every part of you screaming for relief and threatening rebellion. There will be times in your life that require patient endurance and you will have to encourage yourself to keep going. Make yourself keep going. This is the Christian’s walk.
I mistakenly thought that running would be the most taxing thing I would do yesterday. I was wrong. I also thought my muscles couldn’t handle the great strain of pushing the mower up and down hills for over an hour. I was wrong again. I thought four hours of sleep wouldn’t be enough to last through work, much less the seemingly impossible chore list afterward. Thankfully, I was so wrong.
In our lives, there will be many opportunities to quit. There will be many days we don’t think we’ll make it. Many situations and ongoing circumstances that require so much more of us than we can imagine ourselves giving. There will be times real life doesn’t quite measure up to our expectations and we find ourselves facing things we just know we can’t do. These are the moments we find out who we are. These are the moments we find out who God is, and how strong we are in Him. These are the moments He strengthens what remains and we press on despite our fleshly desire to lay down and die. These are the moments we have to encourage ourselves, because others might not be around to do it for us. But when it’s all said and done, we can be victorious. We can be victorious. And in case you didn’t quite get that, we can be victorious! We don’t have to let life defeat us. It might hurt. We might falter. We might cry and scream and throw a temper tantrum. But we don’t have to quit. We shouldn’t quit. When we are weak, then He is strong. God is faithful. He will not let us down. In our hardest, or darkest, hour, we can trust him. We can push through. We can make it. Even when it hurts. On those days, when there’s so much more than running, just know there’s an end to the struggle, even if you can’t see it yet. You will get there and you will be victorious!