I have been lifting weights for about 8 weeks, and I hate it! It's tough, it's boring, it keeps me from doing all the fun stuff I'd rather be doing. When school starts back up next week, my schedule will be infinitely busier than it currently is, so yesterday I sat down and tried to condense my lifting time from an hour and 15 minutes to just 30 minutes. I had to carefully look at each exercise in my plan to decide which ones worked identical muscle groups and discard those. Then I still needed to trim off a few minutes, so I had to look at the exercises again to prioritize which ones work my worst areas. I was grumbly about having to mess with this at all. Why wasn't I born with great genetics?
As I was messing with and grumbling about my weights, God brought to mind Hebrews 12:1-3. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." (King James)
"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." (NIV)
In my weight lifting program, all of the exercises that I am doing are beneficial. They are all good things. But I can't fit them all into my schedule. I find that in life I carry too many weights. There are many good things in life that I participate in that because of the time commitment involved prevent me from doing what God has planned for me to do.
Weights can be too heavy to carry. I am very limited on the amount of weight I can lift. I am very excited when I can move the pin down a notch on my weight machine. Yesterday I was doing some leg presses with a heavy weight, but I forgot to change the setting before I did my butterflies. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get the weights to even budge. There are burdens in my life like that. No matter how hard I try, I cannot carry them alone and they hinder me from serving Christ. I continually have to "check my setting" to make sure that I am not trying to lift burdens that Christ wants to carry for me.
I love the last part of the verse. Maybe because I love running. "let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Runners do not carry any extra weight. They wear very light clothing, some even shave their body hair to reduce their friction, and they run with empty hands. How silly would it be for an Olympic long distance runner to take off carrying heavy weights on his shoulders! He would be jeopardizing his chances for success. Yet I try to run my race with tons of extra stuff weighing me down. Is that not just as silly?
I am praying that God will keep my eyes open to be aware of things in my life that are too heavy for me to carry alone, as well as things that may not be bad, but are keeping me from doing the important things. I also like the perseverance part, or as another translation puts it, "keep running and don't give up." That's the secret to being a successful runner. When it becomes tough, the adrenaline rush is just about to happen. If I stop at that moment, then I am just defeated and tired. If I keep running, then I reach that supreme moment of adrenaline rush, and I build up my endurance. I am praying that God will give me the strength to run my race with endurance and to not give up.