Life can be the most brutal burn on you figurative muscles...mind, body and soul. The Christian race that is set before you may seem impossible and impossibly painful. You ask, "How long, O Lord?" You think, "Is there any end to this?" The enemy of our soul comes in to discourage us, "There is no end. Just give up."
There is a thing in marathon running called the "runner's high". "Psychologically, runners may experience euphoria, a feeling of being invincible, a reduced state of discomfort or pain, and even a loss in sense of time while running," says Jesse Pittsley, PhD, president of the American Society for Exercise Physiologists.
There is a runner's high for the Christian as well, when God breathes new life and new energies into you where there was nothing left before. The discomfort and pain fade as you get a sense of God lifting you up out of the agony and setting you in the heavens. But how do we tap into His grace for our endurance race?
Hebrews 12:1–2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Just as Jesus endured the most brutal path through setting His joy before His face (YOU! You are dearly loved and deeply desired by God!), we must set Jesus before our face. One way you can do this is to make a list of your joy...seriously, write out a list of your joy and keep it with you all the time. I do this by having it typed out on my phone because my phone is always with me. When the race gets agonizing and my efforts are spent, out comes my list and I pray through it. Then the breath of God, like a mighty rushing wind, comes blowing into my life, filling up my sails...and the race continues with new hope and new purpose.
Right now, write out 5 things you love about Jesus, 5 specific ways He showers His love on you, and 5 reasons why it's worth it to keep pressing on in the race that is set before you. These 15 things will be the joy that will keep you moving forward.