I could never have written “The Joy of Running.”  Maybe “The Pain of Running.”  But I’ve still tried to run/jog a little through the years.  My current goal is to be able to run 3 miles regularly without stopping to walk/rest.  We’re not talking fast here – 3 miles in 30 minutes is a good goal for me.

It happened again this morning.  I usually hit my runner’s “wall” about 3 minutes into the run.  I start thinking, “I’ll never make it to 3 miles today.”  But maybe I can make one more lap.  The same thought occurs about every lap or two.  “I don’t think I will get the full three miles – maybe I’ll just do two.”

“OK, I made it that far.  I can do another lap.”  And so on.  I finally made it to three miles this morning, in 29:51.  One step at a time, one lap at a time.

I feel the same way as I read Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God.  Last week I introduced his story. 

Brother Lawrence acknowledged that being conscious of God’s presence “every hour, every minute, even in the height of my business” came neither easily nor quickly to him.  He wrote about his early attempts, “I found no small pain in this exercise, and yet I continued it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred, without troubling or disquieting myself when my mind had wandered involuntarily” (p. 26).

In this one quote he gives several points of wise counsel for developing this or other spiritual disciplines.  Don’t quit because it’s hard.  Don’t quit when it hurts.  Don’t quit when there are obstacles.  Don’t beat yourself up when you fail.  Remember that your mind and body sometimes resist your will.

Keep the goal in mind, but remember that it’s one step at a time, one lap at a time.

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