Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Lesson from Running

I have been training at a local park for an upcoming 5k race.  I'm far from an expert on running, but I would say that 3.1 miles is about the shortest distance that can be considered "distance" running.  I would also suggest that pace is the key to distance running.

I realized yesterday that I do better on my pace (and time) when there are more people walking or running on the track.  If I am going around someone or if there is someone ahead of me, my eyes stay focused and my strides exhibit a sense of purpose or urgency.  If, however, there is no one else on the running path, I take short, choppy strides and my mind and eyes tend to wander from directly in front of me to things on the periphery.

It hit me yesterday that this is a picture of the spiritual walk for many of us.  When we have people around us, we are more deliberate about our actions, but when we are alone, we are sometimes prone to wander.  That really frames this commonly shared definition: Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one else is around.

As a man, I like to perform in sight of others.  It's part of the way we guys are wired.  What football team would work as hard as they do to play in an empty stadium?  We love to perform in front of others.  The challenge with integrity is to practice it not just when others are around, but when you think you are all alone.  Here's the catch:  you are never all alone.  Your all-seeing, all-knowing Creator is around all the time.  He's not waiting to swat you when you make a mistake.  He's there for you to enjoy.  So the next time you are running alone, run with all you've got for His glory.  And perhaps, like the Olympic medalist Eric Liddell, you can feel His pleasure.

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