Quitting is in my DNA. I have a long list of unfinished projects that never seemed to get my full attention. I
started with great ideas and fervor. I leaned into the task and devoted my time and energy only to have my
attention divided or hitting an obstacle that would derail me. Somewhere there is a window unit air
conditioner still sitting in pieces waiting for me to address its issues. Okay, maybe not but I still am haunted
by past ventures followed by failure.
So it was with the usual excitement about 70+ days ago when I boldly declared that I would run a minimum
of 3 miles a day, push out at least 25 push-ups daily and power through 10 pull-ups each day that our
son was in Marine basic training on Parris Island. On one unfortunate day 47 days in and being filled with a
number of other responsibilities, I missed the mark of my commitment. It felt like all the other times when
failure reared its ugly head and sneered at me.
There was something different this time however. A son, our youngest, on his own journey of challenge was
the focus of my latest endeavor. Knowing in part what he was enduring each day drove me forward but not
without a great deal of struggle as I tackled that failure beast. The next day I chose to get back into the daily
regimen. Currently, it is 70 day, minus one, that my personal goals have been met. All this to say I am no
runner. I am a father who has made a living out of having my mouth write checks my backside can't cash.
As expected, feelings of tired brain and exhausted muscles have been my companions since August 5th.
An unexpected sidebar that has emerged is a new fervor for running. There are days still filled with many
responsibilities and when darkness falls and I haven't run the 3 miles, in the old days I would have sluffed it
off. Now, I don a headlamp and running gear and go run for our son and for my commitment.
Above and beyond this resolve another unexpected benefit has occurred. In the old days, hill running was
one of those ugly failure beasts that would scowl and remind me that I am no runner. I could hear that voice
saying, "Real runners run up hills. You are a failure." No longer do I cringe when I see a hill. A strange zeal
wells up within me and I scowl back and utter an insult toward that failure beast gently veiled in a hill.
Now, I feel like the younger version of Randy that used to get that runner's buzz when running. Now, I am
more in tune with my Creator and the one who powers my life. Now I see the culmination of Joe's time on
Parris Island and I am determined to finish well, finish strong, and finish!
Maybe you have has seasons in your life when failure was the norm and not the exception. Maybe you have heard that menacing voice gurgle at you of all your past mistakes and unfinished projects. Will you listen? Will you step backward and shrug your shoulders and give in? Or...….will you find purpose in your life and begin again to lean into a commitment that causes fire to well up inside? Hope so!
Failure is a given. Allowing God to pick you up and remind you of your worth so that your words and actions dovetail is the best response to failing and falling. Listen! Do you not know? Have you not heard?
"The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)
"A Musing Pastor"