I do not like to run. Since I was a kid, running long distance has been something I’ve tried to avoid. I’ve often wondered why someone would want to run in the first place, unless they were trying to catch a bus or maybe being chased by a vicious dog. I do, however, like to walk. So, for years my exercise routine has been brisk walking. Whether on my treadmill or around my neighborhood, I love the exercise as well as the time to think and enjoy some solitude.
I’m not sure why, but several months ago, after walking on my treadmill for eight years, I tried a program that alternates between walking and running, as well as changing the incline, to create a more productive workout. After each short period of running, I literally breathed a "thank you" to the machine for allowing me to walk again. Yet strangely enough, when I was done I realized there was an aspect of running that I actually enjoyed. And so, I have been trying out different programs and have even gone walking/running in my neighborhood a few times, surprised by an activity I never thought I could enjoy.
I have discovered a trick that helps me to persevere just a little longer when I feel like I can’t run any more. Instead of stopping, I choose a location up ahead-either a park or an intersection-and tell myself that I can make it just a little further. And I can. I can’t run a marathon, or even a 5k at this point, but I can go just a little further when I feel like quitting. And I think that what is true in running is also true in my life.
I may feel overwhelmed, and the thought of making it through a difficult season may seem too difficult. But I can go a little further. I may not know how I will make it the distance, but I can choose today, in this moment, to say a kind word, to do something for someone even if I don’t feel like it, or to do something to take care of myself. Taking small steps, doing the next right thing, gives me the hope I need to make it through the challenge I’m facing.