A photo from my run at Holden Beach, North Carolina.

A photo from my run at Holden Beach, North Carolina.

Have you been on vacation yet? I had the opportunity this past week to go to Holden Beach with both of my brothers and their families and my parents. Because we’re spread out across the country, this was the first time in five years we’ve been together. It was fun to have some quality time with everyone.

Since I haven’t done much running since recovering from plantar faciitis and I have a 5K coming up, I knew it would be important to continue with my training. I stuck to the road for my runs.

The first day I ran I immediately noticed a difference. It was really flat, which made it easier, and it also made my run more boring.

Don’t get me wrong, after running in Atlanta where there are hills at every turn, it was nice to have a flat surface for a while. However, there wasn’t nearly the challenge or the feeling of accomplishment.

My brother, Steve, is a triathlete. He’s actually an Ironman. He runs wherever he travels because he’s always training for a race. He also commented about his first run at Holden Beach. He’s from Denver, Colorado, so it was really flat for him. He said,

I felt like I was running with an oxygen tank on my back I was taking in so much oxygen. When I run at home I feel like I can’t breathe. I ran four miles before even looking at my Garmin.”

I realized my run was indicative of life. Sometimes we all need a break from the obstacles and difficulties in life. It’s why we take vacations and go on retreats. We need time away, where things are a little easier, smoother. However, we can’t live on vacation, no matter how much we wish we could. Oh, it might be nice to try for a while, but eventually, we’d get bored.

The hills, the obstacles, the twists and turns of the course are what make the run a challenge. It’s also what makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you get to the end. You feel victorious. You came, you overcame, you conquered.

You also need the training in difficult circumstances to prepare you for the race. So on race day, you know you can handle whatever comes your way. If you turn a corner and see a steep hill, you don’t cower back, because you’ve trained running up and down hills.

James 1:2-4 says,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Life isn’t always easy. In fact, rarely is it easy. The Lord allows us to go through things in life to train us, to strengthen us, and to equip us for other things we’ll face on our journey. He wants us to have what we need to face the trials and circumstances that come our way. Some trials are speed bump size and some are mountains. If life was smooth and easy, then we wouldn’t know how to maneuver a trial when it came our way.

What does the path you’re running in life look like?