I love running! It not only keeps me in shape physically, but it soothes my emotions and clarifies my thoughts. Lately, though, I’ve hit a rough patch with my running. It’s not our new neighborhood, which has wide roads and many routes from which to choose; it’s not the weather, which is always mild; it’s not a hectic schedule that threatens to cut into my running time. My real problem is that our house is on a hill. I’ll freely admit it is not a steep hill at all, just one of those slow, unobtrusive KILLER hills. On the run out, my times are fabulous; on the way back I’m totally slogging it, and have not improved my time or increased my distance in the month we have been settled into a routine here. And, believe me, I’ve been complaining about that hill to anyone who asks how my running is going. One day recently I even fell to the low of complaining about the rain on my run–on which point a good friend stopped me and noted that rain in Hawaii is, in reality, quite refreshing. I had to admit she was right, and I further reflected in the days that followed that perhaps my running problem of late is not really the hill, but rather my ATTITUDE about the hill. So today I took a different approach on my return trip. Instead of groaning as the sidewalk began to rise slowly into the distance, wondering if I was going to make it this time without walking (or puking), I decided to run that hill as hard as I possibly could (in the rain, by the way!). Maybe my pain would be just as great, but at least it would not last as long, right? As I attacked the hill with determined energy, the second half of that run fell away like nothing. I felt better at the end than I have in the last month, and my time finally improved!
What an amazing difference our mindset makes as we approach any difficulty in life! Paul said in Philippians 4:11b-13, “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I pray to follow Paul’s example and choose to take a positive attitude, whether I’m facing something as insignificant as a hill on a run or a more difficult obstacle in life.