I've been memorizing a passage in 1 Corinthians 9 over the past few weeks. To say it has made an impact on me is an understatement. Let me back up and explain. A few years ago I started running. I'm not an expert. I'm not fast. But I do want to be around to play with my grandchildren someday. So I started running.
Let's be completely clear. The runner's high is real and amazing and rare. For the most part for me, running is about grinding it out, pushing limits and fighting with the often loud voices in my head that say, "you should stop NOW!"
A few years ago, Kerra decided to run a half marathon. I cheered her on and not to be outdone I signed up for one as well. In cold December, I finished my only (so far) "half." It was terribly difficult. My lungs burned. My legs burned. But when I finished that race, I experienced a level of tired that cannot be matched. It was a good tired: the kind that comes when you've worked so hard to accomplish a goal. I could barely walk and I certainly wasn't experiencing a runner's high, but I was satisfied and filled with deep joy.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says,
"24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
This passage makes so much sense of life in light of that experience. For me, to run aimlessly is often not fun and not fulfilling. That's why when I'm not signed up for a race, I rarely stick with training. But when there is a prize in front of me to attain, the game is changed.
There is a good and a bad tired.
There is a satisfied tired and frenzied and frustrated one. The difference is found in whether your chasing something worthwhile or just running aimlessly trying to keep up with life. I want good tired at the end of my day. I want the kind of tired that comes from clear vision and calculated intentionality in my work, relationships, family and life with God.
Friends, we're all tired. I don't think we can avoid it completely. But I'd ask you some clarifying questions that I've been asking myself,
"Are you landing your punches?"
"Do you have a clear vision of what you're after"
"Is it worthwhile and imperishable?"
So let us be tired, but let it be good.