We’ve been thinking and talking a lot about endurance at Grace Capital Church over the past few weeks.
I think people look at endurance in two different ways. Some feel that endurance is slogging through life, enduring all the troubles that come along with life, with the hope of making through yet one more day of life. Others feel that endurance is one step closer to victory; endurance is building ourselves up to be victorious over all the trials that do come.
I believe that endurance is a positive thing that can only lead me to victory. I believe that slogging through life with the hope of making it through one more day is better defined as perseverance. There are times we have to preserver, but we can always endure.
I’m training for a half marathon that I’ll run in October. My training is designed to build up my endurance, not my perseverance. Endurance sets me up for victory, perseverance sets me up for weariness. (Writer’s note: Victory for me in this half marathon is defined as finishing strong and within the timeframe I have trained for; I have no visions of winning the entire race.)
The funny thing is that I can endure or I can preserver; I can set myself up for victory or for weariness in the same circumstance. Think about it. I can preserver through a 9-mile training run and feel weary at the end, or I can endure a 9-mile training run and feel victorious at the end by knowing that I’m closer to my goal and that I’m setting myself up to reach that goal.
So, I can choose to endure. I can choose victory. Or, I can choose to persevere and become weary.
Gideon is one of my heroes from the Old Testament. I love his humility and how God called him out as a mighty warrior and I love how he was obedient was victorious even through his humility. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I can read about Gideon and find someone who felt the same way and still found success.
The last time I read about Gideon, something new came to light for me. In Judges 8:4 I read, “Gideon and his three hundred arrived at the Jordan and crossed over. They were bone-tired but still pressing the pursuit (The Message). Gideon and his mean were almost too tired to carry on, but they kept pressing on in what God had called them to do.
Recently, as I was training to run a half-marathon I felt bone-tired a few times and felt like skipping my training for the day. Some days the 5-mile or 8-mile run seemed like it would take more energy than my body contained. The temptation to skip training for the day was overwhelming. However, I knew I had to keep moving forward in my training. I knew that I had to feel tired but train anyway.
Training is hard and it isn’t fun. There is no glamour in it, sometimes the weather stinks, sometimes traffic is annoying, sometimes my knees hurt. But, I know that I must feel tired but train anyway in order to complete my goal of completing a half-marathon.
Now, fast-forward to race day and as feeling fit, ready, and running I think about those days when I trained even though I was tired and I felt a sense of satisfaction in the fact that I trained on those bone-tired days.
Life can be that way. We might feel bone-tired and feel like we just can’t get through the day’s events. But, so many times the victory comes from the self-discipline of feeling tired but doing it anyway, just like Gideon and his men. The sense of satisfaction usually doesn’t show up until much later, after we’ve been able to rest a little, but it eventually comes as the truth sets in that we have overcome the limitations our mind would put on us.
Sometimes, all of us are going to have to feel tired but do it anyway. Self-discipline isn’t fun, it isn’t glamourous, and it isn’t pain free, but it is rewarding and there is satisfaction that we can only find when we practice that self-discipline – and feel tired but do it anyway!