About a month ago, I was in a pretty difficult spot. I was overwhelmed by lots of different things. Ministry can be extremely demanding and I was getting steamrolled. It wasn’t that anything was really going bad, it was simply that I had too much happening at the same time and I just couldn’t juggle it all. I found myself feeling frustrated, stressed, and discouraged.
Along with some of the stress and many things I was dealing with, I was also unable to run and train for the upcoming OKC marathon. This run is very important to me. I have committed to run in honor of my son, Trey. But, due to the lack of training, I had pretty much resided that there was no way I was going to be able to do it. This discouraged me even more and just added to the problems.
To make a long story short, some of the issues I was dealing began to resolve and my schedule began slowing down a bit. I was even able to run a few times in the last couple of weeks. Emily and I were also blessed by some people in our church who provided a way for us to get a way for a couple of nights. We were able to rest and recharge a little. It was great.
And then today happened…
I sat down last week to work out a running plan and see if it would even be possible to still pull off the full marathon at the end of April. The plan looked good on paper, but I knew it would really stretch me physically. Today was my first day to attempt a long run. Anyone who runs marathons knows that you have to put in the mileage…there is no way around it. So, I decided I was going to attempt to run 10 miles today and try to bump it to 14 next week…and just keep going up from there. So, I went to run.
When I started out, my muscles were tight. I had run a couple of short runs this week and I was still sore. This was not a great way to start a long run, but I pressed on. As I ran, I found myself getting looser. I started feeling good. Before I knew it, I had run 3 miles, then 6, and then 9. I was tempted to quit while I was ahead, but then I decided to just keep going. I thought, “If I can run 10 or 10.5, that would be great.” This would be a big mental victory for me. Well, 10 miles came and went, along with 10.5, and I just kept going. I ran a total of 13.1…which as most people know is a half marathon. I absolutely couldn’t believe it. What I really couldn’t believe was how good I felt. It was a much needed lift to my spirit.
As I ran today, I had a thought though: just a few weeks ago, I felt like I was about to drown…I was discouraged and feeling defeated, but here I was today with some of those things behind me, running 13.1 miles. It was as if the Lord said, “Jeremy, you are going to have lots of seasons in your life where you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be discouraged. These things will pass and I will see you through. Just keep going in My strength.” It was an “ah ha” moment for me, if you will. Here I was about a month ago not sure I could go on, and today, I was doing what I never thought I’d be able to do. I know I have lots of more work to do, but I know with God’s strength, I can do it.
I think so much of the Christian life, our sanctification, is about learning how to do the basic things well. Things like trusting and obeying God! Things like persevering and enduring in God’s strength. Things like loving our neighbor and treating others the way we want to me treated. The Christian life is not rocket science…rather, it is doing simple things with completely dependence on God. It is walking in His strength and power. The problem is, those simple things are incredibly hard to do. They all fly in direct opposition to our sin nature. What we have to do, is get up each day and truly submit to the Lordship of Christ! That’s the only way to make it through this life.
A few weeks ago, I was failing because I was attempting to do things on my own. I was not making good decisions with my schedule and trying to do too many things. My personality wants to help everyone, but I’m realizing, I can’t possibly help everyone. I know I should know that, but sometimes I have to be reminded. I have to learn to say “no” sometimes and I have to manage my schedule in God’s wisdom and strength.
Also, I think we all just have to realize that there will be crazy, difficult, disappointing, and overwhelming seasons of life…and sometimes all we can do is just hang on tightly to the Lord until the storm passes. God does not always remove the storms or the pressures in life, but He does walk with us through them. If you are there right now, just know, it will pass. Hang on to the Lord, keep trusting Him, and He will see you through.
In the meantime, I will keep running…literally and figuratively…and I know God will see me through. The picture below was taken three weeks before Trey got sick. He ran in a 1 mile Labor Day fun run and did great. He was 6 years old at the time. I remember being so proud that he ran the entire mile. As we finished, I was pointing at him and celebrating his accomplishment with others. It was like I was saying, “Look everyone. Can you believe he finished?” Well, he did finish and he finished well…both in the race and in life.
When I run, I run for Trey, and I want to finish like him. Today, I kept seeing him…I kept running toward him…I kept chasing him. For the rest of my life, I will do all that I do, to bring glory to God and to honor my son. The race of faith he ran, is one I can only hope to emulate. So Trey, as I ran today, I imagined you ahead of me and I kept pointing at you. I kept chasing you. I kept feeling so proud of you. I only hope I can make you as proud. I love you so much buddy. You are the TREYMAN…you are my hero! Thank you for inspiring me to be better in every way. I love you son and I will keep running until I see you again!
Truly we must walk in His strength and power . In every area of life. Thanks for reminding me . You are a great tribute to your son Trey
I woke up this morning feeling very overwhelmed and I kept asking God what was wrong and He lead me to your article.Wow I needed to read this! God used your words “just keep going in My strength” cause right now the flesh just wants to go back to bed and forget everything. So thanks for the encouragement!!!
Pastor Jeremy and Emily. May you keep pressing forward. The Kingdom of God is strengthen ed by faithful servants like you.
Thanks for sharing. I’m always encouraged by your strength and faith!