Out of our Comfort Zone

“Come on! You’re on mile six and every step is a new personal record.” I shouted this while trying to motivate a group of young runners finishing up a long run. Allison, drenched in sweat, rolled her eyes and replied, “You already used that one on us. Try something else.” I laughed and shared a realism that motivated me, “You’re stronger with each step. Let’s go!”

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Running is paradoxical in the sense that we put ourselves in discomfort in order to gain greater comfort later on. After a long run I am weakened to the point of pure exhaustion…even that step into the shower can be daunting…yet I relish the strain on the body afterwards because I know that I pushed my limit. When I face a fear, I practically beat it just by facing it. When I overcome an anger or resentment, my capacity to forgive or love increases. When I accept the pain of a growing experience, I realize that there is a larger context to many feelings. Accepting my weaknesses and vulnerabilities opens me open to God’s grace which typically results in unforeseen perseverance and strength. Sensing this growth is impossible; we seem to only recognize it looking backwards. One can take the “no pain, no gain” approach too far, but for most of us, a little discomfort can be beneficial.

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