Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sometimes you need to make a change...

The Run

This post will be kind of short tonight because it's late and I just got home from a basketball game. If I'm going to be up early enough to get in 6 miles tomorrow before school, I don't have time for a long post. So here goes!

Today was the 22nd day of Janathon and the first run in my new shoes. So far it seems like the shoes are going to be a good change. (Hence the title of this post and the idea for the message.) I'm not ready to divulge the brand and start singing their praises because I've only put 6 miles on them. Who knows what I'll have to say once I've pounded the pavement in them for a while longer?

But...I do have a really great first impression. Let me start by saying I've been running in the same brand of shoes for a long time, really since I started running again, so about 4 years. I've tried several models and some were better than others. Until last fall, I was running in a great model. I went through 3 pair of them over 9 months without injury and without pain. But that model was discontinued.

The newer version just wasn't the same. There's a huge trend in running toward a "minimalist" shoe. It's almost like they're trying to make shoes that are as close to barefoot running as possible when you have them on. That's the problem I've been having with the newer version of my old shoes.

I'm a pretty big guy for a runner, 225 pounds. So there's a lot of shock to absorb when my foot hits the ground running. Shoes without much padding or cushion in the soles leave my feet to take all that pounding. For a long time, I've had significant pain in my lower legs and knees after runs, even shorter 5 and 6 mile runs.

But today I ran for the first time in these new shoes, and I loved it! After 6 pretty good miles, I had NO pain in my feet, my calves, my Achilles, my heel, or anywhere in my leg below the knee! I can't tell you how long it's been since I could say that. Once last year my principal asked me if I was hurt because he saw me limping. I replied, "No. I just ran 6 miles this morning."

I was convinced the pain was just something I'd have to accept if I continued to run. I figured I am getting old and there's just going to be pain, and limping. But today was different.

I didn't limp and my feet didn't hurt and my calves didn't hurt and my ankles didn't hurt and...well, you get the picture. So far it looks like this change to a new shoe was a pretty darned good idea!

The Message

Sometimes, change is a good thing in our lives too. Sometimes we need to make small changes, and sometimes really big ones. Too often, we refuse to make changes that will certainly make our lives (and the lives of our loved ones) a whole lot better.

I'm a completely different person than I used to be. I've changed drastically, and I believe it's for the better. Even when I wasn't a "bad" person doing "bad" things, I had my priorities in the wrong place. I spent years and years thinking, believing the key to happiness was in material wealth. Then, the more money I made, the more money I had, the more money I wanted, and the more money I thought I needed. There was never enough. I always needed more.

I couldn't be satisfied and I was never really happy back then. Now, I make less than I did all those years ago, but I'm content. I'm not stressed and I have time for things more important than chasing dollars. That was a change I needed to make.

A lot of people resist change like the plague, even when there's nothing to like about their current life. They can be completely miserable with where they are and get offended when you suggest changes that could make them happier.

I've been reading the book of Jeremiah for a while now. For quite few chapters lately, I've been studying a period in the history of Israel where God's people were in open rebellion against Him. God was speaking through Jeremiah to tell His people they needed to make a change. He told them what would happen if they didn't, and he promised to forgive them if they did.

But they refused to listen. They refused to make that so needed change.

"...For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." -- Jeremiah 31:34

I know quite a few people right now who need to make a change. Their choices and their lifestyle have them plodding down a path of misery and hopelessness. They're not happy at all, but they don't want to change. They refuse to listen to others' suggestions, others who are content, who aren't miserable. Instead, they continue trudging down that same destructive path, complaining the whole while they're charging down the road that brought them to where they are.

If you find yourself in that position, or you know someone in that position, there's a change you can make that I promise will lift you out of whatever miserable place you may find yourself in. That change is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. There's a link at the bottom of this post that gives more detail on what exactly that means.

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." -- Romans 10:13

But if you make that change, it won't matter what material state you find yourself in, because there's hope, hope for a future without pain, without suffering, without death, and without misery.

Sometimes you need to make a change...and for some...that sometime is now.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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