Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All Pain, No Gain

I panted for breath, but I couldn't seem to pull enough air into my lungs. I pulled my fists into my chest, inhaling, then they rocketed forth on my exhale. I lost momentum and my opponent beat me around my face, my chest, my gut. No matter how hard I worked, I only landed an occasional punch. Hesitating a fraction of a second too long, my breath coming hard, she landed a full-on right swing to my mouth and I fell backward, eyes rolling back, and the referee counted off 1-2-3. A knockout. I guess I just wasn't cut out for Wii boxing.

I don't know if you've ever Wii boxed, but I did and I woke up with the sore muscles to prove it. How in the world could my body feel like it did when I hadn't even boxed a real match? How could pummeling something with no resistance but the air make me feel every sinew in my entire upper body? I had all the pain, but with no gain. I got knocked out. The only people who witnessed the match were a bunch of wobbly-headed Mii characters who didn't even have two hands to clap together. My boxing match, hard as it was, was pointless--a total beating of the air.

The lesson God reminded me in the aftermath of my Wii boxing experience was to work with all my might for lasting things--not just a pointless beating the air. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul says, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

What is it today that has you beaten down? What are battling that has you knocked so low that you merely thrash at it with feeble arms? Maybe it is a relationship. Maybe it is a job. Maybe your role as mother, father, daughter, son, husband, or wife? Maybe it is a goal you've been working toward for far too long. Maybe a habit you want to start or one you wish to break. I don't know what your "race" is today, but I encourage you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, take a deep breath, and run in such a way that you may win--not simply finish, dragging yourself across the finish line after they've rolled up the tape, but to win.

The scripture also tells us the trick to finishing strong--discipline. Fight the real fight. Run the real race. Box the real match.

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