There are 6 things I do every day:

Run.

Pray.

Read my Bible (meditate is probably a better way to put it).

Hang out with the Blonde.

Read the news online (I read both “real news, aka sports news and the “fake” news).

Check out social media.

I told you all of that to say to you this: When we recently sold our 1958 Beaver Cleaver house, Jennifer bought a treadmill. The Blonde loves it and uses it daily but I have stayed away waiting for God to provide me with a new tennis partner - God has been silent so because I was getting fat and out of shape I bought the best pair of Nike (sorry) running shoes I could find and I’ve started hitting the old treadmill. What do they say, “I hate running, but I hate not running more.” That has become me, very strange (in my business we call this transformation)?!

This devil of a treadmill is fancy - it tells you how many calories you have burned, how long you have run, how far you have run, blah, blah, blah. I have not run so much at one time since high school and as I run my mind often goes back to those days - I can see myself running around that old cinder track with my old high school coaches yelling at me (that’s what high school coaches do) as I run (slowly).

It’s that last lap that kills me. I am tempted to just quit and maybe lie (to myself) that I finished my run. I am tempted to slow the machine down to ensure I make my goal but 2nd Chronicles 15:7 tells me, “be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” That’s truth, so I hang in here and therefore that Biblical truth has become a reality in my life.

I have gotten stronger, I run longer, I run faster and I am no longer tempted to quit, lie or slow down. Please don’t misunderstand that the last lap is still a death wish, and I can still hear those coaches yelling, but it’s different. Following Jesus is like that. If we hang in there (it’s called faith) things change, it’s not that we don’t continue to face challenges but we grow (it’s called maturity), we trust God more and in that sense, life becomes easier (we rely less on ourselves and more on God). I read somewhere that with me things are impossible but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) - I hope that makes sense. Hang in there, keep running, don’t slow down and for sure don’t quit. He told me to tell you that.

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Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at kenansell1@gmail.com.