“12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14
I am not much of a runner. In fact, I hate long distance running. If you were to put a ball in my hand, say a basketball or baseball, I would run all day long. But the thought of running a long distance for fun simply is not appealing to me. My wife on the other hand finds great joy and accomplishment in it. The few times I have gone running with her, I usually come back exhausted. However, the whole idea of a “runner’s high” is true. For those who may not know what this is, the “runner’s high” is this feeling of euphoric achievability that long distance runners get as they continue to run. The hardest part of a run for long distance runners is the first couple miles. However, many runners will experience the “runner’s high” in which the brain releases endorphins that convinces the body the run is doable and fun.
In my own limited experience of running, I have found it usually kicks in about the halfway point. Just about the time my body is about to give up, suddenly I have this rush of energy and a feeling of security that I can finish the run. The energy propels me to the finish line. I’ve been amazed at the body’s ability to overcome this obstacle.
Tomorrow, Thursday March 8, is officially the halfway point for Lent. This halfway marker provides an opportunity for a second wind to finish the journey of Lent. If you’ve given something up for Lent, say chocolate, this point in the journey can be the easiest moment to give up. Who knows, you may have stumbled and taken a bite. Don’t worry I won’t tell.
Yet, the point of the Lenten journey is not simply to accomplish a 40 day fast. Rather, it is to allow new habits to stick and let old habits go. While eating chocolate may not be a habit you want to lose, other habits like cursing or gossip may be habits you want to let go of this Lent. Moreover, you may decide to replace them with reading the Scriptures daily or having a significant and meaningful prayer life.
All to say, I would encourage you during your Lenten journey this year to consider the entirety of Lent as a halfway marker of your entire Christian Life. Who knows, ten or twenty years from now you may look back on Lent 2018 and say, “That’s the moment when I became determined to grow deeper in my prayer life. Lent 2018 is when I finally kicked the sinful habit of _________ (you name it).”
May this Lenten journey not be one to forget until next year, but may it be the “second wind” or the “spiritual runner’s high” you needed to continue the race faithfully.