Born To Run
By Marybeth Whalen

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 (NIV)

Running was always something I told myself I simply could not do. I reasoned that I was not born a runner and lacked the physical endurance and stamina that runners possess. Plus, I had a whole list of reasons for why I could not run:

If only I had a good pair of running shoes.

If only I had more time to run without kids in tow.

If only I had an Mp3 player so I could listen to music while I ran.

Then, I reasoned, I could take up running.

One day I realized that all these “reasons” were just thinly disguised excuses to avoid the work that I knew running was going to be. I didn’t want to extend myself outside my comfort zone. I didn’t want to strain every muscle in my body. I didn’t want to take time out of my already busy days and devote it to running. I liked to talk about running someday but I didn’t actually want to do it.

Eventually, I laid all my excuses aside and ventured out for that first run. It was grueling and humbling. And, surprisingly, I loved it. As I was running the other day, I thought about how much my attitude about running has changed since I started. If there’s a day that goes by that I can’t do it, I crave it. I look forward to my runs and have even learned to include my children in my trek around the neighborhood. As I thought about all the excuses I once used to avoid running, I was so glad that I eventually stopped hiding behind them and took the plunge. What I would have missed out on if I hadn’t!

Perhaps you have been hiding behind some excuses of your own lately. Maybe your excuses involve exercise like mine did. Or maybe they involve other things like why you can’t give up a bad habit, why you aren’t able to forgive someone, or why you are continuing in a sin God has been convicting you of. Maybe you have been letting excuses keep you from a more intimate relationship with God, or maybe you have been excusing the fact that you need to accept Christ as Savior. Even as you read these words, God is impressing on your heart that there is something you need to do—but you have been letting excuses serve as a barrier between knowing it and actually doing it.

Today I invite you to remove the excuses in your life. To choose one excuse today and begin to tear it down, taking just one brick out of the wall. Over the next days and weeks, choose more bricks to remove until one day, nothing is standing between you and that scary thing you know you need to do.

I am glad I stopped listening to my own excuses and accepted the invitation to venture beyond my comfort zone. I learned that we were all born to run, as long as we grip the Father’s hand with all our might and stop letting excuses keep us from taking that first step.

Dear Lord, I don’t want excuses to stand between me and whatever You are calling me to. Help me to rely on You and not hide behind excuses as You invite me to experience abundant life in You. Lord, I trust You to catch me when I fall and to be my strength in all situations—even the ones that scare me and stretch me beyond what I feel capable of. With You I can do anything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
elf Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild

Visit Marybeth Whalen’s blog

For the Write Reason General Editor Marybeth Whalen

Application Steps:
As you think about excuses in your life—emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.—make a personal list of what God reveals to you in the days to come. Ask God to help you remove those excuses and equip you to tackle whatever you are avoiding.

Can you think of a time when you used excuses to avoid something and found that once you removed the excuses, you were glad you did what you’d been avoiding? How can remembering this experience help you face similar situations now?

Is there someone in your life who needs you to hold them accountable for removing the excuses in their life? How can you reach out to them today?

Power Verses:
John 15:22, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.” (NIV)

Luke 14:18a, “But they all alike began to make excuses.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is so awesome! I really needed to read this message. There are so many things that I know God has gifted me to do. I often would ask God why he blessed me with so many gifts and has not opened the door for me to use them. The reality is that if God gave me the gifts the door was open from the moment he crafted me. God has done his part, now I must do mine.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! God really tuned me in to this devotional, today. I don't know what He is going to reveal to me, but I suspect there may be a lengthy list. Thank you for your words of encouragement & insight.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, I have been making excuses about excercising and losing weight for far too long. This devotional was exactly what I needed to see today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the extra kick from behind! :) I just started exercising again this week after a long, self-imposed, head-in-the-sand sabbatical. I used to run in highschool & college and always dream about doing a 5K, 10K, something! But...then I think "But I'm 44, my joints are getting sore, surely it wouldn't be good for me, right?" Yeah, right. So, hiding behind excuses and laziness, I've done no running for years, just exercising that's "more suited to my advanced age". :) I just knew it would be too hard and more than I want to do, and I felt defeated. Yesterday was my "face reality day" when I saw myself again in a full-length window and then I read the beginning of your devotional last night, enough to know I was going to be challenged. So, this morning I ran. Only on my treadmill, but still more running than walking, for 2 miles. I had fun! Then I read your devotional from yesterday and was challenged on another level. I need to forgive someone who has wronged me VERY deeply. I don't want to and I know it's going to be hard. Thanks for challenging me to move beyond my reasons and excuses. This will be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

Blogger Sandy said...

This really struck a chord in my this morning. I need to reread this and then spend some time running into God's plans for me! Thank you so much!

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