In June of 2013 I watched my daughter run her first 5K.  It was really exciting.  Several of my classmates in the boot camp class I have been taking with the Grinnell Regional Medical Center were also running the 5K as part of the couch to 5K program that they started that spring.  I thought to myself, surely I can do that.  I told my daughter that I would run a 5K with her at the next Grinnell Games.  By August I ran my first 5K.  I immediately thought, that was not much of a goal for the Grinnell Games so I decided that running a Ĺ marathon was a better goal.  It would require me to push myself over the course of the next year. 
I met with my trainer and she told me that she would put together a training program for me.  It was essentially a couch to Ĺ marathon program.  I started ďofficiallyĒ training in September.  I ran twice a week for a total of 4 miles.  Being that I had already ran a 5K that didnít scare me at all.  No problem I thought.  I looked over the rest of the schedule and it terrified me.  I would have to run 8 miles in a week by the end of October.  I would run my first 5 mile run by the middle of December.  And then it got really spooky.  I had a 10K or 6.2 miles in January.  By March I saw that I had to run 5 days a week for a total of 20 miles.  As I looked at this list in August I started hyperventilating.  I thought to myself, what did I get myself into?  There is no way I can do this.  I was looking ahead and saw that what I wanted to obtain was not possible.  I was defeated before I started.  I turned all the way to May and looked at the runs before the big day.  It said 28-29 miles.  In one week I will run 4 miles on Monday, 6 miles on Tuesday, 4 miles on Wednesday, 12 miles on Friday, and 2-3 miles on Saturday.  (Even as I write that, nearly 6 months after initially looking at this schedule, it sounds terrifying.)  I closed the calendar and took a big deep breath.  I canít I said.  I canít run 12 miles.  I looked back at September.  I can run 2 miles.  So, when Monday rolled around, I ran two miles.  I thought I can do this.  On Friday I ran two more miles.  Week 1 was finished.  5 months later I still hate looking at the end of the calendar.  But, I can look at where I am right now and say, yes, I can do that.  I can run 4 miles.  I can run 5 miles.  I can run 6.2 miles.  I can because I have.  The first week in March, I will be running 7 miles.  I can do that too.  But, to look ahead, that was too much, too soon.
22 years ago I obeyed the gospel.  I was but a child.  As I came up out of the baptismal waters I wanted to be a preacher.  What better way to spend my life than proclaiming the message that saved my life?  I looked ahead and saw what it required.  I looked at the sacrifices of Christ.  I looked at what Paul did, what Peter did.  I got scared.  I canít do that I said.  I canít be Paul.  He is too smart.  He is too strong.  And I know that I will never be that.  Before long I didnít want to be a preacher anymore.  By the time I graduated high school the furthest thing from my mind was preaching the gospel.  It was hard enough to live up to the standard of Christ, let alone teach others how to do it. 
Of course, here I am, 22 years after putting on Christ in baptism and preaching the gospel.  I have been preaching the gospel now for almost 12 years.  Do you know what made that possible?  I stopped looking ahead.  I took each day as it came.  I vowed to accomplish what was set before me each day.  I am not saying that we shouldnít look forward to heaven.  I am not saying that we shouldnít strive for perfection.  I am not saying that we should throw our hands up and quit.  No, I am saying just the opposite.  Sometimes looking at what seems unattainable can make us feel overwhelmed.  Sometimes looking at what is easier to obtain, what is right in front of you is what keeps you going on your journey.
When I am running my long runs I donít like running in a straight line for 4 miles.  (Like on a treadmill).  I like twists and turns.  I donít have to run 6 miles.  I only have to run to this corner, or to this tree, or to that stop sign.  As a Christian it can help to set similar goals.  Today, I need to study my bible.  Today I need to pray for 30 minutes.  Today I need to stop worrying.  I can do that.  And before you know it, you will move from spiritual adolescence to spiritual maturity.  
And here is the bonus.  If you set smaller goals you can see how far youíve come.  Running two miles used to be something that was hard for me.  Now, I look forward to a quick jog of two miles to warm up.  Running twice a week seems too relaxing (I run 4 times a week now plus one kickboxing class and two 1 hour sessions of boot camp).  1 year ago I started this journey of self control and I am in shock to see where I am today.
Just imagine where you can be if you start today. -WTK

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Looking Ahead

The Light
Volume 5 Issue 12