There are at least two me's. There's the "me" who plans and has goals. This me is one that I like since I would like to consider myself to be someone who accomplishes what she sets out to do. This is the me who is always on time and is never lazy. This me is pretty cool and can be depended on in every situation. This me always sends someone an address or files as promised and is never late to work, church or any appointment. This me runs like the wind and doesn't give up until there is absolutely no more energy in her body. This me gives her all to every situation and is always more concerned about others than herself. This me blogs every day and never wastes time.
Of course that me is not always in control. There is the "other me". The other me often tries to convince me that it's much better to sleep in than to get up and run. It is always looking out for its own best interests. It prefers to be lazy and eat whenever and whatever it wants. This other me thinks that me is just too strict and too controlling. The other me wants to simply goof off and have fun and never clean up after itself. This other me is much more likely to spend the whole morning sleeping and then to just read novels all day.
There's no activity in which I see the way "me" and the "other me" are in coflict as I do when I run. I know that the "other me" hates running. It argues that all running does is to make me tired for no real gain. It reminds me that running can make me sore and might give me a headache. It tells me that there are other things that are much more fun that I could be doing with my time such as sleeping, reading, eating, or even more spiritual things such as reading the bible, praying, or serving others. Since I know how persuasive the other me can be, I always make sure to allow me to make firm goals before I begin a run.
So this is how a run goes. I will make plans (like I did yesterday) to say, get up at 7 and run 4 miles. The other me will immediately argue that it's a waste of time and sleep would be much more profitable. I'll consider this other me's arguement and decide that sleep may be useful and so will change my alarm clock from 7 to 8:30. Sometime in the early morning, I will wake up and the other me will remind me that I'm still tired and 8:30 is way too early to be up on a weekend. When I'm tired, this other me's arguments make perfect sense, so I will change my alarm clock from 8:30 to 9:30.
Somehow my interal alam clock will go off at 9 o'clock and so I then may be alert enough to decide that I will indeed run and will make my way out of bed and get ready to run. You would think the battle is over. I am finally outside and beginning to run. The weather is perfect, I'm rested so all is well, right?
Not in your wildest dreams! Especialy if it's been a couple weeks since you were in the running routine. Immediatly that other me will remind you that it's much easier to breath if you walk every now and then. Your legs will chime in with that other me and tell you that they are not used to so much work and may stage a strike. You tell them all that it's me who is in charge and they must fall into line. Me reminds them that the request that they run is not unreasonable - they've done it before and can obviously do it again. Me reminds them that they've had a nice break so should be happy about that and since they are so rested they ought to run better than ever. Me reminds them of all the benefits of running: feeling better, gaining a sense of accomplishment, sleeping well, being able to run hard when playing sports and more.
The arguments don't always work for that other me. The other me will often put up enough of a fuss that me will give in just a little and won't run its hardests. Often the other me will tell me that it is indeed running as hard as possible, and me allows itself to believe the lie while knowing it is a lie.
When the other me wins little battles, it get's stronger and harder to fight off the next time. Me knows this and will argue back until it either wins or gets tired. Sometimes me gives up and lets the other me be in control and simply decides that tomorrow is another day.
This struggle between me and the other me is nothing new. Paul spoke about a similar struggle in Romans 7 where he said in verse 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. I don't know if Paul's struggle against sin can actually be equal to my struggle to make my body run when it doesn't like to. Maybe the struggle that Paul speaks of is only in reguard to trying to keep from lying, stealing, lusting, cheating or other obvious sins. But, lazyness or slothfullness is also a sin, right? So maybe the correlation is there after all.
Pastor Phil preached this morning on Jesus and the Cross in 2008. He reminded us that it's only through Jesus that we have the power to accomplish things like new years resolutions. A focus on Jesus and the cross will give us courage for the coming year. It's only through his death that we have freedom from ourselves, from the world, statan, death and sin. We can in our will make a choice, but we can only cary it out through His Spirit. We can make the choice to live through Him.
I must admit that though I do belive that God gives us the power to live through his sprit, I feel that developing willpower to run when you don't want to seems to be something that a Christian doesn't do any better than a non-Christian. Does trusting in the power of Christ really make you better able to force yourself to run harder or faster? I don't know. I guess I've not thought of running in a spiritual sense at all. Is it always the sin nature that desires to do the easy thing? I guess that will be one more thing to ponder the next time I run.