Extra Effort?

It’s gray today. Hard to believe just last week we had sun and temps in the 60s. It’s 43 right now, up from 41 degrees. Rain is imminent. The bruised sky foretells it. 

I’m up to running for 30 minutes straight now. I’ve completed the first part of the Amby Burfoot training. I started all over to baby my calves back into shape. As long as I remember to stretch, and try not to sit too much, it seems to work fine. I can feel the “stuff” falling off as I run – old ways of thinking, worries, what-ifs, etc.

I have a beautiful commute. I pass over sections of the Sound as I drive. I pass tidal flats. I drove up and down hills, fog nestling in the evergreens. I get to see the sunrise, either before the drive or during. I think of 101 as kind of a baby highway. Not to be condescending, one doesn’t encounter lot of traffic on this portion of it. It does get clogged up at the merge. Yet it isn’t I-5 or any of the California something-80 freeways, with 7 lanes in the same direction and an announcing sign 1/4 mile before you hit your exit. 

Sometimes, I wonder if the effort we put into things is really worth it. Is running worth it? I get up pretty early to put in the mileage. I could get more sleep and stay warm. But I find I feel better after I’ve sweated and pounded the pavement, pushing myself. I have energy and a new attitude. Is it worth it to drive a half hour every day to a new job? Well, I need the job, as it helps us stay afloat financially. Yet the possibilities are greater here as well. Anything can happen. 

When Jonathon taught choir in a small Oregon school district that shall remain nameless, their motto was “Excellence Through Extra Effort”. Because, somehow, regular effort simply wouldn’t cut it. It was both hilarious and insulting at the same time. You can’t get there in your own strength, punk. Don’t even try. 

Life has those seasons. We give it our best go and nothing happens. We fall and get back up again. We try. The only one I know who gives us something more is Jesus. No extra effort required, only grace. No more punishing levels of work, only surrender. We do our part, and let Him do His. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
 Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take. – Proverbs 3:5-6