I recently took up running through a program sponsored by Good Samaritan UMC in LakeWylie. This is a ‘couch-potato to 5K’ bible study called Run for God. I definitely started at the ‘couch-potato’ end of the spectrum, so here are some thoughts about my new activity.
I know that exercise is good for me, but I really don’t like it. It’s work for me, so to even think of a running program was an anomaly. First, I had to decide to run. That was the easy part. Then I actually had to DO it. That was a little harder, but I had lots of support at home and through the group. I was very excited about it and told all my friends, and bought expensive new running shoes. The first run was the hardest. I was out of breath, sore, tired and had a headache. But I kept running. Most runs since then have not been bad and I haven’t had any injuries to date – just the muscle soreness that comes with exercise and age. There was one day when I ran about three minutes, gave up and walked home. I just couldn’t do it that day, so I ran the next day. I have worked up to running 20 minutes and am really surprised and proud at this new milestone. Now that the weather is warmer and I’m running more, I find that I am really sweaty and have to shower to get the road grime off. That takes extra time but is well worth the effort and is a nice relaxer after all the work. I don’t know the path going forward, but my goal is to run that 5K in April. I’m looking toward another one later in the summer.
The bible often compares our relationship with God to a race. Here’s how my race is playing out. I was raised in the church and knew the stories and lessons, but didn’t really have a relationship with God. It was too much like work! I was baptized as an adult and really feel like that was my decision to follow God – the easy part. Then I actually had to DO it. That was a little harder, but I had lots of support at home and through my church. New Christians are an excitable bunch, and as such, I bought books and attended classes. It was hard at first, but I kept working at it. Some days would be discouraging and dark, but then I would keep coming back. Sometimes, I have to cleanse my soul before I can continue. One day, God called me to do some work. Yes, it’s financial planning, but mostly that work is a springboard to tell my story and ‘plant seeds’ for Him. Some days are discouraging, but I keep working. I don’t know the path going forward, but my goal is to create a sustainable practice and continue to tell my story.
Our financial learning curve is so similar. Decide if this sounds a little like you.
You learned a little about money in high school, but it really didn’t matter since your parents picked up any slack in your spending. Then you graduated and got your first job. That was the easy part. Then, you actually had to MANAGE MONEY. But as a newly minted know-it-all, the first thing you did was buy a new car to announce your adulthood to everyone. Then you worked, which got harder, but you had support from your family and co-workers. You kept paying the student loans and car payment, then found the person of your dreams, got married and bought a house. The money juggling became more complicated, but you kept working on it. Some days, the market was discouraging, the budget was shot, and savings were non-existent. Still, you pressed on. Then one day, you paid off the car and then the student loans were gone. There was money for saving and the market started looking up. You don’t know the path going forward, but your goal is
retirement, so you keep saving toward that end.
Everything worth having is worth working for. So, keep at it. Work your budget every month. Pay off the debt. Save for retirement. You’ll know when you get there that you had a good run for your money.