When is the last time you sprinted for the simple joy of going fast? Don’t count exercise, don’t count the time you almost missed your plane, and don’t count the time you were chased by a bear.
When is the last time you ran as fast as you could, just because you could?
Ask the same question to a young child and you will hear “today”. Ask me, and the answer is “I can’t remember, it was so long ago”.
Can you rush without feeling rushed?
Can you work hard without feeling stressed?
Can you work your hardest at something just because it feels good?
In my life I have sprinted for a variety of reasons. The three that I remember the best are:
- I loved the feeling of running fast.
- It was a necessary part of what I was doing.
- I was running to or from something in fear.
The act was the same, the motivation, state of mind, and emotional impact was very different. Sprinting can be done under enjoyable, neutral, or awful circumstances. Regardless, you’re running as fast as you can. The only difference is how you feel when you get done.
From Fear To Necessity
There will be times when you need to work hard. This is unavoidable. If your heart is consumed with fear, these times of hard work will be stressful. You will feel as if you are running from something you can’t see.
Because we are not cavemen, these fears are usually unfounded. Most of us will not be eaten by bears if we fail at our next project. We react as if situations are life threatening, when in fact, the only thing in danger is our self-worth, and need for validation.
This simple truth allows you to look at those times of hard work differently. They become nothing more than the sprinting done by an athlete in training. It is simply necessary, not scary. Regardless of whether you succeed or fail, you need to do it.
Panic does nothing to improve the odds of success, it just makes it harder to do good work, and we are usually in no real danger. So we can reach a point where we are no longer operating out of fear, instead, tackling our next project like a weight lifter gripping the bar. It is necessary.
But is this the best we can hope for? Do children sprint across the playground just because it’s necessary? Do they chase each other across the soccer field because it’s just a part of the game?
No. They do it because it’s exhilarating.
From Necessity to Exhilaration
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
– 1 John 4:18
Perfect love casts out fear. All fear. Not just the fear that grips our hearts in times of panic, but also the subtle fear telling us that pure exhilaration is childish. The fear telling us to act our age, not to stand out, not to draw attention to ourselves.
Moving from fear to necessity is only half the journey. Children don’t just run, they run and laugh. Because they were created to do so.
God’s never intended us to simply work hard because it was necessary. He definitely did not intend for us to work hard out of fear. He created us to co-labor with him in everything.
When we are disciplined in our awareness of his constant presence, we can reach a place in our hard work, where it is not just necessary, but exhilarating. This experience releases something deep inside that has long been shut down.
The joy of work, the joy of sprinting. Not alone, but side-by-side with our Heavenly Father.
Many of us are broken in too many ways to ever reach this place without lots and lots of healing. Some of us have been living out of fear for so long that we can’t hear the word deadline without feeling anxious.
Nonetheless, we were created for better. We were created to run fast, work hard, and to feel the exhilaration of the presence of God while we do it.
It’s in you, but only He can let it out. And only you can let Him in.