Or, how about this? A long road trip is required and you are eager to arrive at the destination. The signs all point north and display decreasing miles to the city's border. Decreasing that is, until a detour routes you in the opposite direction. Ugh! Though you continue to move, it hardly seems like forward progress.
I've been feeling that way as of late. This new-fangled Garmin GPS watch is both a blessing and a curse. I feel compelled to strap on the heart rate monitor and hook the watch to my wrist every time I step out the door. With anticipation, I head down the road after pushing the right buttons. Knowing that is is measuring out my time and distance, I don't feel too relaxed since that smart-alek watch will quip "Behind by "x" seconds" should a faster run have been recorded. I try not to look at my watch, which, truthfully, I can't see very well without my glasses anyway. But I don't want to take a chance on being discouraged. So, I simply press on.
Once back at home, the watch starts talking to my computer and before you know it, my course is mapped out, minimum, maximum and average hearts rates, speed, and elevation gain and loss all laid out for me to see in pretty graphics. Sometimes, I can only sigh at the report, disappointed on some level. Other times, there is a slight improvement and with that, a small glimmer of hope. But what I am really looking for is not a glimmer, not a sliver, not a smidgen but a great big, bright and beautiful door that shows the way to grand improvement.
Alas, I still wait for that door to open and the light to come streaming in. I am working hard. I am back to charting my daily performances and recording my every move. I'm even trying to keep up with those young whippersnappers on my cross country team. Surely, I should start to see some improvement soon. I look at times for specific runs recorded years ago and compare that to nowadays. I can't fathom (or even remember) what it was to run like that. Now, I doubt I can ever regain the speed of yesteryear but it sure would be nice to achieve some gains.
How long will it take for those gains to come? How many weeks (or months) will I need to sweat and struggle to achieve my goals? I don't know. You would think that a little more time will stop the watch quicker on my daily run and get me through those mountains before the heat of day catches me. But I'll never know unless I keep on moving. Keep on trying.
I am reminded of my spiritual journey; a journey that at times seems to be going nowhere fast. I become discouraged in my own spiritual growth and even more so in my inability to minister effectively to others. It feels like my Biblical scale is broken and my spiritual watch only reports deficiencies. And yet, I must remember to press on though I have no idea where the course will take me or how long the traverse will be. I must keep on keeping on.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. (Philippians 3:12-15a)