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About the Writer:
Karen Hossink

Karen Hossink

Karen Hossink is a wife, mother, speaker and author. She and her husband, Brian, have three children: Elizabeth, Joshua and Matthew, and they make their home in Okemos, Michigan. Karen's book, Confessions of an Irritable Mother, offers the hope that God uses the hard times in our lives to make us more like Jesus. Karen is a speaker for Speaking Thru Me Ministries, a fee-free event resource for churches.  You can find more information about Karen at:


Don't Make A Decision While Running Uphill

by Karen Hossink

I was huffing and puffing as I ran up the hill. With the end of the sidewalk in view I said to myself, This is it. I am not going to turn around and run this path again. I am tired and I am ready to quit. Running is over for today.

Just the night before, I had decided to increase the length of my run by turning around and doubling up on the last section. I would be improving my distance by about half a mile and thought that was a good interval to add to my course. I had reasoned it through, psyched myself up about the increase, and was already congratulating myself for pushing my limits.

However, the path on which I was running is comprised of two hills with a "valley" in the middle. And as I was running up the longer of the two hills, thinking about my tired legs and heavy breathing, I was sure I couldn't run another half mile. Running up hill takes quite a lot of effort and the thought of going further was daunting. Maybe the additional distance seemed a good idea the night before, when I was only thinking about it. But at the moment – in the midst of the run - I did not want to do it.

Have you ever been where I was? Maybe not by my house. Not necessarily running. But have you ever faced a hill? Have you been in a situation where you had intentions of doing one thing, yet found yourself ready to change your mind mid-course because the journey seemed too hard?

Perhaps you need to lose some weight and before you go out with your girlfriends you commit to not ordering an ice cream sundae. However, as you sit with them in the restaurant, looking at the menu, and listening to the tasty treats they are planning to enjoy, suddenly abstaining from dessert seems too hard. Instead of sticking to your previous decision, maybe you begin contemplating which confection you are going to order.

It could be your relationship with a family member is strained, and though it isn't completely your fault, you know you need to own up to your part. With a family function on the horizon, you consider the opportunity to apologize to this individual and seek reconciliation. You play the script over in your mind several times and carefully word your request for forgiveness. But when you're all together, that family member says something offensive and you are ready to throw your apology out the window.

If you are married, you probably stood with your beloved at the altar of a church and pledged yourself to him "'til death do us part." Yet as the years have passed, as life has changed and challenges have surfaced, you may find yourself contemplating and even discussing ending your marriage for good. Though once you thought divorce would never be an option, perhaps in the middle of the struggle it seems like the easiest choice.

The hills we encounter come in many forms.

When I made the decision to add a half mile to my running course, I expected to increase my endurance. I did not expect God to also enlarge my understanding. I was not planning on my physical training to be part of my spiritual training. But God's ways are higher than ours and He had a lesson for me to learn. (I love that He doesn't waste anything. Not even my exercising!)

Pushing myself up the hill, ready to give in to my flesh and call it quits, I realized, I cannot make a decision while I am running up hill. The time for me to make a decision is when I am thinking clearly. I can choose my actions when I am in a rational state of mind, but not when I am running up hill. Because when I am in the middle of a struggle, my first and strongest inclination is to give up. Being in a battle makes me want to quit. And when I quit? I lose.

I am sure it was the Holy Spirit calling me forward that day, encouraging me to press on and stick to the decision I made before I faced the hill. So I ran on. I prayed for strength. I repeated Scripture to myself. I thought, If I just had an iPod, this running wouldn't be so painful. (Yes, I am a deep individual!) I realized God was teaching me a lesson on perseverance. And I won. Because I kept going.

How about you, my friend? I do not know the hill up which you are running today. It may be something as innocuous as losing a few extra pounds, or as life-altering as a crumbling marriage. Whatever the struggle you are facing, I pray you know with confidence Jesus is facing it with you. He is there. Beside you, behind you, and before you, and He will not leave you alone.

Call upon the Holy Spirit. He will help you.
Trust in the Father. He will guide you.
And, please, don't make a decision while you're running up hill.

Copyright © 2009 – Karen Hossink. All rights reserved.



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