Sometimes people ask me for advice as they want to start running. The best advice I received when I started running is what I pass along to others: Run forward.
Of course people usually run forward, as it takes a lot of concentration and different muscles to run backward. But the point is to put all your effort into moving forward. Too many runners run forward + up and down. They bounce as though they’re running on a trampoline. Another large group of runners run forward + sideways. They swing their arms so forcefully side to side that they nearly give themselves an uppercut with each stride. A runner wastes precious energy when she runs in many directions. So I tell people: run forward. Don’t bounce—move forward. Don’t swing your arms side to side—move them forward. Then all your energy can move you forward, further, faster.
I realized the other day that I need to tell myself and some others to do the same in our work. It’s easy to waste energy while looking busy but moving nowhere. We need to put all our efforts into the goals that we have, what God has called us to, instead of spending precious energy elsewhere. If we are bouncy workers, maybe we exert a lot of effort to look big and great, but we aren’t moving forward. We just create the illusion of movement because we’re bouncing so hard, and probably we look excited too.
If we are sideways workers, maybe we do a lot of work on the outer edges of our responsibilities, things on the periphery of our goals that keep us busy. People see that we’re working, and we look like we’re working a lot with our hands in a lot of different things.
The trouble is, a lot of bouncy and sideways work is for naught, since we are not focused on moving forward, to reach our goals and bear true, significant fruit.
So when you run, run forward. When you work, work forward.