Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Running the Race

I’m signed up to run a 10K in less than 2 weeks. I’ve kept on track with the 8-week training schedule but I’m still anxious. There was a time in my life that I thought completing a mile would be impossible, let alone “the toughest 10K in the Midwest”. The race seems rather intimidating but I will stay on course and finish the race.

Running any kind of miles is never truly at the top of my priority list. I dread getting on the treadmill or even going outside. That’s why I made the commitment to this race. Personally, I need a goal to strive for or I all too easily make excuses to blow off exercise entirely. Setting a goal gives me something specific to aim for.

One thing I realize as I’m running is that I tend to focus too much on the path directly in front of me. If I’m on the treadmill, my eyes watch the numbers work ever so slowly up to the moment I can declare completion. If I’m on a trail, I watch for obstacles to avoid and stay overly focused on where I am. When I’m tired, my eyes naturally go to my feet. I have learned that I need to be intentional with focusing on where I need to be instead of where I am. The run doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming that way. When I choose a focal point on the course ahead of me, it’s easier to persevere to the end. Envisioning the finish line is the best way to stay on course.

Running has helped me to understand life a little bit better. I now have tangible pictures of perseverance in my mind because of the endurance training I have completed. When I think about the mess my life is in at a current moment, I remember that the race is often easier if I keep my focus on the finish line. I can feel like I am drowning in life when I focus on the here and now. It is only when I keep my eyes on Jesus and eternity that the intimidation of today dissipates and I can continue the race.

“We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God's throne. Think about Jesus' example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying.” – Hebrews 12:1-3 (NCV)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)

“I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.” – Philippians 3:12-14 (NCV)

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” - 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)

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