Sunday I ran my first half-marathon in Freeport, ME. It’s a longer story but just know that this 41 year old just “took up running” six months ago for the first time in her whole life and fo fell in love with it, because it is a great stress reliever.
As we set out it was cool, and raining, with gusting winds most of the way. I knew this particular race was considered “moderately difficult.“ What I did not know is that it is possible to create a 13.1 mile course that is primarily up hill the whole way. It is probably the greatest physical challenge I have taken on to date. As my husband and I ran together we prayed, laughed chatted, and of course got thinking about how a literal race like this one we are told Biblically to “run” for Christ
As we plugged along (up hill) here are the conclusions we came to:
1. It’s about the finish line.
I am a severe asthmatic. In practicality this means it slows me down and I end up towards the back of the pack. I hate this. I am competitive, driven by nature and I want to “win.” In my journey with Christ, how often to I compare my race to those around me? How often do I decide that if you are “famous” or have what others think of as a “successful” ministry, that you are the “winner?” Paul tells us to run as if we will be the winner in 1 Cor. 9:24. However, it is about keeping our eye toward the finish line. Christ simply wants us to keep running with Him and keep our eye towards ending well. The celebration is in the finishing.
2. It’s also about the race
If we are only ever thinking about the finish line we just might miss the journey. In our day on Sunday:
Cool turned to warmth. Rain turned to sun. The wind pushing in our face eventually ended up at our backs. We passed by fields of wild flowers, haystacks, and dilapidated farm houses with bright yellow doors. Keep your eye to the horizon, enjoy the path you are on and who you are with..
3. Don’t forget to laugh.
The first hill was steep. We looked forward to the downhill. Then we got to the top and it dipped and went up once again. Isn’t life like that sometimes? Then the rain went from drizzling to pouring, before it got better. All sorts of ridiculous circumstances kept hitting us. We started making jokes and just absorbing that sometime it’s in the craziness we find the greatest joy.
4. Take it one hill at a time
At one of our water stops we joked with a policeman about the difficulty of the course. He smiled and said these profound words, “Focus on one hill at a time.” Trials will come and when the focus is on that reality we can get overwhelmed. Instead, with Christ, conquer the hill at hand. When you reach the next one, you are another step forward.
This race of life is yours, it’s about being in it with Jesus. Sure some will pass us, the terrain will be tough and it might all sound like a Hallmark card. However, it’s the only one we have, we should run it as hard as we can.
Remember in the end we too want to say:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Tim. 4:7
I would love to hear about your life “race” these days, tell me about it!