I’m in the process of training my my first marathon. I’m not very fast and I have love handles, so I’m don’t feel like I’m really cut out for it, but it’s a goal I’ve had for a long time and I’m excited to finally be doing it. I’ve been running longer distances lately and on those long, slow runs, God has given me some insights into how He wants to guide us through the race of life. Here are a few of the principles that have come to life for me through this process.
1. Pain is part of the process. There’s no way to train for a distance race without having every part of your body hurting at some point. It’s the same in life. Pain means we’re growing; we’re being stretched beyond our limits. In life, God always uses our pain to bring about growth.
2. Redefine Victory. I don’t plan on “winning” this race. There will probably be some Kenyan dude finishing several hours ahead of me…in fact, there might be 80-year-olds finishing ahead of me! Victory for me is to finish the race strong having done the best I can do. In life, we’re so quick to measure our progress against other people, but God never wants us playing the comparison game. His plan for each of our lives is masterfully unique! Run your own race and don’t be prideful of anyone you’re outpacing and don’t be discouraged by anyone who is outpacing you.
3. Savor the Silence. Before today’s run, I was disappointed to find out the my iPod was out of power, so I would be running in silence, but it turned out to be the most enjoyable run I’ve had in a long time. My life is full of noise from the time I wake up and I’ll bet yours is too. When we build some silence into our days, God’s voice becomes clearer as the noise of the world fades into the background. Put some more silence into your day and I think you’ll find yourself feeling replenished by it.
4. Keep Moving Forward. You might not be going very fast, but always keep moving forward. The Apostle Paul write that he was, “forgetting what was behind and straining to reach the prize that was ahead.” Don’t focus on how far you still have to go…just keep taking one step at a time. God will always give you strength for that next step until you finish the race.
5. Stay hydrated. With running, if you don’t have enough water in you, you’ll never finish. In life, if you don’t have the Living Water (Jesus) in you, you’ll never finish.