A couple of years ago, shortly after I turned 40, I took up running. Although I have always been into physical fitness of some sort, I never really understood the fascination of running. Until one day, I agreed to run a 5k for charity with some of my coworkers. The moment I crossed the finish line, it clicked. I understood what was so exciting and addicting about running. Not only can you see what your body is capable of (which btw is far more than we give it credit for) but running is a mentally challenging sport. There are no words to describe crossing that finish line, everyone cheering you on and knowing that you pushed through and did it. It's exhilarating!
During a run however, you must continually adjust your thinking and technique. These adjustments are most crucial when you just want to stop or even give up. The word endurance often comes to my mind. This word is commonly associated with runners. Endurance literally means: the fact or power of continuing an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
Endurance does not come naturally. But think about it, you can’t go from never running to running a marathon your first time out. Training is obviously required. Training starts out small. Just getting to a mile may seem impossible at first. But we make progress, accomplish small goals and simply keep showing up. Eventually we are running further and have even learned to love it. Our minds think about it more often and we desire to get back out for the next run. Our training is now well rounded and includes what we eat, stretching, increasing running distances and speed, proper recovery after a long run, etc.
It makes me think of our walk with God. Not only is endurance crucial in our times of struggle or hardship, training is required. This includes so many different avenues of what we are training our lives to look like. It is prayer, bible reading, our chosen activities, what we allow our minds to digest, our circle of influence (friends and family), etc. But we must start small. Give ourselves goals and feel the accomplishments and acknowledge the blessings along the way.
None of us can start this journey and be an elite Jesus follower. But with the proper training and fine tuning, we will make progress. We will start with a walk and end up in an endurance run. However, this run is not a hobby or sport, this means our very lives. Our training will add substance and meaning to our lives and the lives of those around us. With every step we take, we get closer to our Father. Bible reading reveals who God is to us. Prayer time allows us to pause and be grateful. Learning to live with this attitude of gratitude is one of the best parts of this journey. We can also make requests during this time but the most powerful prayers I have ever prayed have been when I bring my praise and thanksgiving and then sit quietly with Him. It takes practice though.
With this, I am convinced that when our race is complete and we cross that metaphoric finish line, the reward will be better than anyone could possibly imagine!!
1 Corinthians 2:9 says: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived- the things God has prepared for those who love him.” This scripture is astounding! It basically means that we can’t even dream big enough or stretch our imagination wide enough to grasp the goodness he has in store for us! That pumps me up and motivates me in such a major way. Save this scripture and recall it often. I pray that it will assist in blessing you with the endurance you need to finish strong. Come on… We can do it!