|My friend, Shelly, and I at the starting line.|
I ran my first half marathon back in 2012. You can read about the experience here. Last time, I was nervous about the possibility of even finishing the race and about an injury I had acquired during my training. Verses such as "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,..." (Hebrews 12:1b-2a, NIV) were huge for me. Even though that verse still rang in my ears as I ran, this year I was struck more about the training process itself and less about the race.
|The starting line|
The book I read recently called Anonymous (which I have mentioned before) pointed this principle out very clearly. When Jesus was tempted in the desert he had to be spiritually mature enough to resist the devil repeatedly. When a tree is blown violently in the wind of a hurricane, it needs to have roots which are strong enough to hold it in the ground. When a child is released from our care into the real world, that child needs to have a depth which will not let them easily be swayed by the crowd. When I want to run a half marathon, I have to do the same.
|A man (around mile 2 or 3) who plays his grand piano for the runners as they pass by every year.|
During training, there were so many early mornings and so many long runs. There were breakfasts I missed out on with my family. There were hours I spent running on the treadmill or in my neighborhood. There were foods I passed up and water I had to hydrate with. There were hours of sleep I lost and lots of laundry I had to wash. There was a price which had to be paid, but the end result for me was to accomplish the goal of the race. This time verses such as "No disciple seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it." (Hebrews12:11, NIV) were huge for me. I love how God can take the same experience such as training for a half marathon and help me to see totally different lessons in it.
|A picture of me at the end of the race.|
When I stepped up to the starting line, this time I was not nervous like I had been the time before. I knew I had trained for this moment. I knew I could make it to the end baring any injury or unforeseen event. I was confident in my training.
|The girls and I at the end of the race. Lauren said she didn't mind hugging me even though I was sweaty, because I was her Mommy. Now that's love!|
This process has made me more aware. I want to be growing good roots to my faith as I move through this life. I want to pass on some unimportant things I might want to do to grow more in my faith. For example, forgo some TV watching to read a book which will deepen my faith and walk with Christ. I want to plant more scripture in the lives of my kids so they will be able to use it like a sword to ward off the darts of the enemy. It will require more discipline. It will require less of me and more of God. I have already started instituting a few changes, but I need to stick to them. I need to continue to remember that "no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it." (Hebrews12:11, NIV)
I ran to receive a medal that will tarnish and fade even though it is shiny and beautiful now. It will perish with time. I am so grateful that God gave me a body that works, but it will perish with time as well. I am even more thankful for my soul which will live forever, and for Jesus who died to save it. It is only by His grace that He called me, and I am saved. God is good, and I am glad He speaks to me while I am still in my mortal body to teach me and guide me in so many different situations.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV