Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
I wouldn’t be here on my own. I’d be asleep in my comfortable bed relishing my only opportunity not to be awakened by the annoying beep of my alarm.
Instead, I chose to meet up with the 2017 marathon training group I joined. I wanted to continue chasing things I’ve always wanted to do but never quite had the courage, and running a half marathon was one of them.
This team of runners weren’t what I expected. Most of them have never finished any sort of marathon, and like me, don’t even run for exercise or necessarily enjoy running. Men and women at various fitness levels and ages.
But something inside caused us each to fight back the pull to stay in bed and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. A personal challenge we hope we have the capability of achieving.
It’s what brought us together at 7 a.m. in the pouring rain on a stormy dark Saturday morning, ready to run our 3 miles.
Ready to take on the intense training required to finish a marathon.
My legs pushed forward as if God had given them the strength to power through their resistance as worship music echoed my praises, bringing me before His presence.
Rain poured down in buckets, dripping off my hooded raincoat, splashing onto my face like tears of victory. Each drop, a representation of life showering moments of this past year that required courage, perseverance and determination like running against the wind.
Moments when His strength became my own. Courage to live out God’s will no matter what people thought.
Boldness to use the passion God gave me for His glory instead of hiding it away. Bravery to face my deepest fears. The desire to repent from my sins and stomp on fleshly reactions when my feelings are hurt.
The Lord’s hand over my life felt real. His grace washing over me. I began to run faster. Energy filled my soul. The first runner spurred me on to go ahead of her and smiled at me.
This wasn’t about who finished first. We were for each other. We weren’t there to beat anybody. We weren’t there to compare but to encourage one another on.
Everyone was running against their own competition, themselves.
I was running for the healing that poured over me for the past few years. I was running for the Holy Spirit that gives me the power to overcome my own frailty. For weakness turned to strength. For hope found in Jesus. For joy that comes in the morning and breaks through angry clouds illuminating rays of light in darkness.
This same kind of hope brings us together. The deep desire to be in community in order to be loved and known. The strong-willed determination to defeat the lies that tell us we can’t.
We run against the intense winds of hopelessness that are relentless in their pursuit to knock us down. Click To Tweet
We run against lonliness. Heartache. Grief. Pain. Insecurity. Anger. Pride.
We are all runners in this race we call life.
The ringing of the alarm awakens within us the choice to decide what kind of day it will be.
Will we retreat back under the covers and hide away?
Or will we see the day as a challenge we can meet with optimistic anticipation because we realize we aren’t in this alone?
The presence of the Holy Spirit empowers us to put one foot in front of the other.
The community of other believers encourages us if we take a risk and choose to get to know the person running next to us and maybe even smile if they run ahead.
Because we both know there’s a finish line. And we both want each other to finish well.
Why do we think we have failed when we see others succeed? Click To Tweet
Why do we fool ourselves into thinking we are on our own and that nobody cares?
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. I Corinthians 12:26
As the last person comes in my friend goes back and finishes the run with her and everyone cheers. We give each other high fives whether we were first or last.
Celebrating the fact that we all set our alarms to wake up early and we all knew if it weren’t for the group we’d still be in bed.
There are days when the marathon of life seems like too much to handle. It’s then when the alarm startles me awake with the pounding of my heart and the heaviness of my thoughts, I pray for the Lord to fill me with His strength to live my day with passion and to fill my soul with the hope that comes from knowing I’m not alone.
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:5 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:19
I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… Philippians 3:13
Author, Lisa Preuett read this post and commented about a devotional book she wrote for runners. This is definitely on my reading list now. What a great gift idea to give your running buddies too!
Valerie!! This is AWESOME! I found myself nodding my head and saying yes, so many times throughout this post! I feel like I’m right here on that journey with you- overcoming fears, choosing to say yes to God and what He has rather than shrinking back in fear. Thank you for this amazing encouragement and for inspiring me to keep moving forward. I’ve chosen this post as my feature post for this weeks salt & Light Linkup. ?
Wow! Thank you Alisa, I’m so honored. I’m also so blessed and happy to be on this journey of being brave and facing fear with y0u. I’m hopping on over to check out the feature! So happy!
I absolutely LOVE this post! My passion for running and encouraging others in their faith led me to write a devotional book for Runners. So many parallels between running and our journey with Jesus. Check it out and be encouraged! Blessings to you. https://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Race-Devotions-Runners-Soul/dp/163357072X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing here. I can’t wait to check out your devotional! Great gift idea to give running friends too!
Valerie- you inspire me! Major kudos coming your way for conquering this!!! So proud of you!
Thank you so much Shannon. You inspire me too!
Love this, Valerie! I don’t run anymore (I think some much older person traded knees with me), but I used to, a lot! It’s such a good analogy, for this life of faith.
Running can be hard on the body that’s for sure. Ivy, thank you for visiting.
Valerie, I have to admit that I never liked running and would be hard-pressed to wake up early in the morning and head out in the rain — so, good for you! Still I can relate to the parallels and the reminder that we should spur one another on to the finish line. We really do need each other and I’m so glad that you’re there to cheer me on! And I’ll do the same for you!
Amen my friend! I’m so glad that we can cheer each other on too! Love you!
Hi Neighbor, So cool that you are doing a post on marathons. I am also doing a series on “endurance.” Would love to share your post to my Endurance Collection on google+ and Pinterest! (coming to you from Coffee for Your Heart)
Hi Molly, Thank you so much for sharing. I love the theme of endurance and all that we can learn about that from running. Have a great day!
What an awesome testimony. My husband is a marathon runner and I see so much of his faith in his running. I am more of a 5k girl, but I have found these experiences very life-giving too. When it’s tough, I think of the times God has been faithful to me in life and know he will sustain me through this race.
Hi Kelsey, I think any length of a marathon is hard where we have to find the strength to press on–just like in life. Congrats on your 5k runs and on your husband’s marathons!
Great encouragement on running our races, Valarie! God has laid this theme on my heart as well this month-Running your race. You’re so right, we all run different paths and different ways for different reasons. Thanks for sharing yours with us and encouraging us to spur each other on to victory in Him!
Thank you so much for visiting Jill. Blessings to you!
Congratulations on your commitment. Running truly is a meditative process and your parents have been great roll models for making running a daily designated time for health and prayer, – body and soul!
I used to run 5k’s, nothing longer, my knees wouldn’t let me, but I loved ‘flying’ and clearing my mind. God enters empty vessels, right?
Read you were in AZ, next time make your ladies rendezvous here in Sedona! Love and hugs, A. Linda
I sat next to a lady on my flight to AZ that totally reminded me of you. We talked the whole way. I went to Placerville on Mother’s Day and Aunt Jan and Uncle Dick came too. We thought of you and missed you. I would sure love to take a trip with the family and visit you.
As a runner I can relate to this post.
Thank you for visiting Nylse! Keep on running!
So good, Valerie! One, I am so proud of you and all the gains you have made the last couple of years! You amaze me! 2 – You blow me away with your training schedule! 3- This is such a good analogy to life and how desperately we need each other along the way ♥ I’m so thankful you are on my team, my friend!
I’m so thankful to be on your team too, Lori. Thank you for being such a kind friend! Love you!
I loved reading this. I ran a half marathon several years ago and I can relate so well to these words. It was the community around me that kept me going. Love you, Valerie!
Good for you Dawn! It’s hard work that’s made easier by being around others who have the same goal. Love you!
Fellowship and accountability make all the difference, don’t they! And when it’s the fellowship of other believers on our life marathon, ones who are cheering us on, there’s nothing quite as encouraging! Thanks for the reminder of how much we need each other and how important it is to love and encourage others. I loved this: “Why do we think we have failed when we see others succeed?” Oh, that nasty pride! I look forward to reading the next post!
Yes, fellowship and accountability makes a huge difference. There’s so much motivation when you are working towards the same goal. Blessings to you.
Yay, Valerie! I can’t wait for you to cross the finish line … and then come back and read this post. (Really mark it in your calendar!) I ran a marathon in ’03 and a half in ’04. The training is incredibly tough. But who you become in the process is amazing. The friends you make are for a lifetime! You can do it!! Philippians 4:13
Thank. you Dianne. I actually finished the half on April 2nd and now I’m training for a full. I appreciate your kind words.;
I was a runner for so much of my life. You are right, there are so many parallels. Love this post!
Thank you for visiting Carrie!