Running With Endurance

As some of you know, I am a former long distance runner. I would still be running today, if not for my failing health. I still miss running and competing in marathons.

We marathon runners are a rare breed. That’s putting it mildly. Not many people wake up before dawn to go run 26.2 miles. People often joke with me that they get tired just driving 26.2 miles. I used to run multiple marathons a week. Yes, you read that correctly. I just loved running. Did you know that only half of one percent of the population in the United States has completed a full marathon.

Can we be honest? Completing a full marathon is hard. There is the training. The diet. The miles. The cost. The time and effort. For what? A t-shirt and a finishers medal. The t-shirts and medals are great, but there is more to running marathons than all the things I listed above. But I really did love the medals.

So, it is not surprising that not many people actually complete a full marathon. It takes a lot of effort and commitment.

As Christians, we are running a race that requires proper training if we want to finish well. It takes a commitment. It takes some work. It’s not always pretty. Here are just a few tips for running this race called life.

Prayer and God’s Word. Marathon runners do not head to Krispy Kreme or a buffet before a race. No, we full up on food that will give us the proper energy needed to cross the finish line. We also stay properly hydrated.

God’s word is our fuel. It fills us up. The Word prepares us for the long race ahead. God’s word draws us closer to Him. The Word helps us stay on course. God’s word and prayer strengthens us when we fill like saying No Mas. The scriptures and being in prayer sustains us for the journey.

Watch Your Pace. Every runner has their own pace. Some runners are just naturally gifted as runners. They have perfect stride and can cover more miles at a quicker pace. That was not me. I definitely did not have perfect stride. Thank goodness God blessed me with the ability to run for hours.

As a runner, I had to be realistic about my finishing time. I definitely was never going to be an elite runner. But that did not stop me from training and striving to be an elite runner.

In life, we will be tempted to run someone else’s pace. Their pace is so much better than ours we tell ourselves. Look at their stride. If only I could run like that we tell ourselves. But God did not design us to run someone else’s pace. We were not created to run someone else’s race. God designed a beautiful race just for you and me. Maybe it’s not at the pace we want, but it is the perfect pace for us

Never Stop Training. I was not your average runner. I never took a day off from running. Probably not recommended by the experts, but it worked for me. I believe God knew my running days would be short, so He gave me the extra energy to run everyday. Oh the memories. Wait a second, get back on track OC.

I did not wake up one morning and run a marathon. No, I trained and worked my way up to completing 26.2 miles. As my endurance increased so did my miles.

I love what James says in James 1:2-3, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Just as a runner needs to train for a marathon, we have to continue exercising and developing our spiritual muscles. During this marathon called life, we will face many obstacles and trials. Something or someone will try to knock us off course. Our spiritual training will help us overcome those trials. Can I get a amen?

I love 1 Corinthians 9:24, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

Thankfully when this marathon called life weighs us down, God is there to shower us with His amazing love, patience, understanding, grace and mercy.

Maintain Your Vision. Finish Strong. During my running days, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish. I had my eyes on the prize. Having goals helped me to keep running towards the finish line. To finish strong.

Knowing that our hope is in God, encourages us to keep running forward even when life gets hard. God has given us everything we need to run the race. To strive for the prize. To finish strong.

I love Philippians 3:14, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We all have a race to run. I pray these tips help you to run the race God designed specifically for you. ~OC

Run Your Race

I remember my first marathon. I was ready. I had done the training. I was prepared. I had beat cancer. I was going to own that 26.2 miles. Then on the day of the race, I made a major tactical error. I tried running somebody else’s race.

As the runners lined up for the race, I decided to make my way to the front of the line and run with the Kenyans. The elite runners. I was ready to run with the best. Well, you can probably figure out what happened next. I started out at a pace that I had never run before. Those elite runners left me in the dust. By mile one, I was exhausted. Had I blown my chance at completing my first marathon because I decided to run somebody else’s race?

How many times in life have we tried to run a race that was not designed for us? I know I have on many occasions. And just like that marathon, running somebody else’s race can leave you exhausted. Burnt out. That’s because God designed a specific race just for us. He designed that race at a pace we could handle and be successful.

Like my marathon experience, we decide we like the race the person next to us is running. Their race seems more smoother than our race. Their pace is quicker than our pace. They seem to have it all together. Their race seems so much more exciting than our race. I want that race. Of course, we fail to realize what it took for that person to get to their race. The struggles. The disappointments. The training. The pain. No, all we see are the results of those struggles and we decide that is the race for us.

How many of us are running a race that was never designed for us? Don’t be afraid to raise your hand. We have all been there. It’s exhausting isn’t it? Today I want to encourage each of us to run our own race. The one God specifically designed for each of us. The race He has helped train us for. Maybe it’s not as smooth as we would like. Maybe it’s filled with a lot of hills and bumpy roads. That’s okay. Because through each of those struggles, God is growing us into the person He desires us to be. Guiding us to a victorious finish line.

I am happy to say, I completed my first marathon after that rocky start. After trying to run with the elite runners at the beginning, I recovered and started running the race I had been training for. It was at a much slower pace, but it was the pace designed for me to be successful. I was running my race. ~OC

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