It’s early in the morning. People are gathering. Some are chatting with friends, others nervously fidgeting as they hang by themselves. Someone makes the announcement.
“Please move to the starting line.”
Running a race is… intense. Some “professional” runners are in to win that trophy or a sweet medal. Others, like myself, simply want to run and not die. Or break our face.
I haven’t been a “runner” all my life. (Side note: the fact that I refer to myself as a runner is a HUGE breakthrough.) I used to DREAD the “Presidential Physical Fitness Testing” in middle school and freshman year of high school. Especially the mile run. Whenever that time of year would roll around, I would head to gym class with a pit of nerves and fear in my stomach.
“Please Lord. Don’t let today be the day we run the mile. PLEASE.”
I was embarrassed. I always finished last. I hated it. I wanted to cry.
But last Saturday, I finished my 3rd official 5k race. Yeah, I ran 3.1 miles. ON PURPOSE. This fact alone still blows my mind. It was a great race in Americus, GA to benefit the Kisses From Katie cause. I had been training hard and managed to shave 3 minutes and 4 seconds off my best ever race time.
Now before you think I am just writing this to write this, please know: This was the first time I ran for God. Him alone. Sure, I have been training hard, but I wasn’t running for me anymore. I prayed every day for the Lord to give me the strength and motivation to do this. Because if all thing are possible with God, then Him making me a runner ranks right up there with turning water into wine.
And guess what? I no longer hate running. I almost call myself a runner. That’s a miracle in itself.
On race day, I got up early for my quiet time. I was hoping for a fresh and inspiring word from the Lord as kind of a “race day motto,” so I flipped over to my concordance and looked under the word run. This is what it said:
“You’ve been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.” ~1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (MSG)
I was blown away. Wow. That’s just cool.
We are all running the race of a lifetime. But God is going to be the one who decides who “wins.” If we run for Him, we can win that eternal gold medal as we cross that heavenly finish line, weary and sweaty with a smile in our heart.
So I didn’t run a 5K. I was just running after Jesus. The mileage just happened to equal 3.1 miles. I prayed on the way to the race. I prayed before the start, as I nervously fidgeted (aka pretended to stretch.) I prayed with each step. I prayed when I saw yet another freaking hill in my path.
When I finished, I was completely spent. (The paramedics who were in attendance gave me a “look” that said “If someone goes down, it might be this gal.” But I didn’t. Thankfully.) Even in my exhaustion, my mind was still on Jesus, thinking about that award that never tarnishes. As I thought about this, they announced my name and handed me this:
Yes, 2nd place for my age division. Granted, it was a pretty small race, but I didn’t take this as an award from the race organizer. I took it as encouragement from Our Father. To me this red ribbon represented much more than finally not coming in last place. It was a message from God. “You are doing great, my sweet daughter. You aren’t there yet, but keep running. Stay faithful and your reward shall be great.”
You don’t have to a literal runner to enter the race for God. We can “run” together. He is waiting at the finish line, cheering us on. How do you run with God daily? How does He cheer you on? Let me hear it by leaving a comment below!
The stopwatch is poised. Grab your iPod. Lace up your shoes. We are in the race of a lifetime.
Keeping Pace with Christ,
“I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” ~1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (MSG)