A Former Couch Potato Runs the Race
By Amy Carroll
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last;
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” I Corinthians (NIV)
My friends Maggie and Rhonda are real runners. They run marathons and are teeny tiny. I have not, and I am not. Up until now, I’ve been a fairly well-confirmed couch potato. An upcoming birthday has changed all of that, though. Let’s keep this between you and me - I’m turning 40 this year. I decided on my last birthday that I wanted to do something to combat the feeling that forty was a marker for the downward slide. The idea that captured my mind, heart and imagination was running a 5K for the Susan B. Kommen Foundation! My friend, Rhonda, wrote out a training plan for me, and I’ve been following it pretty faithfully. To my amazement I’m making progress. Here are some lessons I’m learning as I run.
1. You can’t finish if you never start -
I have so many ideas that my brain feels likes it’s on a constant spin cycle. Sometimes, though, I never muster up the resolve, make a plan and get started. Fear is one thing that holds me back. Even the thought of running a race boiled up some fear. “What if you don’t finish? What if you’re dead last? What if you’re not cut out for this?” Too often I also let the tyranny of the urgent push out my dreams. Instead of hearing God’s voice and obeying by making time for His plans, I let the daily urgency of my schedule push the lid down on my box of dreams until they die from lack of attention. I encourage you to get started! Pick up God’s dreams for you, dust them off and resolve to put His plans into action today.
2. One step builds on another -
I wanted training to happen quickly, but I can’t say that it has been easy. To run a race, I have to spend time taking one step after another and building up my endurance. In the same way to grow as a Christian, I have to commit to time with the Lord and practice putting His Word into. I shouldn’t be discouraged that I’m not a spiritual giant today, but I do need to be faithful as I increase my time and endurance in the practice of spiritual disciplines. Be faithful and watch your endurance grow!
3. Fix your eyes on the goal –
One morning last week, I was tempted to quit running before my time was up. In one last effort to build my determination, I focused my eyes on the trashcan at the end of the track. Every step was one closer to that trashcan and to the end of my run. We have a prize to fix our eyes on that is the ultimate inspiration —Jesus! He is the King of Kings, the one true and perfect Man, the Giver of eternal life, the Beginning and the End, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is awesome, and I want to meet Him at the finish line. When my eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus, I find endurance and strength to run this race of life that defies my understanding. Let’s let Him set the pace and run hard after Him.
I still have some fears about finishing my 5K, but God has used the physical training to remind me of some truths about spiritual training. By the time you read this, I should have finished my physical race (I promise to tell you all about it!), but the spiritual race that I’ve embarked on will last my lifetime. I’m thankful that I have such an inspiring goal and that He is the One who will enable me to finish the race.
Dear Lord, Help me to race for a crown that will last forever. Although the race is hard sometimes, I want to run well and finish hand-in-hand with you. I fix my eyes on You as the goal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
6 Habits of Highly Successful Christians by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer
Plan to spend time with God each day praying and reading your Bible.
Ask God to show you if there are any dreams that He wants you commit or recommit to fulfilling.
Where are the places in my life that I’m only willing to implement the “quick and easy”?
Who has God put into my life that might serve as coach, trainer or partner?
Acts , “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” (NIV)
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 04 June 2007.