Today I was reminded of the importance of training in order to run my race well. I was brought to the 12th book of Hebrews and the 1st verse.
Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, [who have borne testimony to the Truth}
let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance and that sin which so readily clings to and entangles us,
and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.
Training for the race is hard work. Often, it is difficult and unenjoyable, but it is necessary for us to complete the task. When we fail to train well, we set ourselves up to fall and maybe even cause injury. Other times the weight of weariness takes our eyes off of the finish line and places them on our own striving, making it so hard to finish well … to finish strong.
Galatians 6:9 reminds us not to grow weary in well-doing, but I have to confess something… there are days when I am weary. There are days I want to stop running, and I want to just turn around and push that do-over button.
Yesterday was a do-over day for me. It was a long day full of unnecessary stress, most of which I am quite sure I heaped upon myself, but in my sin and pride I refused to entertain that silent still voice speaking into my heart through each moment. That is of course, until I decided I was done striving and chose to hide myself in my prayer closet ( aka the bathroom) and cry. Not just cry out to God.. but literally cry.
It wasn’t a single event which caused the boiling pot to flow over yesterday, or an issue that arose which I reacted wrongly to. It was a culmination of many little things. Isn’t that usually the case? Little by little, like the scripture says, we become encumbered with the things that easily trip us up and limit our movement foreward. There was more than one something weighing heavy, building up and taking residence in my heart, which I was refusing to address. The busy schedule, the many appointments, and the constant need to ‘get things done’ only added to this invisible, but very real, pressing upon my soul. I ignored it and, likewise, I also ignored to heed the need my body was requiring me to take. Time to stop, time to rest, and time to listen for the crowd a’cheering. I forgot to listen to the One who was whispering my name, calling me … beckoning me … to yield and release. As I have failed to take care of ‘me’, I only added more stress. Are you guilty of this, too?
Take those steps to train for the race so you don’t hinder the running.
It has been a long cold winter and living where I do, the chance to get out and run has been non-existent. We are READY for spring to arrive. We are ready for new life to bloom from the cold dreary winter. Even under the snow there is life preparing to emerge. The process of running provides that chance to shut off my mind and just move. This willful moving is so good for me on many levels… emotionally, physically, mentally. It is a purposeful act of which forces me to take care of this vessel I have been entrusted to value while walking this journey towards grace. It takes time, that I don’t always want to give. It takes effort I don’t always have to expend. It takes intention which I don’t always follow through on. But it is necessary. It brings the balance in the middle of the chaos. It not only forces me to exercise and take a few minutes out of my day to get alone, it provides such a great opportunity fo me get alone with God and just listen.
When I am closed in, hedged in by circumstances, I feel like I just need to RUN.
Though the physical aspect of running is such a benefit to our bodies, we first need to learn to run to the Cross and lay it all down. We need to roll our works upon the Lord, casting them all upon Him. (1 Peter 5:7) He cares about each and every detail. He longs to fill us with peace and lead us in wisdom through his Holy Spirit.
Sometimes rather than running to something, I inadvertently run away and then I am lost in the situation rather than controlling the rudder that steers my ship. And then I need a lifeline thrown my way.
Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that there is a gathering crowd riding on the clouds watching in anticipated excitement, cheering us on to the finish line of life. As I look at this I imagine there is a chorus of voices encouraging us to keep on to the end. I imagine the other side of glory beyond the veil, which separates eternity and our reality, full of encouragers who are longing to tell us that the end is wholly worth the effort, the toiling will produce a bounty, the working is not in vain, the struggle has been noticed …. there is a reward for those who diligently pursue His will. We can be assured of that.
If we continue in that chapter to the 2nd verse it gives us the direction we should look in this race we run. Look to Jesus.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right had of the throne of God.
This morning my lifeline came in the form of a precious voice reminding me of those promises. A phone call that was intented to get beyond that veil I wanted to hold up and reach into the transparent reality of living. It was a hope-moment that I needed to refocus and re-examine the direction I had been moving. Not so much my reaction to the situations that had built up, but more about the focus and the promise that I knew was true.
You see, God speaks into our lives in ways that are transcendent of our finite understanding, yet he meets us where we are… ALL THE TIME. He is faithful, even beyond our understanding of faithfulness, because he answers those prayers we don’t even pray… knowing and meeting our needs before we know we have them.( Matt 6:8)
The training we have already purposed to complete, as we fill up on His Word, is one of the rewards in the faith life. As we focus on WHO is waiting at the finish line it changes our perspective. And today as I come back to my word for 2014, LEAN, I remember that we are not to lean upon our own understanding but to trust fully in the ONE who planned our destiny. Every situation that reaches my living is filtered through His hand, and though some of them are not things I would choose to go through, I know that He has not left me once. (Is 41:10)
Today I was reminded that I have a team in heaven rooting for me to finish strong, and I am surrounded by a team of warriors running right alongside of me. This marathon of living has a few turns and detours that sometimes change the view before me, but the color that splashes into my daily stride paint the sidelines and the pavement with beauty of fellowship and a promise of expectant hope.
A few weeks ago, I was given a treadmill. I was so excited because it provided that opportunity for me to get my run in, even though the snow has piled high upon my running path outside. As the Lord met my heart need reminding me I am not running alone, I was able to meet my health needs of getting on that treadmill and walking today, exercising and training for the day when the spring thaw prepares the path for my feet to pound.
Thankfulness shines bright in the transparency, and the exercising of my faith muscles have been sharpened by the iron strong team of encouragement beside me.
So, I need to ask you today, How are you running your race? Are you feeling a little dulled by winter’s slumber or have you been training steadily? How do you keep yourself focused on the author and finisher of your faith in the midst of your every day living?
Blessings and Prayer!
My friends are writing their journeys too. Take a moment to hear their words and see their hearts as they share what they are learning as they run the race. Lyli at Thought Provoking Thursdays, Jennifer at #TellHisStory, and Christian Mommy Blogger at Fellowship Fridays.