The Race of a Lifetime

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) 

Categories: encouragement, God | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “The Race of a Lifetime

  1. Good for you, Sharita! I love 5Ks and that last mile always triggers the 1 Cor 9 verses, as well as the “pressing on” of Phil 3:14. My daily “run” with God includes the usual (prayer, time in the Word, etc) but also doing the daily stuff (laundry, dishes, yard work, etc) but with the Col 3:23 attitude – doing it all as if it’s for Him.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Awww shucks, Susan– Thank you 🙂 I don’t know if I can say I quite “love” 5ks but they are definitely growing on me! For me, the first 3 minutes of my run then that chunk in the middle just before reaching the halfway point are the hardest for me… It’s when I do most of my praying 🙂

      Living life like Col 3:23 is a great approach too– thanks for that reminder!

  2. Congratulations and what a feat! I was like you in school, hated to run. And now running is so popular, it actually makes me wonder if I should try it again. I’m just in the wondering stage. So proud of you and with God all things are possible . . .and you may even win a ribbon for your efforts!

    • Thank you so much! Running is incredibly popular, which is why I struggle with “admitting” that I am a runner– mainly because I’m not super fast. (Some of these folks run like the wind. It blows my mind!)

      I started running again using the couch-to-5K plan… Something I never thought I would do– but as you mentioned (and as it says in the word) with God ALL things are possible. Even me becoming a runner. Ha.

    • So glad you asked, Shelly. The Couch to 5K running plan is super popular– I know some churches that have small groups doing it. And it works. Seriously. It turned an overweight asthmatic girl (me) who couldn’t (wouldn’t) run a quarter mile for anything to a gal who is much closer to a healthy weight and actually runs… on purpose.

      You can google it or check out this direct link.

      I modified the plan, making a personal spreadsheet, printed it out on my wall. It had the specific dates on there so I couldn’t “skip” and say “Meh, I will do it tomorrow.”

      Hope this helps. And good luck. It’s awesome. 🙂

  3. Woo hoo! You go girl! 🙂

  4. Momma Lex

    I’m so proud of you! You inspire me to go outside my comfort zone and I am thankful to God to have you in my life!!

    • Thanks, Ma… Bring your tennis shoes when you come to visit in July… We will go running. (JK. But seriously. Bring tennis shoes. You can walk with me while I ruck march. Ha.)

      • Momma Lex

        I will def bring them but I won’t be running-I would probably end up in the hospital!! 🙂 I’ll try not to slow you down.

  5. Look at you! You ROCK! I know this feeling. I ran a couple of half-marathons a year or so ago, and I am NOT a runner. It was an exhilarating feeling to cross that finish line. Crazy thing, though, … I’m so out of shape now, that I can barely run a mile!

    • Um, so Jennifer, I vote that if you ran a “couple” half marathons that you are a runner. 🙂 That’s awesome girl.

      And yes, unlike riding a bike, running isn’t quite the same when you stop and try to start again. Just ask my Christmas break experience. Thanks so much for stopping by and I love your GDWJ link up!

  6. Congrats, very proud of you.

  7. Barbara

    Great reminder to do all things for Christ.

  8. I’m happy for you. Have often wanted to run… but my body somehow becomes too heart-hammery and exhausted. NOW that I’ve aged significantly I really can’t put myself on that place any more. I DO like to take long and quick walks. It is a blessing to serve and follow the hand and heart of our dear Father. You done good!!

    • Thanks, Joanne. And its great that it doesn’t matter if we are running, quick walking or doing the dishes– we can do everything for Him. 🙂

  9. fullherlife

    Evenin’ Girl!
    This was so good! I am a RUNNER! And just in the last few months I’ve been more aware that I’m running more for God than myself. I pray for Him to make me strong, healthy, energetic, wise, loving, and anything else He wants to give me. HIS strength is perfect, and my running always reminds me of that. ~ Congrats girl, Love Amy

    • That’s wonderful, Amy. I pray right along with you– for health, energy and love! Great, great words… It’s like you are a writer or something 😉

  10. Way to go on 2nd place!! I’m a new runner myself. Never thought of running for God…but I do run to remember. I pray for the families of our fallen every time I run.

    • Amen, Tiffany. I ran the the “Run for the Fallen” downtown on Memorial Day. It was a moving ceremony– and one that we can remember our fallen soldiers and our risen Christ.

  11. simplyhelpinghim

    Congratulations! It is always so wonderful when we focus on Him, in the midst of things that are difficult for us! Someday I hope to run a 5k! Thank you for sharing your story! 🙂

  12. Pingback: Operation “Fortitude” Fitness (Month #6) « 7 Days Time

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