If you took a poll of your average person and asked them if they enjoyed running, most would say they dislike it. For most, a bear must be chasing you first to ever run. Running isn’t for everyone. I get asked all the time why I run and it is mostly because they think I am crazy (Which is not untrue!). They think, “Why would you run for miles and miles?” My question in reply is, “Why not?”
I have to be honest, not all my runs are enjoyable. Some are down right miserable. I could quit, but I will miss my goal. You have to push through to overcome the mental and physical barriers.
This last Sunday, I set out on a run. The wind was blowing 20 mph out of the north and it was 45 degrees. On top of that, I was tired before I even put my running shoes on. My kids had had a few bad nights and it had caught up with me. But I have a goal, so I pressed on. You know it was going to be a tough run when you are already checking to see how far you’ve gone after 30 seconds LOL!!! It was that kind of day. I decided a run straight south would be the ticket to help get me through. I prayed for strength before I left and knew it would be by His might that I would finish.
As I ran down this half dirt half gravel road with the sun in face and wind at my back, I realized that I was not enjoying this at all. I usually enjoy running for long distances, but that day was different. Every breath was hard, every stride painful. It took everything in me to keep going and to not stop. I still hadn’t reached my goal so I plowed on. At one point, I thought about diving out in front of a car so I would have a legitimate excuse to stop. Problem was, there were no cars where I was running. I hadn’t seen a soul in nearly 2 hours. Talk about luck.
Our lives are not much different than running for long distances. Some days are enjoyable and brings excitement over the accomplishment. Some days, every step is pain filled and drudgery. So what do you do? Well it depends on your goal! The Bible gives some pretty clear insight on what good goals for life might be. There are even some running analogies as well. Here are a few verses to give you some goals worth running toward:
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37, 39
- “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18-20a
- “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2a
- “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
These are solid goals for believers to pursue and achieve. They help remind us why we are running in the first place. They help us stay the course when each step is miserable. They remind us that there is a great reward for finishing well. The goal of believers should be that we love God and lovingly influence others into the kingdom of God. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, because He is the finish line. We forget that sometimes. We convince ourselves that the finish line is a big bonus, large house, well adjusted kids, large retirement account, fame, popularity, and ease of life. Most of that will pass away with time. Strive for eternal rewards. Keep running so that you will win. Reread those verses and make a game plan for your life to help you finish strong. Long to hear these words when you cross the finish line, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I run to reach a goal I set almost 3 years ago. I have failed twice already. Last Sunday was brutal. With the Lord’s help, I will reach my goal. I have battled setbacks and injuries. I have had to overcome obstacles and hurdles. I have dodged and killed rattlesnakes on my run (wish I was kidding!) But I want to finish well. Not only the race that is ahead, but in my life. I don’t want to be a disappointment to my Savior and King. He gave his all for me and I want to follow hard after Him.
What do you need to change to begin running toward Jesus? Do you have a plan or goals? Where have you seen success? Where have you failed? I would love to hear your story.
Grace and Peace to you as you run toward your eternal home. It really is a long run home, so your goal is of utmost importance.