Monday, April 30, 2012

Running the Race

Yesterday, I completed my 2nd half-marathon.

I decided to sign up for it because I found out that if I don't have a race (or some kind of goal) on the horizon, I'm not motivated to run.

My time yesterday was the exact same time as the one I ran in December.  To the minute.  Weird.

However, this race was harder for me - for several reasons.

One reason is that I wasn't as diligent with my training.  For the first race, I was scared to death that if I skipped a day of training, I wouldn't be able to finish the race.  So I hardly skipped any days.

This time, I knew that I could do it, and I was a little more lax on the training.  Because of my lack of training, I was more tired during the race and my muscles and joints hurt more.  Not as much fun.

Another reason is that this race didn't have near as much support going on as the St. Jude Marathon did (which is what I ran in December).  Yesterday we didn't have crowds cheering us on, bands playing cool music, and lots of people running around us.  At times it seemed like we were running all alone ("we" being Kevin, our friend, Sergio, and me).  That made it harder.  We finished, but it wasn't as much fun.

I got to thinking about the race and how it compares to our Christian life.

How important is spiritual training?  Daily Bible reading, time in prayer and spiritual meditation.  How often do I fill up my "down time" with things that aren't necessarily bad, but aren't the best?  Do you ever find yourself in a spiritual "funk" and realize that you've been lax on your daily spiritual habits?  I know I do.  You will finish the race, but it will be harder if you don't spend that time training.  When will I ever learn this lesson once and for all???

Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. 
1 Timothy 4:8 (The Message) 

Also, how important is encouragement?  I know living in a foreign country and not having a lot of strong Christians around me to encourage me has been hard for me at times.  But, I got to thinking, how much do I take time out to encourage my fellow Christians here?  People who are very young in the faith and need encouragement as much or even more than I do.  I am going to make an effort to be more intentional about encouraging my brothers and sisters.  It makes the race easier and more fun!

So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.   
Hebrews 10:24-25 (The Message) 


  1. Hey, don't two half marathons equal one whole one? Congratulations, and nice way to relate it to our spiritual walk. I completely understand feeling alone in the race much of the time--running alongside John, of course. I guess being encouraged by encouraging others is sort of like the teacher learning more than the student. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I love your comparison and it's true. God knew what he was doing setting up the church. Thanks for sharing.