26.2…I couldn’t get the marathon runner’s emblem out of my head. Even though I tried to dismiss the image, it wouldn’t go away. No, at this point in my life I was NOT going to take up running as my new form of exercise, but I felt that God had some lessons that He was trying to teach me.
Because my son and daughter-in-law are half-marathon runners, I have an elementary knowledge of the running world. My husband and I have often cheered them on at races, however, I realized that I could learn so much more. I began asking them questions like “How do you train, what do you think about when you are running and what motivates you to keep going?”
As I thought about all that I was learning, a passage of Scripture came to my mind: Hebrews 12:1-3. This Scripture contains many life lessons based on the imagery of running.
“Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles”
If a race is on a cold morning, my son will often shed his jacket right before the race so that he has less to slow him down. I have learned that I may have things in my life that are slowing me down or “entangling me” such as unconfessed sin, anger, resentment, jealousy, excuses, laziness, negative people, etc. If something comes to my mind, I visualize a runner throwing off his jacket as he is running. I have learned that I need to run my race unencumbered.
“Run with perseverance the race marked out for you”
If I am a unique creation of God, then He has a race marked out for me. Why do I try to run in someone else’s lane? Why try to be or act like someone who God did not create me to be? When I stick with the path God has “marked out for me” using my strengths and abilities, I am a much happier runner!
“Fix my eyes on Jesus”
Many marathon runners run with a Pacer who will keep them on pace to finish the race in a certain amount of time. I want to run with a Pacer who will make sure that I finish my life strong. My Pacer is Jesus and I choose to fix my eyes on Him.
Likewise, I want to run with people who are running with Jesus. It’s not that I don’t have many different people in my life, but I want my core group of runners to be those who are running with Jesus. They won’t lead me off track. They will help me keep up my momentum. I can “draft” off them when I am weary. They will pick me up if I fall. They cheer me on to finish my race strong.
Now every time I see a marathon sticker in someone’s car window, I am reminded of the lessons I have learned: Throw off anything that is holding me back, run my race in my lane and don’t try to be someone I am not, run with Jesus and the people who are running with Him. So many lessons from one simple word – RUN!
By Anita Kelley