Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Some of you may know I've been training some girls to run a 5k. We started with the "couch to 5k" program, but I've also blended it in with another program I used when I lived in Memphis. I've had so many people tell me they are interested in doing it. I even had someone from Kosciusko Medical Clinic call to see if they could tell their patients about it! I'm going to start another group sometime around spring break for any of you who are interested. Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll add you to the email list.
Running has become such a passion of mine. It is one of my favorite things to do. I've finally started to get some speed in my step. This picture was last week before I left for the Make a Difference 5k in Ridgeland benefitting the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. I finished the race in 26:38! My average pace was 8:34. Had no idea I had it in me! My 1st mile ended, and I looked down at my Garmin to see that I had run it in 7:50. Whoa Nelly!!!
The bible verse above has become one of my favorites. Running is my alone time, my uninterrupted prayer time. I've realized that running a race is a lot like living the Christian life. These verses pretty much sum it up. The witnesses which surround us are those who have already received and practiced their faith and are supporting us to do so, too. They have "been there and done that" and are our "pep squad". If we stumble, they encourage us to get up and keep going. Throwing off everything that hinders means to remove anything that causes us to fail or discourages us. This is different for everyone. It may be friendships, television, the internet, work.... anything that weighs us down and holds us back in our Christian life. You wouldn't run a race and expect to win with a heavy backpack strapped on your back. Sin is our main enemy that we should strive to get rid of. Perseverance refers to the Christian life being more like a long distance marathon, not like a short sprint. We must push through and persevere even in tough times. It's not how fast we run, but how long we run. We have to not only start strong, but finish strong, too. The race marked out for us refers to our life as Christians. It is a race with many obstacles. We aren't competing against others. We are competing against ourselves to make it to the finish line. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means that we should allow him to inspire us. He is our main trainer in life. We should not wander from him. The single thing that makes us great competitors is our focus. If we lose focus and drop out of the race to live what we perceive to be an "easier life", we become spectators from the sidelines. Then we lose so much. The race is well worth our struggles. Faith is what is kept and built. Maturity and character are the prizes, as well as a life well lived that affects others for Him. This is far better than never entering, or quitting when it gets difficult.
Sorry for the long post, this is something I've been studying and have wanted to post about for a while now. I've just been working on getting it into writing.
By the way....I think we may have another runner in the family! I can't wait for this little guy to hit the streets with me.