On your mark, get set, go!

At this point in my life, I’m not sure why I’ve started, but I have. I’ve started running, as in exercise not running startfinishaway from anything. Unless if being out of shape counts, then yes, I’m running away from that or at least trying to.

In the grand scheme of things, my daughter and I decided to try and run one 5K a month. We each took to our own training rituals. We were doing pretty well until the summer came, she left for France and I left my running by the side of the road. Upon her return, we were back on track (pun intended) sort of.

This past Saturday night we ran the “Frightening 4K”, a 2.5 mile trek and I can tell you the only frightening thing was my performance and probably what I looked like when I was done.

Our run started out as a beautiful October evening with a cool breeze, loads of energy, and the anticipation of seeing how it would all end. Then the starting gun went off and so was I, determined and methodical (that was, until the first turn). I was out of breath and immediately heard my calves screaming at me. I screamed back (in my mind of course), “Shut up! I warmed you up. Now do your part.” So that you understand this internal dialogue completely, when I say I warmed up, yes, I stretched, ran in place and tried my best to mimic the other runners. But honestly, it’s more than just the pre-run warm-up, remember I had not run (or prepared) all summer and here it was October. I had kicked my routine to the curb for months, so what made me think I could just automatically start again? Stupidity is about the only word I can think of. The dialogue continued and I would have drowned it out with my music, but the headphone port on my phone was broken, so I was forced to hear my body complain for what seemed like an eternity.

Eternity. Isn’t that what our race is supposed to be—about the great race of life and getting to eternity?

On my “Road ID”, I put 1 Cor. 9:24 as my inspiration verse. It says, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” (NLT) Run to win. Well Saturday night I wasn’t running to win, I just wanted to finish and not place last in my age group.

In the Kingdom of God, is it just enough to finish or is there more? I know that living for God is not a spectator sport (standing or sitting along the race route cheering God and others along). Yes, there are times when we need to cheer, but it should be done while we are in the race together.

So how should we run this race to win? By preparing our spiritual bodies to win for Christ Jesus. It’s by giving it all we’ve got through these three steps: prayer, worship, and service. Each step is a preparation for the next, which makes us stronger and more adept at navigating the speed bumps and turns in the road.

The first step in “running the good race” is prayer. God calls us to a higher standard, one in which we run not to compete against one another, but to bring our requests and petitions to Him with thanksgiving—Philippians 4:6. We are also called to intercede and stand in the gap for others.

The second step is to worship God in praise and song, because He is worthy. Psalm 98:4 says, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music.” (NIV) Do you ever feel guilt, shame, fear or trepidation when worshipping? Even if you have these feelings, He wants you to bring your brokenness to Him anyway. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:8-9 (NIV)

The third and final step in “running the good race” is to serve. Jesus understood servitude and his ministry exemplified that by putting others’ needs before his own. One of his most noted examples is in John 13 when he washed the feet of his disciples. Is there a ministry or organization you can get involved with: helping the elderly, volunteering in the nursery, bringing a meal to an inbound person, mentoring in a classroom? “But be sure to fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24 (NIV). Being a servant to Him fuels our spiritual longing and ultimately allows us to be an extension of Christ.

131007finishWith this knowledge that all “Good Races” are about how you prepare, you can now start your own race and finish to win, claiming the prize in Christ Jesus. Thank goodness for that, because my prize for Saturday’s run was finishing fourth out of five in my age group. It also rendered me three days of painful hobbling around, wishing I’d been better prepared.

Until next time, stay chic

Vicki

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil 4:6

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NIV)

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Eph 1:4 (NIV)

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