finishing well…on the road and in your faith…

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in faith, perspective, running | 0 comments

This afternoon, my running partner and I went to East Grand Rapids to trudge through a seven mile run. I was dreading it a bit, partially because it had dropped 30 degrees from yesterday, but mostly because it was a new distance for me. But it was (relatively) pleasant, other than the long straight stretch right before the end of the run, where I felt like Parker on a long car trip. I kept asking, “Are we there yet? Do we have less than one mile left? How far have we run so far?”. I’m sure I was just as annoying.

But we finished, felt good about it, and have plans to add another mile next weekend. My friend is training for a July 4th 15k, so we just have a few more weeks to get her up to speed. I might try and run the annual 4th of July race in Ely, MN instead…maybe twice for solidarity? (Yeah, right.)

Running has become a regular part of my life, so my interest was piqued a few weeks ago when our pastor dug into Acts 20:22-24. These verses are a portion of Paul’s final words to the church elders at Miletus before he heads to Jerusalem, and there is a distinct focus on “finishing the race”. Verse 24 states, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” The call is not for us to finish first. The call is not for us to beat anyone else. The call is not to give up with 100 meters to go. We are called to finish, and as someone who runs, I totally connected to this concept, because for many people, including me, we run road races for the accomplishment, the camaraderie, the adrenaline, and to finish the race.

As he was talking, I scribbled down a list of words that came to my mind about what you need to finish well…

  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Consistent Practice
  • Strength
  • Community
  • Accountability

…and loved that they translated to running both physically and spiritually. One that stood out to me is “consistent practice”. It is amazing to me how much easier it is to run when you are doing it regularly. Take a week off, and your first couple runs back are rough. Same thing with practicing your faith. The more that you consistently ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit, the more natural it becomes. The longer you get in the habit of studying the Word every day, it becomes a regular part of your routine. I have loved being a part of “Hello Mornings” for that reason; it gives me a purposeful time with God, and also provides two of the other crucial components – accountability and community. I would never EVER run seven miles on my own; it’s only because my friend and neighbor asked me to run with her and then showed up at 1 p.m. to pick me up. I would probably not be working my way through the book of John if I didn’t have a community of women who waking up and getting into the Word too.

If you don’t have this type of accountability and community, find it…pursue it…hunt it down. It matters deeply.

And then there is commitment, which flows naturally from some of the other components. Consistency turns into commitment, which is supported by your community. Run into some rough terrain – a long mile or a disintegrating relationship – without all of your pistons firing correctly, and you are in for a rocky ride. Have your endurance built up, your trust rock solid in the One who has the long view in mind, your support system that seeks to push you in the right direction, and while it might not make it less rough, it makes it survivable.

Our task? Testify to God’s grace and spread His story through every inch of our lives. Our goal? To finish the race. Nothing else matters.

Acts2024

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