Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lessons from the Run - Endure

Welcome back to Chick Food for more Lessons from the Run.  I'm calling this post "Endure" because endurance is exactly what we need in the most difficult part of any race...The Middle. 

 There is excitement when we start anything.  There is satisfaction in finishing.  But the middle is actually where races - in sports or in life - are won or lost. The middle is the hardest part!  It's true.  In a marriage, in a friendship, in a battle, in a life...that dull, difficult trudge toward the finish line is where many people drop out.  But sticking it out in the doldrums has life-altering benefits if we just... don't... quit.  

If you're new to Chick Food, jog on over to the two previous posts Couch to.... What? and Lessons from the Run - Begin and you'll be up to speed in no time. Here are the life lessons I learned during the middle of my recent 5K race:

*It is unwise to compare yourself to anyone else - run YOUR race.  From the very beginning of the race, I was at the rear of the pack.  Having run 5K only a couple of times prior to the race, I was pretty sure that's where I'd find myself.  I told my running partners "I'm not racing anyone else, I'm racing the old me, the one on the couch!" We run to win our race.

*Even when no one is watching, honor Christ.  Because I was at the rear of the pack, I was alone for much of the race.  The course was a winding 3.1 miles through a suburban neighborhood with many cul-de-sacs. At one point, several dozen people who were walking the 5K came into view, and I noticed they were omitting all of the cul-de-sacs, cutting off a significant amount of distance... they were cheating!  After they passed by, no one would have seen me if I had done the same thing.  No one but me...and God.  I ran every cul-de-sac, because He is watching, and I want to walk honestly before Him. 

*When you run alone, it's easy to lose sight of your goals and get discouraged. After running nearly 2 of the 3.1 miles, most of it alone, I began to get disoriented and discouraged. I couldn't see the finish line, I was overheated and dehydrated, I hadn't seen any other runners for a while, and I began to question whether I was still on course.  Then I passed a race official, so I knew I was on the right track. Whew! I was wearing earbuds, so he assumed I couldn't hear him, and I overheard him say into his two-way radio "There's a woman here....#62...uhh...is she walking or running?" Ok, buddy.  I get it.  I'm slow. More discouragement. But just then, I saw a few other runners, and I re-focused on finishing my race. Which leads me to my next learning....

*Others need to see you running your race.  Seeing those runners gave me perspective.  It gave me hope and courage.  I needed to see them heading for the finish line.  They inspired me...if they could finish, so could I!  Even though our life-race is an individual pursuit , we need each other.  We are not meant to run alone. 

And there I leave you.  I hope you'll join me tomorrow for Lessons from the Run - Finish.

Today's Verse: Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...Hebrews 12:1 NKJV

Prayer for Today: Father, help me to focus on MY race, what You have called me to do.  Help me to keep the faith, and run with patience through the "middles" in my life.  Help me connect with a community of believers to help me finish strong.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


Kendall said...

I'm loving these posts Leslie! They're so rich!

anything but LoKEY said...

"We are not meant to run alone." LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

Leslie Oden said...

@Kendall @Anna Thanks, ladies! Being part of a leadership team and a small group for the last 4 years is proof positive to me that I am not meant to run alone. And the race was such a great illustration of that! I'm getting as much out of this as anyone! :o) Thanks for the comments, girls!