Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons from the Run - Finish

I have loved sharing what God has shown me as I trained for and ran this race. Today is the last post in the series, and I find myself just a little bit sad about that.

Let's see...where did we stop yesterday? Oh, yes...still on the 5K course.  I was hot and dehydrated, and more than a little tired.  But catching sight of some other runners put a little zip in my step and I pressed on. As I ran up yet another hill (remember there were no hills in my training?) I saw a sign that said I had just completed two miles.  Two miles? Are you kidding me?? Just then, a big shout went up from the crowd as a group of runners crossed the finish line.  So discouraging.  They were already finished, and I was only 2/3 of the way there!  As I plodded toward the race's end (yes, I know it was a race, but I plodded during a lot of it, ok?) with maybe a half mile still to go.... I saw running partners! They had finished the race, and were coming back for me! I tried not to let them see the tears in my eyes as they began running alongside me, encouraging me. "You're almost there!" "Water just ahead!" "Only one more hill, you GOT this, girl!" My friend Kelly put her iphone on speaker and blasted Katy Perry's "Firework" as we got closer to the finish.  I literally borrowed their strength when mine was gone.

We crossed that finish line together, we cheered, and the crowd cheered!  My friends knew I was nearly last to finish (my time was 39 mins, 10 secs. No, I am not kidding) but they didn't let me finish alone!  Isn't that amazing?!  I'll leave you with a picture of us, and three things I learned about finishing:

(Ben, Kelly, Caden, Rob, Gene (darling hubs), Chris, Kristi (1st place winner), Natalie (3rd place winner), Will (1st place winner), and me #62)

*Steady is better than speedy. I am not fast, but I didn't quit.  Do your best, put one foot in front of the other, and you can finish your race.  Maybe not in record time, but... :o)

*Cheer the small victories of those just starting out. This was my first race, just a little 5K, but it was huge to me.  My friends made me believe I could achieve this goal.  In the same way, those just beginning their faith journey need to be encouraged when they take even the smallest steps toward God.  Everyone needs a cheering crowd. 

*If you're strong, don't just run YOUR race. Reach back to help those who are behind you.  I'm so glad my friends did more than just finish their races.  They thought about me, came to where I was, and helped me finish. This is a beautiful picture of discipleship and life in a community.  Yes, we run to win our race, but we only fulfill part of God's plan if we don't reach back and help someone else win theirs. 

Today's Verse:  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:12-13

Prayer for Today: Father, thank You for those You have placed in my life to strengthen and encourage me.  But I don't want to just run my race. My life is not my own, but Yours.  Please show me those I can help and encourage along the way.  In Jesus name, Amen. 


Kendall said...

This totally made me cry. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Leslie Oden said...

Thanks so much, Kendall. I cried too as I told the story. What they did was so Christ-like, it touched my heart in an unforgettable way. Almost immediately after the race, I wrote down 12 things God showed me that morning. I didn't want to forget a single one of them! It was only four blog posts, but there is so much gold to mine in the truths He shared with me! May have to write more... :o)