In the past year I have started a new hobby: running.
I always believed that in order to run, you had to be fast. Running was always a sport, something that athletes did. They ran races and competed to be the fastest. That’s it. Just a competition. All about speed.
I always thought it would be so neat to run and be fast. But I was not fast. I could barely run. I would watch races on field day at school and envy how quickly the runners made it around the track. Long strides, quick motions.
Yet, here I am, as an adult, running. Not fast. Not with long, graceful strides, but running none-the-less and enjoying it. The only regret I have is that I waited so long to get off the couch and try it.
Speaking of couches, my friend Vincent (much more of a real runner than I am), always tells me I run faster than anyone sitting on the couch. Which is both hilarious and encouraging. Why? Because I run slower than a turtle through molasses and often use this as an excuse for why I haven’t signed up for any races. Yet, it reminds me that slow running is better than no running and I need to keep it up.
Truth be told, I realize I could never win first place in a race but it isn’t always about winning first place as much as it is about finishing. Sometimes the greatest prize isn’t the medal you hang about your neck but the prize of completing what you started, of accomplishing something you dreamed you never could, of making changes that are lasting and real, of working through the difficult and seeing the finish line.
And so it is in our spiritual journey. Our spiritual journey is a race. We run alongside many runners. All different – they look different, dress different, and run at different paces. Yet, we are all on the same path to the finish line. We got off our couch. We got in the race. When we get there, we all receive the prize. Not a perishable prize, but an imperishable.
And for this we run. We keep our focus. We go through difficult sections of the path, at times treacherous and disheartening. We run in daylight, and we keep pace through darkness, taking one step at a time as we follow His voice. Meeting other runners along the journey who encourage us, motivate us, who help us grow, give us new knowledge, and enable us to hear His voice more clearly.
So I run. I run this spiritual race and see the analogy in my physical running. I may be slow. I may have a long way to go. I may at times want to quit but I will not stop. And I will finish well.
“Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:25
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:7-8