Friday, October 12, 2012

Five minute friday: Running the race

Today I'm getting back to the weekly writing exercise with Lisa-Jo and friends over here.    The prompt is 'RACE' , and this is how it hits my heart....yours too?  Let me know in the comments.

I was a runner.  I say 'was', because my running shoes haven't been on a run in a while.  They've been on plenty of walks with hubby and I, but many years of competitive running has zapped my racing enjoyment.  Did I enjoy the excitement of the race days, the camaraderie, the wins, and lessons learned from losses?  Of course.  But my focus is more on another race now, the race Paul talks about:

2 Timothy 4:7 (HCSB)  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

This is the race that I want to be sure to finish, one that often does not bring accolades....

As a runner in high school in college, there were many trophies, and quite a bit of nostalgia, like the races run neck and neck with my sisters, or the rainy days that made races all the more enjoyable and hilarious (lots of mud = lots of fun!) As a runner, I had a tendency to fight for the lead, and work to outpace the other runners for the entire race.  I loved to get the lead and stay there.  Years past, that worked pretty well, largely because I wasn't particularly intimidating otherwise (hence the need for my nickname 'Ruthless', given by my teammates, in hopes of fending off my competitors!).  

In life, pacing and camaraderie are imperative, but the awards are eternal.  This life is a marathon, not a sprint.  I lived for those shorter races with the quick bursts of energy at the finish, though.  However, they didn't require the same endurance and strategy that longer races required.  I've gotten better at pacing myself in life, and as Paul tells us, perseverance is only developed by training.

Romans 5:3-5 
3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Facing hardships, falling down, and getting back up again.  Running another mile when your heart and your legs gave out two miles ago.  Giving more to others by relying on the resources Christ offers.

But without anyone cheering you on?  Those were never good race days for me.  Most days there were and are many cheering me on, especially the great cloud of witnesses!  I can still hear my teammates, sisters, and mother on those race days....rooting for me, believing in me.  Those cheers often made the difference between a bad race, and a good race.  A victory or a defeat.  So too, do we have the voices of our church community, friends and family, spouse, coworkers.  Just as I've been blessed by others believing in me, I hope to pass this gift on to others...

And most of all?  My eyes are on Christ, on eternity.  One of my favorite passages is Hebrews 12: 1-2.

12 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. 
Finish the race, friend.  Run when you think you can't.  Cheer for others when they are doubting.  And most of all, look to your Savior.  It's all for His glory anyway.  A lesson that has been slowly learned for me, but has made all the difference.

{forgive me for going longer than the allotted five minutes?  :) }



  1. Ruth, I'm so glad that you joined Five Minute Friday again and wrote from your heart, regardless of the time.

    This really spoke to me.... " Running another mile when your heart and your legs gave out two miles ago."

    Aaaah, and then Spirit's strength kicks in! :)

  2. Thanks, Deanna. You've got quite a talent with writing; I can see that on your blog! Yes, thankful for the Spirit's strength and encouragement!


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