The forecast was bleak and I was pretty worried about the rain. To mentally prepare I came up with a slogan I would live (or die) by: Just keep running. No matter how hard the rain fell, no matter how much pain I felt, I would just keep running (like Dory).
Thankfully the rain held off, but the slogan turned prophetic. About every 3 miles I would look in the crowd and see someone holding a sign that said, “Just keep running.” At mile 12, I was about to let off the gas until I spotted a sign, “Just keep running”. So I did. I just kept running and I finished the race.
From training to finish line God taught me many lessons along the road, and here are four I’ll share with you.
For years I’ve wanted to run a half marathon, but fear of failing always kept me from signing up. This year I told my cousin Michael I wanted to run the Murray Half, and challenged him to join. From that day on Michael and I began texting each other after every run, making sure the other was staying the course.
Race day was a public event, but the four months of training before were private and lonely. No one was watching or cheering, and it was only Michael’s accountability that kept me going in private, so I could cross the finish line in public.
The same is true for life. It’s the private devotions and habits that form us into the people God calls us to be. It’s those private disciplines (reading, praying, repenting, etc.) that bleed into the public life others see. It’s accountability that will keep you fighting the good fight in private, so your light can shine in public. So find your person.
Race day was drastically different than all the training days before. The streets were lined with people cheering, holding posters, and handing out water. Their smiles and cheers kept my mind off the pain in my legs and fueled the perseverance in my heart.
In life, it’s the people cheering you on that makes all the difference. Their encouragement will keep you going even when you feel like quitting. So find your spirit team, and let them cheer you on.
Run your own race.
In a field of 300+ runners, I was only competing against one; myself. Leading up to the race I asked several marathon runners for advice and they all basically said the same thing, “Run your own race.” In other words, don’t look around and run like everyone else, find your pace and run your race.
In a hyper social media culture we are tempted to look around and judge our lives against all the people we scroll by on our screens. We judge our parenting by looking at how everyone else is parenting, and so on. Therefore remember to run your own race, because God doesn’t call you to run your Facebook friend’s race. God calls you to run your own race in faithfulness to Him.
Finishing is what matters.
The finish line was surreal for me. It was the moment when months of suffering turned into a moment of glory. With the sounds of my family celebrating behind me, I walked forward to receive the medal that said, “13.1 Finisher”. At this point I could say I fought the good fight, I finished the race.
And in that moment I caught a glimpse of a greater finish line to come. The one at the end of life where I hope I can say like Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). On that day Jesus will not give me a medal, but a crown of righteousness because I loved Him till the end. That will be the moment when all the sufferings of this life will turn to glory in the presence of my King.
The finish line is coming. Just keep running.