Enjoying the Journey
Running has become for me many things. It is a means to stay in shape, a stress reliever, time to think. Recently it has become a classroom in which the Teacher has been showing me so many important lessons.
It is not by accident that God refers frequently in the New Testament to our life as a race to be run. Henry Drummond wrote a great deal about how the physical world mirrors so many spiritual realities. This should be no surprise to us, for the creation simply reflects the Creator.
This is why the Lord Jesus so often used parables – physical, earthly, every day things – to speak of much higher truth. In this way, running has begun to remind me of so many lessons God has revealed in His Word.
Please permit an amateur runner to share a few of these reflections…
- In running I have learned to keep my head up.
There is a tendency when you run to look down. To concentrate on the time expired or the distance covered. This takes all of the fun out of the journey! And it makes the run much longer.
Look up! Lift up your head! How often we fix our attention on lesser things, littleness. This is why when the Lord says, “let us run with patience the race set before us,” His very next words are, “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
When my attention is on the track, the obstacles, or how I feel the run becomes a drudgery. When I look to the Lord it becomes joy.
- In running I have learned to breathe.
In through the nose. Out through the mouth. Again. And again.
It is amazing how energizing oxygen is! When we breathe properly there is a renewed strength that comes.
In the race of life it is the wind of the Spirit, the very breath of Heaven, that is essential. We must consciously depend moment by moment on the One who never grows weary. As we do, His energy and equipping is a living reality.
- In running I have learned to lean forward.
It is easier to run when you lean into it. Forward motion. Momentum. Even so in the Christian experience, we must exhibit diligence. Wholeheartedness. Passiveness will never finish well. Complacency will never win the prize.
Spend yourself. Give your all. Run your race.
- In running I have learned to wear good shoes.
They say that runners should replace their shoes every 500 miles. I have always been flat-footed and so a running shoe with good arch support is important to me.
Interesting isn’t it that God admonishes us to have our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” The race and the warfare are not too different. Both are a battle.
And to be prepared we must have our feet “shod” with the right equipment.
This is the gospel. Everywhere we run we are to carry the message of salvation. Wherever our feet touch an impression should be left for the Lord Jesus Christ.
- In running I have learned to set goals.
Push yourself to the next marker. Run hard for one more minute. Such goals stretch the runner and help him to grow.
It is impossible to run the race God has given you without goals. Yes, there is something to be said for the discipline of just continuing to run. Yet there is a need for definite goals. Set something specific as your aim and ask the Lord for strength to press toward it.
- In running I have learned to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Cokes and coffees are no good before and after a run. Only water. H20 is the runner’s friend!
For the believer, it is the water of the Word of God that refreshes the soul. Do not think that you can run for long without returning to the well. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
- In running I have learned to make use of the time.
Several minutes are spent in a good run. Hours over time. While I certainly believe it is worth the investment, I have learned that these are wonderful moments to listen to good music, meditate on Scripture, or just talk to the Lord.
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Running the race of life is about more than going through the motions! It is about making the most of every moment.
Worship the Lord. Commune with Him. These are the things that make the run enjoyable and most profitable!
And like the running, the lessons go on and on. I have another run to take today…and more lessons to learn about life. Run your race and allow the Lord to show you His purposes all along the way.
(To read more about running your race click here.)