3 life-lessons from a distance runner

As many of you know, I’m a distance runner – been doing it since high school cross country … I’ve run several marathons, several half-marathons, and a lot of 10Ks. I especially love “trail running!” But the main thing is, I run for ME! And I do “Prayer Runs” nearly every day (I clock about 35-40 miles a week) and pray for the needs of family, friends, and others who send their requests my way as I run. On the week of my birthday each year (since age 65) I do an extended “Prayer Run” and run my age in miles that week (last birthday was 72).

I’ve learned a lot of life-lessons from my running and thought it might be good to share three as we approach the end of this decade and enter 2020. Here they are…

1) Patience and persistence. The Bible says, “Run the race with patience, looking to Jesus!” (Hebrews 12:1-2) The Christian life is NOT a sprint – a short run, successfully run with a burst of speed. It’s more like a marathon. In fact, the running adage for which I am known at age 72 is “I’m not fast, just stubborn!” We press on regardless of the obstacles, the pain (“no pain – no gain”), the distractions, the disappointments… even a periodic, unexpected, stumble or fall! Which brings me to the second life-lesson…

2) The need for vigilance! Anyone who has run for awhile – especially “trail runners” (those who tackle the terrain and get off the pavement to run) know that a periodic stumble or tumble is a part of running. I’ve had several falls of varying consequence… some during trail running others on pavement. Usually it not the big obstacle that gets you; instead it’s simply a lapse of vigilance… a stone, an uneven place in the pavement, something that draws your attention away from the trail for a moment. The consequences of a lack of vigilance can be painful – I’m not looking for sympathy, but one of the most painful falls I’ve taken happened about a week ago (and ended with a visit to Urgent Care and 5 stitches over my eye) and it happened on pavement because of a lack of vigilance. That’s why the Bible urges “vigilance!” (1 Peter 5:8-9) – its the little issues that can trip you up on your journey with the Lord!

3) And finally, be objective oriented – determine to finish the race! My cross-country coach always said it this way… “run patiently, run smart, and finish strong!” That’s how I intend to follow Jesus! Patiently… with vigilance… but I intend to finish strong! Heaven is my goal… Hearing Him say “well done, good and faithful servant” is my desire, and let me add, seeing His face at the finish line will top it off (“looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith!” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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