I ran a marathon. Wow. Just seeing those words typed shocks me. Running has never come easy for me. I am definitely not fast and spent many years telling everyone “I am not a runner”. This all changed a few years ago when I went for a run while on vacation and God asked me to listen to christian/worship music while I ran. That sounded insane to me but I decided to give it a try. A funny thing happened when I obeyed him in that moment. I ran faster and further than I had ever ran before! From that point on God began to show me that I can do more than I ever dreamed possible if I would simply partner with him. This seems so simple yet so many of us miss this truth and try to do things in our own strength. The result is lack of dreams accomplished and we are worn out and weary. As I reflect on my marathon journey I realized God was teaching me many life lessons that I want to share with you. Even if you have no desire to run a marathon I believe you can apply these principles to many areas of your life.
As I mentioned before, I did not simply decide to run a marathon and then go do it the next day. It was years of hard work leading me up to having the strength and endurance to tackle such a challenge. I started with 5k’s, Spartans, a half marathon and then finally the marathon. I’m not saying you have to do it in that order but understand that it will take some time and that’s ok.
Life lesson: When God asks you to do something bigger than you can do in your own strength, hold His hand and start by taking one baby step at a time.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE MINDED PEOPLE.
It is crucial that we surround ourselves with people who believe in our goal and will help us achieve it. The best thing I did for my marathon training was to join a local running group. I had a date with them every Saturday morning at 5am and we ran in all weather and endured it together. When you think you can’t take another step they are there to say “yes you can, run along side me!”
Life lesson: Life really is better with friends.
One of the first things the coach in my running group taught me was to slow down. He knew I couldn’t keep my pace for 26.2 miles. He told me if I would run slow for the first part of the race then I would have energy to finish strong. Not only did that advice save me from losing steam and not finishing the race strong but it also helped me to enjoy my journey. I was running so slow that I was able to enjoy all the funny signs along the way and the scenery around the lake. Here is a picture that was captured of me around mile 15 and I truly was so happy!
Life Lesson: When God asks you to do something, don’t sprint out of the shoot or you will quit before you get to the finish line. Life is a journey, stop and smell the roses.
GET PROPER FUEL.
I also learned in my training that when you do a long run you should fuel your body every 3-4 miles. If you don’t, your energy sources will get depleted and if that happens it is almost impossible to refuel your body so it can function the way it needs to for the entire race. Isn’t this true for our spirit too? If we keep running through life without stopping and fueling ourselves with the word of God we will get too depleted spiritually to finish our race.
Life Lesson: Take the time to properly fuel your mind, spirit and body so you can do all God has called you to and function the way you were designed to function.
BE PREPARED FOR LESS THAN PERFECT CIRCUMSTANCES.
When I was training, almost every long run I did I was met with a less than perfect circumstance. Sometimes I would have a foot hurting, once my phone died so I had to run with no music, another time I had a cold and had to carry snot rags to blow my nose. This list could go on and on. Often times we commit to do something hard and when the going gets tough we quit. The fact is that life is not always easy. Things don’t always turn out as we expected. But if we know going into it that everything may not go as planned, and we are ok with that, then we won’t be so shocked when it happens. We will simply readjust and make it work with what we’ve got. Here I am almost to the finish line and the reason I have my phone in my hand is because my headphones died on the last few miles so I had to carry my phone so I could hear some music to keep me going.
Life Lesson: Don’t let obstacles keep you from accomplishing your dreams. Stay strong even in the face of adversity and you will finish the race in which God has set before you.
ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11:
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
I can’t tell you what a life line the people along the side of the marathon on race day were to me. The signs they held up, the drinks they passed out, the high fives and “way to go’s!” they gave, were the fuel I needed to keep moving. I also noticed that there were a ton of people at the beginning and end of the race but very few in between. It made me think of how it can be in life sometimes. When we start something new we have people cheering us on and when we reach our mountaintop people are cheering us on. But where are the people in the middle? It inspired me to be a “in the middle” cheerleader to my friends and anyone reading this blog.
Life Lesson: Pass along an encouraging word or tell someone you love what they are doing. You never know what point of their race they are in. Your word may be just what they needed to keep going.
RENEW YOUR MIND.
This is my last point but certainly not the least. My husband and I were reflecting just recently on our marathon and we realized that though we were in better condition when we were teenagers there is no way our minds would have been strong enough then to run a marathon. The motto God gave me for First Fruit Fitness is “Submitted Heart. Sound Mind. Strong Body.”. I have learned that if our heart and mind are strong and submitted to the Lord then there truly is nothing our body can’t do.
Life Lesson: Renew your mind and your body will follow.
I pray this post encourages you to walk boldly in the direction of the dreams God has given you. I promise you He will be with you each step of the way and will give you all the things, and people, you need to fulfill your destiny.