Today was my 7-mile run. I have to admit that the number scared me. Am I ready? Will I make it? lol… I laugh because just last week I ran 6 miles and did fine, so I should be okay to run 7. However, the anticipation of the run often has me a little nervous. I’m thankful for determination and motivation, however, because thankfully, I’ve not chickened out on a long run and I’ve never regretted it.
As you know, God is using this training to teach me a whole lot about the spiritual race I’m in, and it seems there’s a new lesson every time I run.
As I ran today on an empty stomach and only 2 sips of water, I began to realize a few things.
First of all, don’t run on an empty stomach. You will only be as productive/effective/successful as what you feed yourself. I know it’s not a good idea to feed myself crap food, right? Sugar and running are not a good combination. However, sometimes, I think that the absence of bad food should automatically make things ok….right?
Do you see where I’m going with this? In our spiritual racing, the absence of that which is evil does not automatically fill us with the Truth. Remember the parable of the man who had been filled with the evil spirit, then he fails to “renew his mind” and allow Christ to fill him, so eventually, more than a few spirits come and he is worse than before. (That passage is found in Matthew 12:43-45).
Being a successful runner means racing for the prize and filling myself with the kind of nutrition needed to successfully win the race. If I want to be successful and run to win in this spiritual race (and not just to do “ok”), I need to purposely and just as carefully pick what I put in my heart and mind.
I recently read a post on MyFitnessPal about a woman who dedicated each of the miles of her half-marathon to someone. I think that’s a great idea! I’m definitely planning on doing that as I train and as I set out to actually complete this trek. Although it’s not technically a half-marathon, my first long-distance race will be June 16, the Vestal 20k (12.43 miles).
So, I’m running down the road today, thinking and praying through the idea of choosing a person or a group of people to run for and pray for during my race. The lady who first gave me the idea said that she ran the first few miles for people who had inspired her and that she ran the hardest miles for those she loved and who had challenged her to excellence, and the last mile she ran for herself, because her love for herself was what was really motivating her to make these health changes in her life and to actually run this race.
I can’t judge her for her thoughts. She’s right. We, in our self-centered, sinful flesh, are programed to love ourselves the most. Without Christ, what else is there? We are number one.
However, as a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, I find myself motivated by so much than this 5’3″, red-haired figure I see in the mirror. I am not my biggest fan nor my biggest critic nor my own reason for living.
As the miles progress, I will be praying through a variety of situations, reserving my hardest miles for those things that I am storming heaven about, those people I am begging God to save, those relationships that I am fighting to save. The longer I go, the more tired I am, the more important the fight.
The last mile I will run for the Lord. The last mile I’ll run for what is the most-important, what is the driving force behind all I do, and for the One who is the motivation for my life. He is not the hardest to love, not when I stop and think about what He’s done for me, but since my first mile is so easy (loving myself), the last mile (loving God) is often the hardest because it’s so against my flesh, so very different than what I desire. Yes, I’m only as strong as my last mile, and I’m only as strong as that relationship.
Who are you running your miles for?