3 Lessons in 3 Miles

Sometimes I regret being a student athlete in college. My workload is absolutely hectic. Something always hurts, whether it’s plantar fasciitis, turf toe, or tendonitis in my achilles. I see my husband less than I would like. Most days I have a rock in my stomach the size of Alaska in nervous dread for hard workout I know is coming. Yet, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Our races are a five kilometers (sometimes 6) journey of learning and growing.

1. Pushing Past Your Limits
It may sound cliché, but no pain no gain. A race is supposed to be the most uncomfortable minutes of your life. You should be pushing past your boundaries, feeling for your breaking point. Getting complacent is the worst thing anyone can do in the midst of a race. Let go of all that holds you back, and just run. Hebrews 12:1 shows us that we must forget all that weighs us down and persevere:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

2. When Things Get Hard, Lean on Him.
The middle of the race is the hardest part. I’m tired. My legs are growing weak. My lungs are burning, and I begin to cut myself down. “I’m tired”, “I need to slow down”, “I can’t do this.” All of us have faced this. In almost every race there is a point when we must make a choice. We can try to run with our own strength, or we can look to God as our only confidence. I fail all of the time. Leaning on my own power often causes me to stumble because I am imperfect and wavering. God, however, is not. He is constant, perfect, and never failing. I’m not saying that because I trust in God, I will win. What I am saying is that remembering his faithfulness in my life reminds me that I am strong enough to do anything THROUGH him. Especially when I am focused on doing it FOR him.

3. Setbacks Strengthen Us
I have had many races end in tears. Disappointments cannot be avoided in any sport. I have found that my shortcomings are where God produces the most teaching. Who truly grows when things are easy? After a bad race, I am forced to reflect on what happened. I can almost always pinpoint it to a single moment. I came to a crossroad. Left was my own path, right was God’s. I chose left. Instead of focusing on him, I allowed my mind to wander to pain. I began to lose confidence in myself. Discouragement welled up inside of me, and then trailed behind me like a weight. I look back at that pivotal moment, and I try and think about how I can make the right decision the next race. The beauty of God’s grace is that he never gives up on me. He’s patiently and eagerly waiting for my growth.

1 Peter 1:6-7: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”



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