It’s Not A Sprint…It’s A Marathon

Running.

I don’t do it often, but when I do, I love how I feel afterwards. It’s taken quite a bit of time for me to learn how to run without it feeling like a slow death, but now that I’m able to run a few kilometers, I enjoy it when I can.

Last night I spent the majority of the evening cleaning my apartment. The kids were gone for the weekend so I saw it as my only chance to enjoy a spotless house, even for a moment. Because every mom knows that a spotless house is like a vapor. It stays spotless for about an entire .05 of a second and then, just like that, it vanishes into thin air. Like it didn’t even happen in the first place.

After feeling pretty good about myself for doing such a fabulous job around the house I had the urge, and the energy, to go for a late night run. I got my running clothes on and my fancy reebok, bright pink runners my dad got me last christmas and I was out the door just before midnight. Late at night is actually my favourite (and only) time that I enjoy running. With less cars and people around and under the cover of darkness is when I feel I’m at my best in this particular situation.

I started off with a fast walk to get the blood flowing and then I started running. In my excitement to get out and run I was off to a pretty quick start and then, as I could feel myself already running out of breath, I had this thought go through my head:

“Slow down. This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. It’s not about how fast you can go, it’s about going the distance. It’s about finishing. Don’t think about how far it is to the end of the block. Think about the next step. Focus on your breathing. Slow down. Pace yourself.”

This train of thought then made me immediately think about a couple of bible verses that have to do with running and “going the distance”.

“…but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”~Matthew 24:13

“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”~Hebrews 12:1

For the rest of my run this was all that was going through my head. This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. Over and over again. So I immediately slowed down and started to focus on my breathing, pacing myself. Forgetting how far I still had to go and only thinking about my next step. My next breath. After a few minutes of this I could feel the difference. I was able to catch my breath. I was able to get more oxygen into my lungs. I was able to run farther without stopping. And before I knew it, I was finished a 20 minute run. I was home. I was so proud of myself and it felt amazing knowing that I pushed my body that much more to accomplish something that just a year ago would have felt impossible.

When I first started running, there would have been no way I could have finished a 20 minute run without collapsing and gasping for air. The first few times it kinda felt like a joke because I would run for two minutes and then have to walk for another five minutes just to catch my breath so I could start running again…and so on and so forth. Not to mention my entire body hurt during the process. Because although I had no problem lifting weights at the gym to strengthen my muscles, training my lungs and developing endurance on the pavement was a completely different ball game. Not the same thing. At. All. I had to learn to be kind to myself. To remind myself that this is a process. Training takes time. No matter what you’re training for. Not many people wake up one day, decide to tackle something new and hits a home run on the first day. At least nobody that I know. If you do know someone like that, please send them my way so they can show me how it’s done because I would love to learn!

Just like I had to train myself to run long distance, it’s the same thing in life. Especially living the “Christian life”. Anybody who tells you that this life is all roses and rainbows and unicorns is lying to you…or they’re doing it wrong. Jesus never promised us an easy life. In fact, He pretty much guaranteed the opposite. That if we did things His way that we can expect difficulties and hard times. Not because He’s the one causing it, but because we live in a broken world. But he did promise to be with us the entire time. And that promise alone is what gives us our strength to continue. To press forward. No matter what.

Just like running a marathon, sometimes it’s going to hurt. Sometimes you’ll fall behind or run into obstacles. Sometimes you’ll even stumble on something along the road. You’ll see other people run right past you at lightening speed with what seems like such ease and you’ll start to doubt yourself whether you should even keep going at all. Some might even cheat a little and push you to the side or attempt to trip you up just to try to get ahead of the competition. All of this is to be expected. It’s part of the deal. But it is no reason to quit!

Keeping your eyes on the finish line is the key! Knowing what is at stake if you throw in the towel! Forgetting what everyone else is doing and how everyone else is running and focusing on your next step; your next breath. That feeling of making it across the finish line. Some of us will run across. Others may limp or even crawl across. Exhausted? Yes! Painful? Most likely! Elated that it’s finally over? Absolutely! Seeing Jesus face to face for the very first time as He smiles and says, “Well done!”…Priceless! And it will all be worth it! We endured!

To endure means: bearing pain, hardships. The ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress or other adverse conditions. To have stamina, a lasting quality.

You have the ability to endure. To continue. You have a lasting quality despite everything you’re going through. Push through. Go the distance. Don’t let all of the pain go to waste. Make it all worth while and let every step be one step closer to the finish line. Remember, it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.

Jen xo