Hey friends!

So I know that with Christmas upon us, running is the last thing on anyone’s mind {trust me, the most exercise I’ve gotten is walking from my fridge to my television and back}, but yesterday I was reading a passage of Scripture that brought me back something I’d like to talk a little bit about. So if you can bear with me and envision life sixty degrees warmer…let’s talk!

Running is something that I’ve always been self-conscious about. I did track in high school and I HATED running with other people. Some people love running with a group…but have you ever noticed that those are the people who are really great at it? I’m more the kind of person who’d like to duke it out at the treadmill in an empty gym and quietly simmer in my own embarrassment.

This isn't me. But really, it's me.
This isn’t me. But really, it’s me.

 

And of course, when it came to race day, my eyes were always on the perfectly toned, model athlete—striding down the lanes as though their feet were made of air. They caught the eyes of everybody at the meet—including our coaches. Knowing that I would never be in their league, I would sigh as I took my place on the track and think to myself: “Why can’t it just be that easy?”

In Philippians 3, Paul compares Christianity to running a race: “forgetting what is behind and straining for what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” It’s a verse that can bring a lot of encouragement—yes, we will face obstacles, but if we can just keep our eyes on the prize, we’ll be okay…right?

Sometimes, I’ve found that the obstacles aren’t our greatest problem.

Sometimes, it’s just the plain old fact that we suck at running, even the spiritual kind.

And this is where we lay down and cry.
And this is where we lay down and cry.

Have you ever had somebody in your life that made Christianity look effortless? Whether it’s a pastor, a parent, or good friend—they just GET it. They handle struggles with grace, they have an unshakeable faith, and have a love for people that is nothing short of Christ-like. They’re the Billy Grahams of the world, and while they’d never say that they’re perfect, in your mind they might as well be.

And then there’s the rest of us…who within five minutes of leaving church are already in the middle of some kind of trouble, who are more prone to anger than forgiveness, who doubt God far more often than we trust Him. At times its easier to say that we’re not Christian rather than having to justify our hypocritical lives. And while in our hearts we want to do this God thing, it’s so easy to look at the model Christians and ask ourselves “Why can’t it just be that easy?”

One thing that still baffles me about God is His love for the underdog. He used fishermen and tax collectors, not kings and politicians, to do His work. He came to the world as an infant when He could have come in full glory. As embarrassing and horrible as being the underdog might be, I’m starting to think that God might have a purpose for those of us that trip and fall and complain and swear we can’t finish the race. Part of me thinks that God’s message is written in the sweat and the blood and scars. And as much as we have heaven to look forward to as a prize, I don’t think God’s at the finish line, waiting to welcome the #1 Christians with open arms and wondering if the rest of us will make it.

I think He’s running with us.

A

He’s helping to pick us up when we fall, cheering us on at every turn, putting His hand on our shoulders when our eyes look to people passing us and whispering in our ear: “It doesn’t matter what they think. believe in you.” And with His patient encouragement, knowing that we have nobody to impress but the One who already loves us unconditionally, we finish. And there’s no victory sweeter than the victory of an underdog.

Let’s face it. I will never be an effortless Christian. But I’m learning that there’s something beautiful in the struggle, and that I’m not the only one. So as we lace up our spiritual sneakers this Sunday, fully knowing that we’re going to trip and fall, let’s be reminded that it doesn’t matter how well we run as long as we never lose sight of the One who runs with us.

A

Isaiah 40:31: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

The race that you run is your own. Run it well and you can never lose.

live and be blessed,

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3 thoughts on “Learning How To Run The Race {But God, I Suck At Running!}

  1. I love this Jeanette! You have such a talent for capturing a great lesson! Thank you for sharing your heart. I heard a great quote this week that something you said triggered, “We all love underdog stories, but none of us want to BE the underdog.”

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