I remember my first 10k race in Jacksonville, FL at the Jingle Bell Run. I had just gotten back into running after my youngest was born and strolled him along in my fancy Bob stroller my husband bought me. I thought that I could just jump right back into running after a couple of months of light training. Boy was I in for a surprise.
I remember the gun firing, the luminaries, my heart rate, the spectators, the music, the moment, and how fast I was running. I found myself caught up in the pace of some well-trained runners. With every step, and every jingle my son made with some handmade bells, I found myself running faster and harder just trying to keep the pace. I was no longer running my race and had lost my pace. It wasn’t until later that I learned pacing and the importance of running my OWN race.
In Galatians 5:7, Paul asks the Galatians why they stopped running their race. Jesus had given them a specific race to run – one of freedom, grace and love. Instead they followed the requirements of the Law and tried to earn God’s favor and lost the joy and peace they received through their belief and trust in Jesus. In other words, they stopped running their race.
It is important to remember that God made each of us with both strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we try something or try too hard at something and don’t always get the best result, but it’s okay. We are not supposed to be good at everything. God has given us talents and gifts that prepare us for our own races, so we must quit trying to run someone elses! God has given each of you a special race that only you can run. Be sure that you are not trying to run a race that someone other than God wants you to run. Let Him guide you-then, give the race your all! I did finish the race and felt a great accomplishment in the end, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have enjoyed the moment a little more (and had a little energy to spare at the end). The best part of the race was seeing my husband and my oldest son cheering me to the finish line.
So how do we run our race?
First, Hebrews 12:2 (MSG) says, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.”
Second, begin with the end in mind. Run the good race to receive the eternal prize. 2 Timothy 4:6 says, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day…” Paul viewed his life as running a race, but it wasn’t just a race for earthly treasures, it was a good race – a Christian race to heaven with a goal to serve Christ and join Christ in heaven.
Third, Pace, Practice, Planning, Patience and Perseverance.
Forth, Run YOUR race, so at the end of your life you can say with Paul, “I have finished the race!” And I know you want to hear those words of our Father, “Well Done!”