It seems that the Lord is dealing with me ever so gently and sometimes not so gently with my issues of discipline and self control. Everywhere I turn I hear the words 'race' or 'discipline' or 'running' or 'endurance'. I've had several conversations just in this passed week about the 'marathon of life' with various people. Words are echoing through my mind.
There are sweet precious people in my life that are running races that seem never ending, exhausting, and heart wrenching. People I love deeply and ache for.
Is this a coincidence? I think not.
With the God of the universe who fashioned all of the stars into place and told them where to shine, there is no mistakes or coincidences.
Not to mention my own shortcomings that have been OBVIOUS to myself for a while now. I'm not doing so great in this daily marathon. I often get discouraged and my eye off of the prize. Impatience, perfectionism**, anxiety, laziness**, and lack of time management often gets the best of me and I succumb to this ugliness once again.
**How on earth can these two go together??? Perfectionism & laziness. I have yet to figure this out. Randomness- that's me! I'm most certainly a perfectionist about some things. And yet, I'm lazy about other things. Maybe 'consistently inconsistent' is a better term to lump these two together.**
I loved what my sister in law said the other day during our conversation about running in real life and in a spiritual sense. She is a real runner. The Lord has used this in her life to show her the rewards of running hard races in life. To sum up what she said, Heather explained that anytime you practice endurance, discipline, self-control, whether it be physical or spiritual, you will see fruit. You can either physically see fruit in regards to your body in your health, your physical strength, and your overall appearance.
Or you can see spiritual fruit by growing in your faith, overcoming a stronghold, or taking captive old thoughts that were once there and replacing them with truth. Whatever the case, the Lord can use this endurance to grow you in ways not possible on your own.
I could go on and on here with the comparisons to running a real life marathon or a spiritual marathon. The lighter the load the easier the race, or staying within the race set before us vs. getting of the track, or running with a purpose and goal.
But, instead, I'll let scripture elaborate on what it has to say about all of this. I have been reading today about running races. There are some GREAT verses that encouraged my heart........because scripture is cool like that!
"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you." Galations 5:6-8
"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." Hebrews 12:1
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
I also stumbled across a poem written by a Christian mother on a blog I visit- Ordinary Mother. I was also encouraged by her words. I'll leave you with the poem she wrote.
One Mom’s Marathon
A meditation on Hebrews 12:1-3
She pours her coffee bleary-eyed
Scraggly hair in pony tail
Stained pink bathrobe
She makes her way to the green chair
Pulls out God’s Word
And meets Him there
At first her mind will not be still
The library books
The grocery bill
But right there in that common place
She reads and finds
She’s in a race
And though she sits there in her home
She’s not alone
A cloud of witnesses looks from heaven
The faithful ones
From chapter eleven
She hears their voices, sees their faith
About the race
Throw off every weight or sin
That slows you down
Run to win
The weights and sins flash through her mind
Her unbridled tongue
Her use of time
Oh sweet relief to read the phrase,
Look to the founder
Of your faith
Jesus with joy endured the cross
Despised the shame
Suffered for us
He sits now at the right hand
Of the Father
In full command
She sits now and considers Him
Who endured hostility
From sinful men
She sets bare foot to this day’s race
She fixes her eyes on
The throne of grace
She pours the milk with Olympic finesse
Hears a spill
Sees the mess
The great crowd she also sees,
Hears the cheers
Drops to her knees
To clean the milk, not to pray
Like she cleans it
And while she serves in obscurity
She runs slow and steady by the One
And her heart
Hears His, “well done”.