On Saturday, I completed my 4th and final ODAC Conference Cross Country Championship race. I experienced an overflow of emotions as I prepared for the 6K race. We had tons of fans, I had a few solid workouts to draw confidence from and an awesome group of teammates to run with.
I realized more clearly than ever on Saturday that I fear the unknown.
I feared how I would feel during the race–the anticipated pain.
During my race, the Lord spoke to my heart on two accounts.
1. “You have to make a choice.”
The first is what Coach Bryan yelled as we headed into the second mile: “You have to make a choice.” As runners we all have to make the choice to keep our heads in it, compete and push onward or give into the pain and get sucked into the pack sweeping behind us. Wow. What a picture of our daily choice to get up and live for ourselves and pursue ourown interests or deny ourselves for the sake of Christ, for the sake of those around us and run the race with perseverance even when it seems impossible. In order to make a choice to live for God’s glory, we must take every thought captive as Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians 10.
2. “I’m not going to take the pain away, but I am going to give you enough strength to run through it.”
As I decided to make the choice to compete, I think I began to lament a bit in my head… “Why does this hurt so bad? Why does it have to hurt so bad? Make it easier, God.” And then God spoke this to my heart: “I’m not going to take the pain away, but I am going togive you enough strength to run through it.” When I pray and prepare for races, I think my hope is that it won’t hurt that bad. I almost chuckled out loud as I realized that the goal of running the race for God’s glory is not for it to be easy. The goal of the race is to be drawn into a deeper dependence on Him, surrendering my own will in exchange for the perfection of God’s will.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
As a child of God, I am not made to fear. I am not made to fear the world, it’s pain, the unknown circumstances of tomorrow…I’m made to fear the sovereignty of God which translates into a whole-hearted worship and wisdom.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
I finished my final ODACs race not with ease, but in exhaustion, high blood sugar, and most importantly contentment in the gift God has so graciously given me. Every race gives me a new opportunity to trust. It is anything but comfortable. But then again, being a Christian is anything but comfortable… rather it pushes us into a deeper intimacy with the Creator of the Universe.