Today I completed my first race…a ten mile race. Completing a race has been my goal since I started running about four years ago. I signed up a couple of weeks ago and didn’t think much of it until last night. As I worked to get all of my running gear organized last night, I began to get nervous. What if I was last? What if I can’t do it? What if I get sick? All of these questions filled my mind.
Running is something that God has used in my life to bring me closer to Him. It’s a form of worship for me. There is something about pushing myself beyond what I think I can do that brings me closer to my Savior. During most of my runs I pray, memorize scripture, or listen to either music which glorifies God or the sounds of His creation.
When I signed up for this race a couple of weeks ago, I prayed that God would give me the strength to do it. Although I have invested much time in running over the last couple of months, those doubts still filled my mind. As I prayed and spent time in The Word last night, God began giving me peace. He showed me that I must trust Him, that He would give me the strength to do overcome this obstacle, for His glory.
I meditated on Psalm 18. Though the whole Psalm was so encouraging, I will write down the verses that really encouraged me.
“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.” My God is so personal!! He will move heaven and earth for me! How Humbling!
“He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters….They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.” Indeed the Lord is my support. Again, I am on my face before Him…He delights in me! In me, when there is nothing beautiful about me, except the blood of His son which covers me!
“For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop. By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” It’s all about His strength!
“For who is God,except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?” It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.”
“You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip.”
“Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.
This morning was rainy and cloudy. As I drove to Lincoln I continued to give God my fears and doubts. At nine I found myself in a mob of people lined up and ready to run. Finally, the gun broke through the noise of many voices and slowly I moved forward with those around me. Mile one was great. Mile two was okay, though the trail was very soft and muddy making the difficult task of running ten miles just a little more difficult. By mile three I began wondering if I was sane. “Give me strength, Lord.” was my constant prayer. Around mile four I found a lady who was running about my pace. Around mile eight I was convinced I was going to die. It was then that God showed me that just as I must keep press on toward the finish line in this race, so I must also push on toward the goal He has set before me.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philipians 3:12-14
Oh how I wanted to quit or even to walk. God reminded me of the verses He had given me the night before which gave me the strength to still press on. For the first part of mile nine I slowed down. I knew that the last ½ of the race was all up hill. When I finally reached the uphill part, God gave me a new strength and I gave everything I had left until finally I reached the finish line. After stretching, rehydrating, and watching more runners finish the race, I left. It wasn’t until I was about fifteen minutes out of Lincoln that I realized what God had just allowed me to do. Seriously, I think after being so focused on the race, it was difficult to “unfocus”. I just praised God, knew that just as He had stood by my side this morning, He would always stand by my side, giving me the strength to do what He has called me to do, for His Glory.
Though my only real goal was to finish the race (and not last would be nice), I finished the race in 1:35:17, a 9:32 pace. In my division (Females ages 20-24) I placed 24 out of 54. Which isn’t bad, considering the last time I ran ten miles (last June) I ran it at an 11 minute pace. God is so good! Truly, when we step out of our comfort zone, He is faithful to be our provider, protector, and strength.