Run the Race God Has Set Before You
One Sunday morning during the meet and greet time at church, two ladies commented on my upbeat personality. One woman said that I am always so bubbly, and another said that I always smile. I didn’t have time to tell them that I don’t always wake up that way. Some days I have to talk myself into that smile. I also have to remind myself daily to be grateful for all I have and force myself not to dwell on things I don’t need.
Every morning, I mentally prepare myself to face the world. I hit snooze a few times. I get up, go into the bathroom, and look at the scared person staring at me in the mirror. I make breakfast and pack lunch for my son and myself, but during this whole process, I am in prayer. If you were sitting in my kitchen watching me, you might think I was doing what any normal mom does as a morning routine. If you were to look closer though, you would see that I was quietly talking.
I give my fear and anxiety over to God. Jesus says I don’t have to carry that burden, so I try not to. I thank God for the food I am preparing, the home we live in, the little boy laughing at cartoons in the other room, the heat, electricity, and the most basic of things that I take for granted every day. By the time I am ready to walk out the door, all of the worldly junk that fills my mind has finally been cleared. When I get to my porch, I am able to greet my neighbors with a smile.
Most people don’t understand how I can be so positive all the time. It is simple. I choose not to worry about what I can’t control. I choose to give the negativity, illness, worry, and stress in my life over to God, but I didn’t learn to do that on my own.
In January 2013, my sister convinced me to join a local Run for God 5K challenge. Scared and worried about embarrassing myself, I agreed to try it. I ran track in junior high and high school, and I was so bad my parents begged me to quit at the end of my freshman season. Run for God was not what I expected at all. Everyone was so warm and friendly. The program is tailored to reach people of all faith levels and fitness levels, and God did what God does. He met me where I was and carried me to the finish line.
The Run for God class prepared me to begin a journey back to God. Each week I read the story and listened to people’s responses to the discussion questions, and I thought, “Why am I so angry all the time? I have a good life in spite of being a single mom. I have enough money for all the things my son and I need, a wonderful family, and a good job. Why can’t I just be happy?” During week three of our Run for God class, the discussion was titled “Running Your Own Race: Running the Race God Has Set before You.” I knew then that it wasn’t my sister who led me to the class, but God.
My sister is extremely athletic. She runs much faster than I do, but when we trained together for the 5K, she never left my side. She pushed me through each work out, running beside me step by step. She refused to allow me to quit or fail. A week before our race, the words “run your own race” rattled around in my head. My sister would have stayed with me through the whole course if I had wanted her to, but I decided it was time for me to trust God and let Him carry me to the finish line. I told her to go run her race, meet her time goals, and I would run mine.
I was scared out of my mind when the gun went off, but I turned on my mp3 player and went on my way. I became discouraged in the first half mile because I felt as if hundreds of people were passing me. I knew I had to change my focal point, so I concentrated on my breathing and paced myself to the beat of the music. Around the one-mile marker, I started seeing the leaders of the race looping back. I passed people from my RFG group as they headed back to the finish line. They were over half way done with the race and I had at least a mile ahead of me. They were throwing me high five’s and yelling, “Good job!” I felt overwhelmed by their love. God was showing His love through them.
My sister’s house is about half way through the course, and when I reached it, I cried. My son was sitting in the front yard with my mom. He yelled and waved a sign that read “GO MOMMY!” It took about 300 feet for me to pull myself back together, but I picked up the pace and started the loop back. As my music carried me, I felt a second surge of energy take me into the last mile. Then I saw my sister, who had already crossed the finish line, running toward me. She ran the last mile with me, encouraging me to stay strong. She stepped off to the side about 200 feet from the end, and in the photo of me crossing the finish line, you can see her in the background with her hands around her mouth, yelling at the top of her lungs.
Faith and God’s great love carried me through that race. Run for God taught me that anything is possible with God on my side and faith in my heart. I smile and have a happy heart today, because I am running God’s race.
In Galatians, Paul says they are focused on the wrong things. Christ gave them a mission. He has given each of us a mission. I had to run a 5K to realize my mission, and now that I am running my race, I don’t plan to ever look back. Every morning I wake up, praise God, and ask Him to show me what path I need to run. Without Him, I would be lost on the trail.
Katie Hendricks – Carrollton, OH
Get In The Word
You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Write out the scripture(s) in the space below and recite them ten times.
Something to Ponder
What are you withholding from God? What burdens do you carry that you should give up to Him?
When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and allowed God to carry you through your fears?
Do you spend time with God each day, asking Him about your mission in order to avoid allowing Satan a foothold for distraction?
Running Observations by Dean
Thank the Volunteers
Races are great fun! It doesn’t matter if it is a local race with 100 participants or a party moving down Peachtree Street in Atlanta called “The Peachtree Road Race.” There are mud runs, color runs, and foam runs. Some races are plotted through downtown areas, some through the woods. Some have tons of awards; some are no-frills. There are 5Ks, 100 milers, triathlons, and duathlons. There is a race for everyone. Whether a race requires a lot of planning or only needs someone to draw a line in the dirt, they all have one thing in common—volunteers.
Many volunteers are runners themselves and understand what you are going through as you run. Many of them get up early on Saturday mornings to help their community or the race’s charitable beneficiary: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or ROTC for example. Almost any race that takes place on the roads will employ the services of the local police department, and although they may be paid for their services, they usually volunteer to do the work.
Race directors have a huge responsibility to bring their event together for everyone to enjoy. Have you ever wondered how the portable toilets show up for the event? Yes, the race director has to pay attention to every detail, and at most events they have curve balls thrown at them all day long. They must make decisions quickly, because more questions are coming in another three minutes. Usually when I want to talk to the race director on race morning, I have to wait in line.
On race day, those who hand out drinks, tell you where to turn, and protect you from traffic have put love and time into their roles under a director’s supervision in order to give you a great experience. If you are not one who already tells the volunteers how much you appreciate them, tell someone the next time you race. For most events, volunteering means giving up a day to a cause, and you are part of that cause. Remember that whenever something doesn’t go well for you. These people care about doing things right. I once ran a marathon and was going to receive the first place masters award. When they called out the winner, the time was fifteen minutes slower than my time. Imagine my shock. I calmly walked to the front to explain what had happened, and the race director sent me a trophy in the mail the next week. Problem solved, and I didn’t need to get upset about it.
Like a race, God has set up a course for us to follow. He is standing at the corners telling us which way to turn. He has aid stations along the way to help with any need. He waits for us at the finish line with something much better than a medal—everlasting life.
- Races are full of volunteers trying to make your day the best it can be.
- The volunteers really like hearing appreciation from participants, so thank everyone at your next event.
- God wants us to run His course. He said it would not be the easy course, but it will be worth the effort.
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