We’re all running a race, but many of us aren’t paying enough attention to notice. God has given us each a race to run in this life and I want to run mine well. But each day, each moment is a part of the race we can never run again. There are no do-overs or free passes in life. At times, we can learn from our mistakes and try again. But we can never relive our moments.
If we were keenly aware of God’s future plans for us, we could easily plan and train for this race. I like knowing where I’m going. I like to see what’s up ahead, plan for contingencies and then follow. But God’s race for us isn’t like that. He simply says, “follow me.”
Running without a map may seem ridiculous. But we aren’t running blind, we have our Good Shepherd and His Word leading us. Here are some race training habits to live by as found in His Word.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. ~ Psalm 37:5
We can’t run well if we aren’t committed to the race. Following Jesus is a lifelong commitment. I was reminded of this last weekend watching my daughter confess and confirm her faith at our church. She and 26 other young teens stood up and declared their faith and promised to follow Him. Many see it as an ending of education and dedicated learning to this point. But it’s really the beginning as our pastor reminded us all. Without a commitment to follow, we’ll never run well.
When our children were younger, I made a commitment to attend church every week and read my Bible consistently. It was to set a habit of worship and learning, but it was also a recommitment to take time out of my life for Him. Some weeks, I’ll confess, I’m not always as committed. But committing even when I may not feel like it is invariably when I learn something new or powerfully sense His presence.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. ~Proverbs 16:3
Committing to Him doesn’t end Sunday after worship. It occurs every day in our thoughts and deeds. It’s getting up early to pray, attend church or read the Bible. It’s engaging with others in Bible Study or sharing verses and devotions with family, friends or others. There are many times I don’t want to write a blog post, read my Bible, or go out of my way to help or serve others.
But then I look at Who I’m following.
Jesus always followed well. He lived a perfect life, which we cannot do. But we can strive to be more like Him daily by putting one foot in front of the other.
It doesn’t matter if I’m cut off in traffic, feeling overwhelmed, or stuck in a valley of life, He’s always there to follow. My job is to pick up my feet and follow. On any given day this may entail holding my tongue, getting up early, reaching out to help and trusting in His promises. Whatever is needed, He’ll provide. We may not always understand God’s path, but we trust He is training us for an upcoming portion of the race. So we simply commit, obey and run.
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. ~Romans 12:3
We’re a society of stats. We review scores, speeds, times, and even videos of our performance to improve. It’s similar in this race we run. While not stats, we can look back on our lives to see how God connected the dots. The path wasn’t straight or always easy, but the lessons learned, relationships made or the experiences gained were priceless.
Sometimes, God lends insight for our race or shows us when we’ve strayed from His path. But as the apostle, Paul reminds us, we need to be honest with ourselves. Using a gratitude journal, recording answered prayers or just being still to review and reflect is powerful. Often in this process, we sense God sustaining and leading us to the next steps of the race.
Running this race and following Jesus with every step of our lives isn’t easy nor the same for any of us. He warned us of this but also left us with a promise in John 16:33:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Committing to Him, obediently follow through on our actions and occasionally reviewing where He’s taken us are wise training habits. Let’s create and sustain these habits to run our races well!
Linking up with Brenda Ottinger at #Chasing Community