I set myself some specific goals, but the key one is just getting myself into as good a shape as possible for one day this year: the Olympic marathon.~Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe holds the current world record for the woman’s marathon. Her record is an impressive 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds. She represents her country of Great Britton well. She also has something in common with me other than running and that is she suffers from asthma. What an amazing woman who is an inspiration. The focus this week goes from vision to preparation. One thing that I understand and so does Paula Radcliffe is that we have to be prepared physically, mentally and spiritually for a marathon. In this week’s part of the book, Christine Caine brings up the true point that most people whom sign up for a long distance race either drop out or give up just before the race. She goes on to say that, we want instant results without the preparation that it takes to get there. That is very evident in our Christian lives as well; we want to be the spiritual giant that we think God wants us to be instantaneously. The truth of the matter is that God wants to build some things in us before we get to the next level of our growth.
Christine Caine brings up the story of Elisha; and how his life became bigger than that of his master Elijah. The biggest key to preparation is the commitment or the amount of determination we put into the important endeavor of our dream. What are some ways that we can keep our focus and determination continuing until we get to the endgame? When I prepare for a race, I keep in mind that I have to get up early and do the desired discipline of running how far I need to go that day to get to the final event. I add mileage every week until I get up to the length of whatever the race is going to be, either a 10K or half marathon. So keeping the main thing the main thing is the first thing we need to do. Keep the focus of the big picture. Whatever the plan God has for you, focus on that even though you may have to do something routine or mundane. God is in the business of growing us into a position, not growing the position around us.
The next thing we need to do is to know always that God is going to keep His promise in our lives. The short cut is the way to learning nothing about ourselves; the long way shows us who we really are. Paula Radcliff would never have reached her potential had she only ran two miles a day for training. She had to do hours of training every week, she had to do miles of running and interval training. She had to endure a lot of pain every day she trained. She kept her focus and remembered the promise of the results of the mundane routine of core exercises. As I trained for my first half marathon, I remembered God’s promise of the reward of knowing that I achieved something not many people can do or will do in their lives. It was not to bring glory to my name, but to His, because of His constant encouragement He provided me with those around me.
That brings me to my last point and that is encouragement. Sometimes when it comes right down to it we have to encourage ourselves on our own without anyone. A friend of mine recently shared with me how she was facing a trial in her life and she went back, looked at her prayer journals, and was reminded of how God had answered her prayers and delivered her from some other trials. She encouraged herself and brought herself out of a pit of despair. When we do this we not only help ourselves, but we open the door to see encouragement from others and most importantly God. One of the biggest nemesis’s to a runner is negative self-talk. I am not going to make it, I can’t do this, my feet hurt, and I can’t breathe are all examples of negative self-talk a runner goes through. What got me through some of the most painful moments in my half-marathon was encouraging myself along the way and talking with other runners and sharing my inspiring story of how God healed me over time physically to be able to be in a half marathon. Always love yourself enough to encourage yourself to push on through the mundane and boring position you may be in your life. Remember God is preparing you for a bigger position, so count it all joy, and continue on being the best at what you are doing right now.
Keeping the main thing the main thing, remembering the promises of God and encouraging yourself will keep your determination moving you into the position God has for you. Instant results produce no gratitude or character. The scenic slow route is beautiful and encourages us along the journey to the promise of our destination.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.