It’s been said a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Nobody knows this more than my sister-in-law Bren. She always extends kindness and encouragement as a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend to many. She works. She trains herself and she trains others. She’s climbed and reached the summit at Africa’s Mt. Kilamanjaro, has a 3rd degree black belt in Karate, and above all has the fierce courage of a lion. She’s no doubt run a million steps, and every one of them was fueled by a desire to win and backed by her strong faith.
Every day she fearlessly and joyfully runs miles and miles. I run a little, here and there, mostly indoors at an air-conditioned gym on a level surface that usually has a motor that keeps the ground as well as my speed—well, level.
She runs the way I wish to write. That is, she runs with endurance.
She runs for her life!
You can’t help but notice a few things about her if you meet her, train with her, or just love her. She bubbles over with encouragement and enthusiasm. I want to run with endurance in the challenges I face, because God knows, the longer we live, the steeper our challenges. Knowing her and watching her has taught me some things I need and want to do, in order to be who I think God has called me to be.
Be aware of your surroundings: Internally: What do you fill your head with? Do you dream big? Do you even have a dream? No? Then spend the very next first day you have free and write your own “bucket list.” Commit to start exploring one item before this month is over. Do not let another month go by, without attempting. Externally: Who do you fill your life with? People that build you up, or tear you down? Find people that support your dream, not people that don’t think you can, or they wish to determine the scope and timetable of your dream. Remember, it’s YOUR dream. You set the pace and goals. Surround yourself with the encouragers and leave the discouragers behind.
Seek correct approval. For me, ultimately, I stand before God. So I seek God’s approval and have to make my decisions according to what I know and believe about my faith. At the end of the day, I also have to live with myself. My own approval matters too. I am learning that the voice in my head that sometimes says, “You can’t do that. Who do you think you are? You’re not talented, capable, deserving, or (fill in the blank),” is NOT the voice of God, or the better part of who I am. We first must extinguish the negative voices inside and outside our head, in order to win.
Discipline. The daily habit of doing what you love is hard when you first get started because you have to “make time” for it. Stay with it. I’ve heard it takes executing a new behavior 30 days to become a habit. That’s about right. If life happens and you miss a day, get over it quickly, forgive yourself, and pick up where you left off the next day. Repeat: Keep going!!
Capture the journey. Be aware and feel the sensations as you run. Feel the way your heart beats and the magnificence of your own body’s complex machinery when it’s in motion. Connect with the ground beneath your feet. How do you respond when the pain comes? Maybe you need to slow a little, but don’t stop entirely. Keep going!
Run for joy. Run because it gives you joy. Let this joy spill over into your relationships, and your daily tasks. Enjoy the mundane tasks of life because you now frame those as training for the Real Thing.
Persistance Pays! Never Give Up. Keep Going. Did I mention this yet? Daily discipline and a mental attitude that internally repeats I will not quit, I will not quit is key!
Run to Win. Live “as if” This may be the hardest step of all, but it’s not insurmountable. Basically, live “as if” you can already see yourself crossing the finish line and receiving the medal. You have to believe in the possibility of the prize, before you’ll ever be ready to receive it. Training, discipline, and persistence are all required if you desire to run to win. Run and live “as if” you expect to win!
Run with Faith. Run with endurance the race set before you. Run to the best of your ability and leave the results with God. Don’t skip any of the above steps. Repeat at least 10,000 times. Run until you know, at the core of your soul, you’ve got what it takes to win. You may get a medal; you may not. It’s not about the gold; it’s about the silver—who do you see staring back at you in the mirror?
Run until you see the person who says:
It’s all good. Now run. Run for your life!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2