With my calves on fire and my body soaking wet from the hours of running in the rain, I finally crossed the finish line. The months of training that I’d spent leading up until this point paid off.
I had officially run my first (and probably only) marathon.
You better believe I put that 26.2 sticker proudly on the back of my car. This was an incredible and unimaginable achievement for me. I had no idea I was capable of running that far. To be honest, I’m still not sure how I did it.
During the race pretty much everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.
It was pouring rain outside. The weather was stinkin’ cold and my muscles were cramping up from the frigid temps. My headphones would not stay in my ears due to them being sopping wet, so I had to run 26.2 miles in silence! My belt holding my water bottles would not stay because of all the rain so I had to ditch it. I had to go the bathroom mid-run which was a nightmare because my running clothes were soaked and my hands were totally cramped.
Despite the fact that I had prepped, prepared, and trained for months before the race, there were still challenges and unexpected difficulties.
As I look back on that race, It’s clear to me what pulled me through.
It wasn’t the snacks halfway through the race. It wasn’t my teammates. It wasn’t my family cheering me on (although they were awesome). It wasn’t the fact that we drove five hours from home so I could run in the race. It wasn’t the burger I was looking forward to afterward. It wasn’t any of those things.
What kept me going through those wet and miserable hours was this one thing, the finish line.
I had my mind and heart focused on one thing. Crossing that finish line.
I didn’t care if I had to crawl or scoot or slide, I was determined to finish the race that was set before me. Focusing my eyes on the end goal is what ultimately pulled me through until the end. I knew where I was going and I knew what I was aiming for. The end was clear.
I was running to finish the race.
When it comes to life, we must have a similar focus. We need to know what our end goal is and what we are running towards.
It’s no secret that life can be really tough at times. There can unexpected twists and turns and challenges. There can good moments where we feel like, “we got this.” And there can be awful moments where we want to just fall down and cry.
Without the end goal in mind, we will most likely quit and give up.
Way too often we, as modern Christian girls, lose focus of (or never actually understand) what the finish line of life looks like. We run, run, run with no clear goal of where we are going or what we are doing.
We stumble along having some good days and some bad days and just hope we are going in the right direction.
My hope is that we can run this race with a better understanding of God’s direction and plan for us. We don’t have to “hope” we are going in the right direction. We can know what we are aiming for.
What is the finish line? What should be our life’s focus? I think it’s these 5 things:
1. It’s about looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).
2. It’s about being ambassadors for Christ.
Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
3. It’s about living every day as if it could be our last.
You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14).
4. It’s about living to hear, “well done good and faithful servant.”
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master! (Matthew 25:23).
5. It’s about anticipating the day we will join with the angels in worship.
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come! (Revelation 1:8).
Run the race with the end goal in mind.
My prayer is that each one of us will live with intention and purpose because of the end goal. My hope is that we will not coast through life in hopes of simply surviving, but that we will thrive because we know where we are going and Who we are running towards (Our Savior, Jesus Christ).
I guarantee there will be hard days. There will be moments where you feel knocked down and defeated. In those moments, you need to keep focused on the goal and the finish line. Keeping the end goal in mind will help you stay on track and run the race with endurance.
Check out this amazing video by John Piper: Running.
What about you?
What are you currently running towards?
If you had to describe the end goal or finish line, how would you describe it?
What keeps you going through the ups and downs of life?