A Former Couch Potato Runs the Race
Amy Carroll

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” I Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

My friends Maggie and Rhonda are real runners. They run marathons and are teeny tiny. I have not, and I am not. Up until now, I’ve been a fairly well-confirmed couch potato. An upcoming birthday has changed all of that, though. Let’s keep this between you and me - I’m turning 40 this year. I decided on my last birthday that I wanted to do something to combat the feeling that forty was a marker for the downward slide. The idea that captured my mind, heart and imagination was running a 5K for the Susan B. Kommen Foundation! My friend, Rhonda, wrote out a training plan for me, and I’ve been following it pretty faithfully. To my amazement I’m making progress. Here are some lessons I’m learning as I run.

1. You can’t finish if you never start -

I have so many ideas that my brain feels likes it’s on a constant spin cycle. Sometimes, though, I never muster up the resolve, make a plan and get started. Fear is one thing that holds me back. Even the thought of running a race boiled up some fear. “What if you don’t finish? What if you’re dead last? What if you’re not cut out for this?” Too often I also let the tyranny of the urgent push out my dreams. Instead of hearing God’s voice and obeying by making time for His plans, I let the daily urgency of my schedule push the lid down on my box of dreams until they die from lack of attention. I encourage you to get started! Pick up God’s dreams for you, dust them off and resolve to put His plans into action today.

2. One step builds on another -

I wanted training to happen quickly, but I can’t say that it has been easy. To run a race, I have to spend time taking one step after another and building up my endurance. In the same way to grow as a Christian, I have to commit to time with the Lord and practice putting His Word into. I shouldn’t be discouraged that I’m not a spiritual giant today, but I do need to be faithful as I increase my time and endurance in the practice of spiritual disciplines. Be faithful and watch your endurance grow!

3. Fix your eyes on the goal –

One morning last week, I was tempted to quit running before my time was up. In one last effort to build my determination, I focused my eyes on the trashcan at the end of the track. Every step was one closer to that trashcan and to the end of my run. We have a prize to fix our eyes on that is the ultimate inspiration —Jesus! He is the King of Kings, the one true and perfect Man, the Giver of eternal life, the Beginning and the End, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is awesome, and I want to meet Him at the finish line. When my eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus, I find endurance and strength to run this race of life that defies my understanding. Let’s let Him set the pace and run hard after Him.

I still have some fears about finishing my 5K, but God has used the physical training to remind me of some truths about spiritual training. By the time you read this, I should have finished my physical race (I promise to tell you all about it!), but the spiritual race that I’ve embarked on will last my lifetime. I’m thankful that I have such an inspiring goal and that He is the One who will enable me to finish the race.

Dear Lord, Help me to race for a crown that will last forever. Although the race is hard sometimes, I want to run well and finish hand-in-hand with you. I fix my eyes on You as the goal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

6 Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

Join us for more Everyday Life encouragement in running the race!

Application Steps:
Plan to spend time with God each day praying and reading your Bible.

Ask God to show you if there are any dreams that He wants you commit or recommit to fulfilling.

Where are the places in my life that I’m only willing to implement the “quick and easy”?

Who has God put into my life that might serve as coach, trainer or partner?

Power Verses:
Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” (NIV)

Hebrews 12:1, “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.” (NIV)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amy!
:) Well today He spoke to me about my race, that I sometimes run so quick and fast, but other times, I get so tired and is tempted to relax and stop (smiling). He told me that it was okay to stop, so long as I have to help another runner who have fallen from running too fast, but not to get weary or tired from running the race, because my reward is waiting for me :) as I finished the race. I am sure we will both see each other in the finish line. I am excited to see you there, but for now, let's keep running as fast as we can ;) don't let me catch up or get ahead of you. I might get the first prize before you. Kidding! I am inspired and felt the Holy Spirit spoke to me today in this Daily Devotions.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. Last night I watched Mr. Bean's Holiday. Though I didn't like it, i tried to focus what God wants me to learn from that movie and here it is:

I admire how focused Mr. Bean was in reaching his goal - The Beach in Cannes. He did but while reaching for his goal, he was a nuisance to people he meet along the way...

Until now am still contemplating how my actions affect other people while i reach for my goals in life.

I do pray that I am a blessing and if it's the other way around hope I will be able to realize it and do something to make up for it...

Blogger momma connie said...

Is there someone who can write a plan for me.
I am 48 and wiegh 138. It is a struggle to stay there
I am busy but not fit nor thin.
Can I be?
momma connie

Blogger Debby said...

Dear Amy,
I just had to leave a note...I ran my first 5K last summer (2006) and hope to do it again this year...don't feel bad if you come in dead last...I DID! But I made it!!! (The really ironic thing is that I got a medal for 3rd place. There were only 3 people in my age group! - I live in a small town!) I appreciate how you relate your devotion to what Paul says in the Bible...I too, have thought the same thing! You have inspired me today to get out there and run the race for Him!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being faithful is something that I continue to struggle with The days duties seem to crowd out my opportunity to say yes to time with God. I think that if I managed y time better and allowed God time to speak to me I would be better equipped to handle all that the days have for me. I think I have said yes to God on some things like the board and i am glad that I did and didn't miss the opportunity, and still struggle each time I go to connect and I want to hear God speak as he gives me direction in that area as well as any other areas where he wants me to do something different, to turn north andn stepout in faith.

Dear God
Thank you that I was able to get up this morning even if I am tired. I made it and I am so glad. Spead to me in this time and let me hear your voice through these Bible verses and words of these women that i know you hav eput here to speak to people like me. I know that on this board you want me to learn how to reach out, how to brin ght epersonality out in me that you have put there. to let down my wall and be friendly with others. Show me how to do that as I have more opportunities. Give me words to say and reduce my fear and anxiety. Help me not ot have a judgemental heart or spirit towards particular women. Let the dreams that you have for me rise up within me and let me not be scared for I know you would not set me up for failure. Thank you for my family. Give me patience today to follow you and hear you speak as I spend the day with my babies. Give me words of encouragement and don't let me miss opportunites to be with them. I want o be the mother to them that you desire and i desire to be. I don't want to lose my temper or say harsh words out of irratation. Forgive me for those things that have been displeasing to you. Cleanse my heart. Thank you for Grace's already miraculous recovery. Continue to heal her body from her spots. Thank you for your miracles. I pray that this is a testimony to others that you hear and answer prayer, I know it is for me.

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