Running The Distance

young healthy lifestyle woman running at sunrise beach

When I was a child, running seemed so exhilarating. I would sprint up and down the block just for the sake of it. Even if I was out of breath, the fun of figuring out just how fast and how far I could go without stopping was far to enticing to give up. I looked forward to the day when my legs would be longer and I would be allowed to run farther (or simply be allowed to cross the street).

Lately, I’ve taken up running again. And I’ve notice my perspective has shifted since then. The challenge that once encouraged me to “train harder” so I could go farther, didn’t really hold the same weight. Even though my legs are longer and I’m now allowed to cross the street (thank goodness). I found myself settling. Settling for goals that made sense with what I felt I could accomplish.

One day as I was running in the park, about to hit my next “mark” where I would then stop and walk for awhile; I heard a still small voice say “why stop now when you’re capable of going so much farther”. So instead of stopping I kept running, and running and running. Lo and behold, I was able to run faster and further than I had ever attempted before. I was blown away at how strong and empowered my body was to run the distance. Even though it was hard, and I was pretty out of breath I realized in that moment that I had allowed a poor mindset of what I felt I  was capable of doing to determine the distance I went.

I believe this is a relevant parallel to many of our lives. I’m so guilty of setting “goals” that only challenge a portion of my potential. A portion of my God-given strengths and abilities. A portion of my faith. It’s not that portions are not a bad thing, Jesus talked about how small portions of faith can amount to great impact. However, it’s when that “portion” becomes a box that we live out of it becomes a problem.

Why would we settle for a portion when we’ve been promised the whole thing (John 10:10)? This happens when we make decisions based off of what we think we are capable of verses what God has actually said about us. We run the same path over and over again because it doesn’t push us out of the borders of insecurity we’ve allowed ourselves to become trapped in. The issue with staying within these borders is that eventually we stop developing endurance because we are no longer being challenged. Yet it’s in the endurance that we become perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4). The word “endurance” in this verse in James is translated from the Greek noun hypomonē. Which is defined as the characteristic of someone who will not be swerved from his or hers loyalty to the faith even under the greatest trails and sufferings. It’s when we refuse to allow insecurity and our circumstances to “swerve” us away from our understanding of God that enables us to go onward. It’s the core truths of who we really are in God’s eyes that encourage us to keep on running.

When we come into a relationship with Jesus, our identity is now a reflection of Him. If this is true, shouldn’t our dreams, goals and passions reflect Him as well?  In Him, we have a strength that goes beyond ourselves to run further and harder for the things of the kingdom than we realize.

I would encourage you to ask the Lord today:

Where has he empowered you to run in this season of your life?

What truth about who you are is He wanting to encourage you with to keep going?

Let him determine your distance based off of who he made you to be. Don’t sell yourself short of what you are actually capable of. For God loves you dearly and made you with a unique call and destiny that only you were made to complete. You are empowered by His presence in you to run and finish the race he has called you too! The best part- He is running the race alongside with you, cheering you on all the way!

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.”

Philippians 3:12-15 THE MSG