It's a Marathon, not a Sprint
I’ve never been a runner, but last fall I decided to set a goal of running a ½ marathon in 2019. Some days that sounds stupid to me; some days it feels stupid to me; and some days it drives me.
There’s danger in telling other people about your goals! If you meet your goal, it’s all great. If you miss your goal or don’t even end up doing it, it’s embarrassing. Nevertheless, telling others about a goal keeps you accountable and that just might be part of helping you make your goal. So there you go – in 2019 I want to run a ½ marathon. Now I’m accountable.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned about goals:
You’ll never succeed without a plan. Just saying I want to run a ½ marathon won’t get me there. I need a specific plan with the individual runs I’m going to do each week. My spiritual life is similar. I want to read through the Bible in 2019, but I’ll never do it if I don’t have a plan of which sections to read and reflect on each day.
Some days you just don’t feel like it, but you get up and do it anyway. I’m convinced that half the battle is just showing up. If I can get motivated enough to put on my running shoes and get out there, I usually find the motivation to finish the run.
Some days you make progress and some days it feels like you’re going backwards. I’ve had weeks where I feel really good and all my runs are pretty easy to complete. Then I have weeks where I’m not feeling it. Mentally it can be defeating, but the only way to succeed is to persevere and get out there again next week.
The older I get the more I see how life is really a marathon and our spiritual life even more so. We need to have an eternal perspective. It’s all about what we put our hope in. That’s easier to do when we fully understand what Christ did for us. An eternal hope is what gets us to the finish line.
Romans 5:4-8: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.