“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”
– Philippians 3:13
As a recreational runner for over forty years, I have learned a great deal about myself. My early motivation for running was weight control. I had lost twenty-five pounds during Army Basic Training and liked the way I felt and looked. As the years rolled by and my professional responsibilities grew, I desperately needed the one hour of solitude that my daily runs provided. Running gave me the time to unwind, reflect and think. I truly believe that those runs made me a better teacher and coach, a better husband and father, and a stronger person of faith. Not only was running providing physical benefits, I was growing mentally and spiritually as well. In my fifties, I went through a time of competitive running. Once again, I learned some valuable lessons. Someone is always faster! I realized that the race was more about me than the competition. I learned to run my race and celebrate my personal victories. Sometimes, just reaching the finish line is a major accomplishment. Today, I enjoy the fellowship of my running friends. If I can run and carry on a conversation at the same time, it’s a good run. We discuss the world’s problems, test one another with trivia and enjoy a lot of good laughter. My goal has always been to be a little bit better today than I was yesterday.
In many ways, my spiritual journey has paralleled my journey as a runner. In the early years, I went to church because my parents expected me to be there. I enjoyed being with my friends, but there was very little spiritual growth. After surrendering my life to Jesus Christ, I wanted more. I realized that in order to grow in my relationship with Christ, I had to do some work. As I read and studied my Bible, I discovered I needed that quiet time with Him. Like running, this time allowed me to unwind, reflect and think. I know without hesitation, that this time made me better in my job, at home and in my church. I was growing daily and I liked the person God was helping me become. Today, I like sharing my faith and serving others. I’m running the race God has prepared and gifted me for and I’m enjoying each day. I often tell people that I want to be a little more like Jesus when I put my head on the pillow at night than I was when I got up in the morning. I think that’s a goal worthy of striving for.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts you have given me. Help me to use them in service to others and help me to be a little more like Your Son Jesus at the end of the day than I was at the beginning. Amen.