So yesterday (Sunday 1/15/12) was pretty amazing, experiencing the Holy Spirit at church and one of those, "Ooooh that message was for me..." moments.
But my additional awe of God came after church when I got home from lunch. I took a small nap on the couch and decided to flip through some channels on tv. I ended up coming across the 2012 Marathon Olympic Trials in Houston, SWEET! So of course I didn't sleep, unfortunately it was the absolute final 800m of the race. However, to my happiness I was able to catch both of my favorite runners crossing the finish line! Meb Keflezighi & Ryan Hall go 1, 2 (Top 3 make the Olympic team!).
Now I always knew they were great runners and had always seen something different in their demeanor, but this time as I watched their interviews, I noticed that they were giving a lot of glory to God, so I googled, "Is Ryan Hall a Christian" "Is Meb Keflezighi a Christian." I joyfully pulled an article on Ryan Hall featured in Running Times online magazine entitled; Ryan Hall: the faith interview and then a STV (Sharing The Victory magazine) video clip about his testimony and running. I was amazed at how souled for Christ Ryan and his wife are! His testimony fueled me to evaluate 'Why I run?' As I read the article I was amazed at how similar Ryan's philosophies on running are in comparison to how mine used to be. I realized that when I just ran for Christ, when I ran just for the sake of talking and experiencing God my performance was at it's best. But ever since I started focusing on training, times, speed, etc... my running has been less satisfying. It's amazing how God tends to remind me of when I was walking/ or running with Him in the past, to bring more clarity on a ministry vision I have been praying about. In the interview video, Ryan explains how one of his favorite verses is:
Isaiah 40:31, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
The memory that rushed back into my thoughts was my senior year at college, I had a treadmill that I always ran on that overlooked our athletic fields, and I remember thinking quoting that scripture over and over, out loud as I ran, because I was getting fatigued and tired. Before I knew it, I had hit my desired distance and finished my run. It's amazing how parallel running/ endurance is to our spiritual walk and growth. Even in the Bible, running is referred to so many times! 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, Proverbs 18:10, Isaiah 40:31, Galatians 5:7, etc...
Like the many stages of running, we experience in our lives with Christ:
-Energy & Adrenaline in the beginning - when we first experience the Holy Spirit.
-Pacing - sometimes we hit a plateau in our spirit and just coast through 'Christianity' because we're comfortable, we feel good, we're with God, things are going okay.
-Fatigue - we hit a point in our spiritual life when we're faced with difficulty and that's when we have to dig deep. This is when endurance and character are built up within us (Romans 5:3=5). However some people in running, 'dig deep' within themselves, but as followers of Christ; when we 'dig deep' we should dig into the Holy Spirit and God's Word! That is our fuel, which brings us to...
-The Kick - That burst when God fills you after you've been seeking, crying, kneeling... 'digging' that burst that comes when you begin to see a glimpse of the metaphorical 'finish line.'
For me in this case, it's a vision that I've been seeking God for clarity on and some other things, that I know are going to be a longer race...
"Heavenly Father, be my pacer, be the one who goes before as I look to You for guidance, and strength to endure the races You place in my life. Let me worship You as I run, let my steps be in faith and may Your Holy Spirit continue to fill me with strength, peace, and comfort. May You shine forth from my life, that I might continue to be a useful tool in furthering Your Kingdom on this earth. Continue to give me a heart for running, and let the talents You've instilled within me, be used for Your glory and praise."