“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’”
-1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
I could not be more proud of my running buddy Ashley. Today, she takes a 26.2-mile victory lap around the city of Boston after months of training for the Boston Marathon. She’s worked through aches, pains, snow, wind, rain, fatigue and soreness. And now, the time has come to experience the results and rewards of the hard work.
What makes me even more proud (and quite inspired, honestly) is Ashley’s commitment to doing this wholeheartedly for the Lord. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is an amazing achievement and can become the source of great pride for many runners. But Ashley has seized the opportunity to point all glory to the Lord and to really press in and learn from Him during the process.
Before she left for Boston this weekend, she shared with a few of us a lesson she’d learned from one of her training runs. Below are Ashley’s words. May they inspire you today to grow closer to the Lord:
As I was running the other day, God blessed me with a beautiful thought-process that I want to share with you.
Life is a marathon. And during life, we experience things that push us forward and things that set us back. Whatever you are going through today, whether it is the best day of your life or you feel like you can’t go on, keep pushing. Whatever it is, good or bad, finish the marathon.
Let me show you how Monday’s Boston Marathon relates to each of our lives.
B is for belief. You can’t run a marathon without people believing in you. You can’t do life without someone telling you, “You can do it!” Believe today that God can get you through whatever it is you are going through. He will get me through the race, and He will get you through the trial.
O is for opportunity. It would be easy for me to only concentrate on myself during the race. For me to be stuck on how much pain my legs are in or how much I just want to quit. But I have the opportunity on the course to invest in the other runners, knowing that they are hurting just as much as I am. What trial do you share with someone else? How can what you have learned help them get through it? What opportunities is God giving you to share His love through your trial?
S is for surrender. At the beginning of my training I had to surrender my goals for the race. I had planned out how well I wanted to perform, but God had something else in mind. We plan our course, but He determines our steps. What is it in your life that you need to surrender? Trust me, when you do, it allows Him to open so many doors you would have never thought of on your own.
T is for timing. Timing is everything. Runners live by their times. As my husband, Danny, knows, I can’t focus during my training if I don’t run with my watch. I am a mess. I am going to Boston for “such a time as this.” You are exactly where you are at today for “such a time as this.” Whether you know it or not, there are incredible things happening all around you. There is never a better time than right now. Live it up, enjoy it, take advantage of the time you have right now.
O is for outrageous. This goes along with timing. Many people say running a marathon is crazy. I would highly agree. But the thrill of completing it is a surge of goodness! Do something outrageous! Do something that someone would say you would never be able to do. Live the life that God called you to and do something radical! The time is now, to do something outrageous!
N is for “No Wall.” Just like every runner hits a wall where they think they can’t go any longer, we all face walls in our everyday lives. The easy road is to give up and get depressed. But just like a runner’s wall, the finish is right around the corner. Break through your wall! We must believe that once we make it through it, we will be better for it on the other side.
I hope on Monday you will feel these things. You will feel the love of those who believe in you, you will seek out others to love on, you will surrender your agenda, focus on God’s timing, do something out of the ordinary and break through the barriers you face!
1. Are you facing a tough challenge in your life?
2. Do you believe that God can help you through all of life’s marathons? Why or why not?
3. What is God calling you to do that you feel is impossible? Don’t give in to fear or doubt!
1 Corinthians 2:9