by Joel Lawler
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
I am training to run a marathon. It is 26.2 miles long. I have quite a ways to go until I am ready to take this on. My longest run to this point is 14 miles. Adding another 12.2 miles to my longest run is daunting. I am fortunate to have a training partner who has run several marathons. We have a training plan and are sticking to it.
The marathon training plan starts out with 5 mile runs. It slowly builds in frequency and distance with each week.
I set my mind on completing each day's run. I sometimes catch myself thinking to the long run for that week. I need to focus on the run of the day. During the run, I need to focus on the mile that I am on. I need to take each hill as it comes and not think beyond it to the next one.
It is far too easy to let my mind wander and get to thinking ahead or even thinking about the difficulty of the current run. This makes the task so much harder and does not help me achieve my goal.
I really enjoy running and how it parallels life.
Setting my mind on the good things such as sunsets, about nature, about a good movie, about a good book, about enjoyable work, about good company is healthy. Thinking about the beauty God has created around us and thanking him for it feeds my soul. Contemplating the sacrifice he made for me and the grace he pours out on me, brings me joy.
Thoughts about being right or winning an argument takes away from the hope I have. When I spend time trying to prove my value by being right, it goes against who I am called to be and that robs me of life.
I don't need to win the race for the race to have value. The marathon I am running will have a winner. He will most likely complete the race about 2 hours ahead of me. My training partner will complete the race ahead of me. There will be many people who cross the finish line before I get there. I am running my race. I am going to run it at my pace. When I finish does not matter, running the race matters.
I am not trying to impress anyone or win any popularity contest. Such things are so shallow and fleeting. People's applause fades fast. Popularity, appreciation and praise from people are not fulfilling. They are like drinking salt water. They only will make us thirst for more and never satisfy.
Striving to have people look at me, attend to me, support me, value me is not living. I have no need to be the boss or have power. Focusing on these is a distraction and steals from actually living a good life.
You and I have our own race to run. We each have a unique story that is all our own. Letting our thoughts focus on comparisons is unhealthy and will only lead to frustration.
I am running the Country Music Marathon in April to support an organization called Visiting Orphans. Visiting Orphans conducts missions trips for churches, schools, and individuals from around the United States to orphanages all around the world. They work with World Adoption Association as a way to further help the orphans of the world.
I could use your support. Every contribution helps and is very much appreciated. If you would like to help here is where you can make a donation: https://www.visitingorphans.org/cgi-bin/donate.cgi, Select Team member or ministry name and put my name, Joel Lawler, in the box.