Guest Post by Shannon Moore
My husband was very kind to me yesterday in how he spoke of my marathon training. He made me look good. (That’s what all good husbands do! Thanks, babe!) But, for those of you who know me well, you know that I ran, eh hem, jogged that marathon nearly 5 years ago and that pretty, shiny medal that I didn’t want him to claim as his own, was pulled out of my sock drawer. I am a marathoner because I jogged one marathon five years ago, not because I run marathons regularly. So, while Brian’s message yesterday did prompt me to begin my training again, I am not an amazing, four-and-a-half-hour marathon runner – it took me nearly 6 hours! That being said, I did it. I trained for it and I completed it. It was not easy; it is on my short list of major accomplishments in my life, and there were several reasons why I was able to do it. But, more importantly, I just want to recap how this ties into the race we are all in – this marathon of life.
Just like in actual marathon training, we must be training for the marathon of life. First, as Brian said, I had to train daily. In this “marathon” of life, we must train daily. Whatever it looks like for you at whatever stage you are in your life, you cannot overlook your daily time with God. When I first set out to run the marathon, everything was new and exciting. I found a schedule, printed it out, put in on the refrigerator, put running dates on my calendar, and bought the best shoes I could afford. I was ready. I had a plan.
That is what we need to do with our time with God. Find a plan, put it on your calendar, print it out, and most importantly, do it – stay consistent. Some days I had long runs to complete and other days were much shorter and still, other days were just strength training. Every day with God doesn’t have to look the same. Mix it up. Some days you’ll find yourself spending a “long run” with Him and others are strength training days. That’s okay.
Now, the question to ask yourself is “what am I doing today that is going to make me a different person in December of 2018 than I am right now?” We all have areas in which to grow. If you’re not already training daily, your action step is to download the YouVersion app, type “advent” in the search bar, pick a plan and start reading!
Nourish Your Soul
We also have to eat well if we are going to run the marathon of life. It takes nourishment. I don’t know about you, but the minute I purpose to eat well, all the things I shouldn’t eat seem to be instantaneously irresistible. This same thing will happen when you purpose to nourish your soul in the proper way. Everything in life will seem to fight against it. You will seem busier than you have ever been and just not be able to find the time.
The way to create an appetite for something is to first expose yourself to it. Take the next right step. If all you do right now is attend church on Sunday, start a Bible reading plan. If you’re doing both of those things, join a Growth Group. If you’ve done that and still hunger and thirst for more, find somewhere to serve or go on a mission trip and give back to others. Expose yourself to God’s Word and His ways and you will find yourself craving it more and more. As you discipline yourself in reading the Bible, praying, attending church, giving God worship, serving, giving, and going on a mission trip, you will find it easier and easier to nourish your soul on your own, not just on Sunday mornings.
What’s your next right step?
Growth Groups at Crosspointe.
Serving at Crosspointe. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and say “I want to serve”. She will get you the information you need.
Mission Trips at Crosspointe.
And finally, remember that this marathon, this life you live, takes endurance. Some days you will be on a “runner’s high” and other days you will want to hang up your shoes and just quit. But don’t. Please don’t. The way I was able to endure a 26.2-mile race was through accountability. I didn’t do it on my own. I had the encouragement of others that were training right alongside me and on race day the encouragement of the crowd. So, if you’re on a “runner’s high” in life right now, find someone to encourage. If you’re feeling down, reach out. There is someone who wants to help you. At Crosspointe, there are many ways to find encouragement. Get involved in a Growth Group, Celebrate Recovery, ReEngage or Student Ministry.
James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” This life is one that takes endurance. In the end, we will receive the crown of life if we patiently endure. This endurance will produce great strength and maturity. It doesn’t matter if you run the marathon in 4 ½ hours or 6, all that God requires is that we patiently endure. There is a finish line. One day the tests and trials will end and we have a wonderful reward to look forward to. And it’s not just a shiny medal that we are going to keep in our sock drawer. It is the crown of life.
So, start your daily training, nourish your soul, find your support team – those who are going to give you accountability and encouragement along the way. Don’t hang up those shoes. You’re not done yet!