Posted by: Donna Douglass | Thursday March 17, 2011

the race not run

I was training for a marathon – the Paris Marathon. It would be romantic, beautiful and epic!

But first and foremost, I am a follower of Jesus. Therefore, each morning begins with God, reading His Word and seeking His heart for the day. Then I head off to work and run during my lunch breaks. Long runs are on Saturdays.

My family is the second most important thing in my life. Normally I train with my wife, relishing the time together. But for this marathon, my training was going far better than I’d dreamed!

It all started when I ran six miles at 8 minutes per mile. My wife isn’t that fast, however, so I began to run alone. Then I bested 8’s and changed my goal to 7:30’s. And then 7’s – even though I struggled to be 100% at work in the afternoons.

And then one Sunday morning, God abruptly switched on the light. In response to God’s direction, we have always adjusted our training plans so that we rest on Sundays. However, I hadn’t run the day before and was planning to knock out my run before church. But as I sat before Him, long run looming, He showed me clearly, in the book of Judges, what had happened.

He was no longer the sole basis for my every-day decisions: my running was. Instead of adjusting my day to Him, I was adjusting my day to my sport. Running had become my idol.

I immediately quit training. I didn’t quit running, but I chose to run again with my wife. I chose to work out less hard and retain sufficient energy to glorify God at work again.

And wouldn’t you know it, God smiled on that decision! My runs are slower, but better. The compulsion to train has been replaced by freedom to participate in what God’s doing here and now. I was able to love God a little better: “Love is bound in the things that we have given up, more than in the things that we have kept” (Rich Mullins). And it seems that God is more pleased in this marathon…not run.


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