“My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24
I am a runner. It makes me smile and chuckle to say that. You see, I've only been running for about three years now. Before that, I literally shunned running. I thought those sweaty people that I would drive by on the road were completely crazy. Then in the summer of 2009 I joined a ladies only boot camp for the summer. Of course, part of the class was to run...lucky me. When I started, I couldn't even run for two minutes straight. Thankfully, the running wasn't too intense during those workout sessions, but after the summer ended, a coworker that had also attended the boot camp asked if I would want to continue running with her in the mornings before school. So we began our morning run/walks. We began by running about two minutes, then walking about 10-15 minutes. We slowly worked our way up to five minutes of running, and then running and walking for equal amounts of time. As the weather turned colder, I began to run on my own and increase my stamina. I remember the feeling of running for an entire mile straight...then two...three...four. In March of the following year, I entered my first 5K and have been racing ever since. Last September, I ran my first 10K and right now I am training for a half marathon. Last month I ran 11 miles! This woman who couldn't run for two minutes, can now run over 2 ½ HOURS at a time. I never thought that sweaty runner along the side of the road would be me.
That's not the way my relationship with Jesus has gone, though. I can't remember a time when I didn't have Jesus in my life. I grew up in the Church thinking that everyone learned about and believed in God. I can't recall any one moment of transformation that occurred where I was saved (not like my mile markers). Oh, I felt closer to God sometimes more than others, I had those moments of begging God in prayer as a teenager, I even remember saying the sinner's prayer as a kid one day when I went to Bible School with a friend. But none of these events were the beginning of my walk...they were just points along the way of a long path I have always been on. I thank my parents for that. Maybe they should write a how to manual for raising kids in the faith, because both my siblings and I consider ourselves Christians who try to live the life God has called us to every day. Not many parents can boast (even though we shouldn't boast of our own abilities) that all their children have kept the faith. We went to church, we prayed...God was just there. No big deal was made about Him, but He was never ignored either. He was part of our family. It's the way it was.
Even though they began differently, I can compare my running and my relationship with Jesus now. As I have grown into adulthood, I have grown in spiritual maturity as well, just like I have expanded my ability to run longer distances. But, don't think I jump out of bed every morning ready to go a few miles...I love running, but I still have trouble getting motivated. Sometimes I can't run as fast or as long as I had hoped. And I still have to make myself get out there and begin each run. Similarly, I have had highs and lows in my walk with God. There are some times that I feel closer to Him than others. I still find myself begging in prayer. And every so often, I am inspired to rededicate my life to Him in some way.
This is one of those times.
I believe that I have been blessed with a gift to share God's Word with others, especially in writing. And so I begin my race (this blog) to complete the task the Lord has given me.
Some people have had a Christian walk similar to mine and feel that they have always had Jesus in their lives. Some are ready and looking for the motivation to start their “race” and grow closer to Jesus. And some are looking at Christians like I looked at runners, thinking how crazy those people are, but secretly wondering what it would be like to “run a race”...to live for Jesus.
Wherever you find yourself in your relationship with God, my hope is that you will come here to find encouragement to begin (or continue) your own “race.” My reflections are inspired by real life (and the Holy Spirit) and come from the heart. As I continue my own race, both spiritually and physically, I hope you will run along side me so we can support one another. I invite you to become a follower of this blog, (re)dedicate your life to following the path God has laid out for you, and join me in Running with Jesus.