Run the Race With Perseverance

“Beep! Beep! Beep!”

My husband swings his arm around to gently remind me to turn off my alarm (after the 3rd time of pressing snooze). I take a look at the time on my phone…4:49 a.m. Time to get up.

I change into leggings that hold my phone in a pocket that’s lycra-ed to my thigh. I check the weather app and see that the temp is below 50* so I throw on a sweatshirt. I put on socks, lace up my shoes, head out the door to stretch before I start my run, then jet right back inside and grab my forgotten ear buds...like I forget every morning!

As I stretch in the crisp, cool, early morning air, I gear up my favorite worship playlist. Beautiful melodies and lyrics that point out God’s faithfulness, his redeeming love, and his greatness surge directly into my ears.

I start off on my run with an easy pace. I focus on my breathing. The breath in and out, in and out, in and out. The breath that is given to me by our mighty God. He made these lungs that have built up the stamina to run longer distances. He made these legs that are pushing against the pavement each step to propel me forward. He made these arms that are pumping in rhythm to keep my momentum going.

I’ve been running for a good mile now and I’m starting to speed up. My breaths are getting easier to control, my legs have moved past the initial burn and are feeling powerful. My stride is set.

I look up into the dark, clear sky and see the Big Dipper clearly outlined. The north star leads the way for his friends. The stars shine bright at 5:30 in the morning alongside the sun’s opposite, the moon. God created this morning, he created each star in the sky, and he created me to enjoy it. His Creation shines as bright as those stars in this moment.

As I gaze at the stars and am in awe of God’s art, I think back on when he told Abraham to look up at the night sky and try to count the stars.

Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who

comes from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:4-6)

I am one of those offspring.

I am an heir to the Kingdom of God.

I thank God for his righteousness. I thank God for his promises. I thank God for his beauty. I thank God for his sustenance.

I now make my final turn back towards home. A favorite worship song has just started playing in my ear and I lean my head back to take it in. The lyrics flow over me and the Holy Spirit is flowing through me as I worship our Creator:

“Every season you’re faithful,

Every season you’re faithful,

Every season you’re faithful to me, to me.

Spread your arms over me,

You’re my strong covering,

Raise me up I will sing,

You’re my redeemer,

You’re my redeemer.”1

I finish in front of my home and put my hands on my knees because I realize I almost sprinted the last tenth of a mile. I am out of breath and walk in circles around my driveway with my hands above my head making space in my lungs to take in oxygen. When I look up at my house and think of the members of my family who are sleeping inside I thank God for a warm home, for the family he has given me, and for all the blessings he has bestowed on me. I think about home, that this structure that I’m looking at is just that…a structure. My home is Heaven, for my soul, my hope, my longing, for eternity. Forever and ever…amen!

I walk inside, turn on my coffee maker so it starts warming up, take off my shoes and put them back in their place. I stretch a bit to make sure my muscles are not tight the rest of the day. I turn off the worship music playlist and return my ear buds to their spot…to be forgotten again the following morning.

I make myself a cup of coffee, get breakfast ready for the kids, and make sure their lunches are ready to go for school. After a quick shower and getting myself ready for the day, I wake up the kids. Somehow my elementary school-agers have turned into teenagers with their moaning and groaning as I try to coax them out of their warm beds.

After we’ve all gotten out of the house and on to school or work, I have a moment to think back on my early morning run. It is an honor to start my day worshiping God, immersing myself in his Creation, and spending some dedicated time with my Lord.

How many other ways throughout my day can I worship God, his faithfulness, and his Creation? Each task, however simple or small, is like a part of my morning running routine…a step in the direction of “the goal.” “The goal” is to fix our eyes on Jesus in all that we do.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off

everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Every move we make should be looked at as an opportunity to worship our Lord, our perfect Father! How can you seek the Lord, fixing your eyes on Jesus, and run the race with perseverance?

Written by: Carrie Erickson

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