When Julia was in 7th grade she decided that she wanted to run cross country. I was all for it because I was a cross country manager in high school and, more importantly, my brother was going to be her coach.
While she practiced and trained I don’t think she really knew what it would be like to run in a race. When it was time for her first race I told her something I have said many times since, “No matter how fast or slow you go, just try to finish the race.”
For two years she ran nearly two miles during each race. However, last year as a freshman she had to start running 3.1 miles per race.
The ante was officially upped. The training would be harder, the races would be harder, there would be times she would feel like she couldn’t run one more step.
Yet, my advice remained the same, “Finish the race.”
While I want Julia to succeed and to do her very best during each race I am more concerned that she keep focused on the task at hand and finish each race than with what place she receives.
I don’t want her to give up. I want her to fight through the pain and the voices in her head telling her it is too hard. I don’t want her (or her brother James who started running cross country this year) to give up.
Today I want to give you the same advice because life is a lot like running a race. Sometimes the tasks at hand are so overwhelming that we can’t bear the thought of going another step and the finish line seems too far away.
Maybe you have little ones clamoring for your attention day and night and you feel exhausted.
Maybe you have a job that is very demanding, or you wish you had a different one.
Maybe you are facing a serious illness.
Maybe you have relationships that need repaired.
Whatever your troubles may be, I want you to know that you are not alone in this race. I truly believe that God cares for you and that He will be with you every step of the way.
How do I know, you ask?
So, dear friends, when this world tries to get the better of you just put one foot in front of the other and finish the race so you can claim the words of 2 Timonthy 4:7 as your own.