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,--Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, January 31, 2013

End of Janathon and Back on Track!

The Run

Finally! For the first time since my October knee injury, I ran with my old Tuesday/Thursday running group this morning. There were five of us who met at 5 AM, two of them folks I'd run with before, and two others I met for the first time.

I had 6 miles planned, but they were running a little shorter this morning. So I ran the first 4 and a quarter with them, then finished the 6 on my own. I didn't realize how much I'd missed running with these ladies and gentlemen, but the miles flew by as we ran and visited. I finished the entire run with a 9:39 pace and felt great the entire time. Running just isn't quite as tiring when you're with great company.

The group run today was fantastic, but there's somewhat of a sad side too.

This month I've been a participant in Janathon, a challenge to work out and blog about it everyday for the entire month of January. Today's the last day of the month, and that means the last day of Janathon. I've run 6 days a week all month, and biked on Sundays, 31 straight days without a day off. And it feels great.

I ended the month with 192 running miles and 42 biking miles. That's more than I've ever run in a month, and probably more than I've biked in a month too. We had good weather and bad weather over the past 31 days, warm and cold, wet and dry, cloudy and clear, but the Good Lord blessed me with the strength, determination, and energy to get out there every day through it all.

I don't know if I'll keep the daily workout streak up through February right now. I'd like to, but it has left me a little drained. A true rest day might not be such a bad idea. In fact, next Friday is the day before the Mississippi River Marathon and that just might be a fantastic day to pick for my first in a long time with NO workout.

Janathon helped me not only with motivation to workout, but also to remember exactly why I do this, and exactly who I do it for. And that's the thought for the message today.

The Message

When God laid the idea for this ministry on my heart, I had no doubt it was less about running than it was about Jesus. Running would be the venue to spread the word about the other parts of our mission, the venue to do God's work. For quite a while, I did it that way. I posted a Bible verse every day on our Facebook page, and usually wrote a devotional at least once a week. Updates on my runs and races weren't the main focus of this blog.

But along the way, I began writing more posts about running and fewer about spiritual things. I told myself I had simply run out ideas for sermons. Sometimes, I even passed it off to God, telling myself when He got ready for me to write a sermon, He'd put it on my mind. The result, a dearth of posts praising God and sharing the Gospel and a steady supply of posts devoted almost entirely to running.

Last year around this time I was at the top of my game. I PR'd at almost every race I ran in late winter and early spring of 2012. I'm pretty sure that started getting to me, enticing me to build myself up and push God out. I began worrying more over the time it took me to run a race than spreading our message at the races. My times got slower with the spring and summer heat, and gave me less to pride myself in.

That in itself might have been a message from God to remember what I was supposed to be doing, but I didn't take it that way. Instead, I looked for other ways to fulfill myself with running. Before October, I was registered for 5 marathons and considering more, all running before the end of March. When I couldn't impress with my times, I decided to impress with the volume of marathons I'd run.

I had completely lost track. What few devotionals I posted I had to really sit down and work at them. Before they flowed freely and easily from the tips of my fingers, but no longer. It was a laborious process to just get one out. So I wrote about my runs. And that's when God sent me a message I couldn't ignore--my knee injury.
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." -- Hebrews 4:12

I knew immediately it was God trying to get my attention. Nothing happened to cause the injury, but suddenly I found it nearly impossible to walk. I knew I had to get back on track, but the inability to run made it even harder to motivate myself. In October I only posted here three times. I had three marathons scheduled in December and wasn't sure I'd be able to run any of them.

If you've read here much, you know the story. A long break and God did allow me to run them, very slow, but I did finish all three. I have no doubt finishing any of them was all because of God, but He even let me finish three of them. Right after that, up popped this Janathon challenge. I can't remember exactly where I heard of it, but I signed up, hoping it would motivate me to get my running back where it was before the injury. I never counted on it doing more, but it did.
"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is." -- Ephesians 5:17

As January 1, the day to begin running and blogging, neared, I felt God calling to me. This time I was being called to incorporate a spiritual message into every daily blog post. I couldn't see how that was going to happen, no more than I'd written for the last several months. But I prayed about and decided I would make an effort to do just that.

Well, today is the 31st day, and the 31st blog post, with the 31st message for January. I can't say that I came up with all those messages, because I couldn't have. But God supplied the words, sometimes just a few lines and sometimes a complete essay, but a message for each and every day. I didn't do it. I couldn't have done it. But Jesus could and He did.
"For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." -- Luke 21:15

So the point of today's message is, don't ever doubt you can accomplish what Jesus asks you to do. If He assigns you the task, He will equip you to get it done. I was at a point where I couldn't find the words to write 10 posts in two months last fall. But Jesus gave me the words to post 31 times this month, each time with a Biblical message.
"in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." -- Proverbs 3:6

Once I decided to heed His call again, he brought me back, back to where I'm supposed to be. The strength, motivation, and ability to run 192 miles this month all came from Him. The words to post 31 devotionals in January were all supplied by Jesus. Once I acknowledged Him again, He definitely made my paths straight!

Thank you Jesus for getting me through Janathon, for getting me back on the road, and getting me back on track!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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