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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Janathon and How It's Blessed Me...

The Run

The 23rd day of Janathon, the second day running in my new shoes, and all is well. Today's run was another fantastic one.

I picked one of the hardest 6 mile routes from my house and stepped out 30 minutes earlier than usual. That's because I needed to be at school by 7:00 for our weekly Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting. Surprisingly, it started better than I expected.

I knocked out the first mile before I glanced down at my watch...finishing it at a 10:16 pace. Not terribly fast, but pretty good for what I've been running lately. It only got better from there for miles 2 and 3, which I ran in 10:13 and 10:05, respectively. It got even better after that.

The first three miles of this out-and-back route trend uphill, with the turnaround at the peak of the biggest hill along the way. The best thing about going uphill on the way out on an out-and-back course is you're going downhill on the way back, for the second half of the run. So I ended up with a negative split and an average 10:04 pace for the entire 6 miles.

Once again, I'm feeling pretty good after my second day on new shoes. Still way too early to cheer about them, but so far so good. If they still feel this great after a couple of months, I'll be really singing their praises.

The Message

For 23 days straight, I've completed some sort of workout every single day. And every day I've written a blog post about it. That was the Janathon challenge, to work out and blog about it every day. When I signed on for this challenge, I was hoping to motivate myself to stay after it during the month of January, but I've reaped a lot more benefit than I anticipated.

January is usually a tough month to stay focused on a workout program. It's right after the Christmas Break, a time which discourages working out on its own. The weather almost never seems conducive to getting outside on the road. It's cold and rainy...a lot! Since I hate the treadmill so much, it makes the first month of the year one of the hardest to maintain my running routine.

Janathon helped me beat that, and even do more than I normally would in other months. I'm not a big cross trainer. Yes. I understand the benefits, but always find some excuse to stick with running. Maybe because I really enjoy running, maybe because on my days off from running, I really just want a break. Not sure exactly what the cause is, but it usually stops me from other forms of exercise. This month, instead of my usual 6 mile runs on Monday through Friday, and a long run on Saturday, I've added a 10 mile bike ride on Sundays. That's something I doubt I'd have taken up if it weren't for Janathon!

The most important gain I've made through this challenge this month though is getting back to what I'm really supposed to be doing with this ministry. Almost two years ago, when God laid it on my heart to start Running with Amanda, running was only a part of the equation. The most important task Jesus had assigned to me was spreading the Good News of salvation through Him.
"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." -- 2 Corinthians 11:3

I'd really fallen away from that lately...until this month.

When I started this blog, my goal was to write a devotional at least once a week. But it quickly became a lot more of a blog about my running than about the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. I guess it was just easier to write about my runs than it was to really sit down and dwell on the Word of God, letting it speak to me, and transferring it for publication.

But I knew God wanted me to use this site to glorify Him, not me. I'd sit down and write post after post about my runs, the miles I'd logged that week, race recaps, etc. But I'd only slip in a good sermon every once in a while. I'd tell myself that I was just waiting for the Spirit to take over, waiting until God put the words in my head. But that's not what it was. I was taking the easy way out.

I convinced myself that I just couldn't come up with a message every week, or even every two weeks, or then even every month. The posts dedicated to spreading the Gospel became fewer and farther between. Until finally, they were just pretty much nonexistent.
"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do" -- Acts 9:6

Then I accepted this Janathon challenge...and God spoke to me again. But this time He told me that every post needed to include a message. Now I'm not talking of a Moses-type burning bush experience. That's not how He spoke to me. It was more that little voice inside my head, whispering the same suggestion over and over and over. It's taken me years to learn that little voice IS God speaking to me, telling me what the right thing to do is.

So I listened, and I decided I would work to come up with a message for each post I wrote. To my surprise, it really hasn't taken much work to think of a message each day. And I've finally figured out that's because God is giving me the ideas to type on the keyboard.

This is the 23rd consecutive day of Janathon, and the 23rd consecutive daily message stemming from this challenge. Maybe before I'd come to the point I only wanted to write about me. Or maybe I just wasn't wanting to listen to God. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I wasn't fully trusting Him and I hadn't really 100% turned myself over to Him.
"For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." -- Luke 21:17

But through this challenge, Jesus has shown me that, if I open my ears to hear, He will give me the words to write. I can't promise you a message every day when February rolls around, but you'll definitely still be seeing a lot more of them than you did before.


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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