Here is my Friday email sent to Advent Pres:
This year, I’ve been running in a Memphis race series called #runthe901, four races in the city of Memphis from January through March, which culminate in the Germantown ½ marathon on March 11th. If someone is able to finish all four races in the series, they receive a certain medal and other prizes. I’m two races down at this point, and am preparing for the Laurelwood 15K in just over a week. It’s been a good way to stick with personal health goals for 2018 and to get more acclimated to Memphis.
I’ve met a lot of new runners during these first two races, folks who responded to a promotion email or who were encouraged to run by a group of friends at a New Year’s Eve party, perhaps. They bought new shoes before the series and an Apple Watch or a FitBit to track their miles and exercise stats. I’m sure great enthusiasm swelled in their hearts as they started their first race. Then, these new runners eventually experience what seasoned runners know all too well, a feeling of being in over one’s head.
You can usually find the new runner towards the back 1/3 of the race, gasping for air, walking with tired legs, and with an expression of disbelief. “Three miles didn’t seem like too far of a distance,” they think, and “Why are there people who look less ‘in-shape’ than me passing by me with little effort?” Endurance exercise has a way of caving in any romantic ideas of fitness that we might have, and it is no respecter of athletes: seasoned and novice runners eventually have to endure moments when their energy runs out.
That is what I love about the running community during a race, for they seem to try and not leave anyone behind. Sure, there are some who are trying to beat personal best times or trying to place for a medal during the race. For the most part, people are there to finish the course. Along the way, a certain sentiment builds among participants: we should all get to the finish line.
I think that this is a great metaphor for the Christian life and it is probably why “running a race” is a popular trope to describe the Christian life. What I fear is that, in an effort to finish “our own race,” we so easily pass by the struggling Christian gasping for air, who is moments away from deciding to go no further.
May each of us scan our peripheral vision today in order to help someone continue on. May we whisper them encouraging words for endurance. May we all seek to help one another finish well.
What I am currently reading: 5Q: Reactivating the Original Intelligence and Capacity of the Body of Christ by Alan Hirsch
What I am currently watching: Atypical
What I am currently listening to: the Bible in 90 Days plan on Youversion (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus this week)
An app I find fun: The Journey Surf video game