Saturday, February 22, 2014

Endurance

A long time ago I began to pray for endurance.  Why?

I am a runner by nature... believe it or not in my not so distant past (okay you may not want to believe that part) I actually had a track scholarship to Marshall University.  So I identify all to well with the training and work ethic needed to compete at that level.  You can't get very far if you don't train, train, and.... yep you guessed it, train some more.

Racing is only fun if you can compete with the crowd around you.... however, the training process to achieve that goal is grueling and less than desirable!  I learned quickly that without those long days of pushing myself hard, past the point of where I thought I could go.... I would never reach my goal.

If you are familiar with training you know that it isn't pleasant, it hurts, and it often feels like punishment.  So how do you convince yourself to do it day after day?  Well, you must overcome your first and most difficult obstacle.... Your Mind!!!    Believing in your ability to achieve your goal will determine whether you reach your goal.

Not only does your body need to be conditioned but more importantly your mind does as well.  I use to have a saying with my personal training clients (I told you running was a large part of my past), "Mind over matter... if you don't mind, it won't matter!" Imagine getting to hear that first thing in the morning from a peppy little trainer running beside you!   

What does all of this have to do with praying for endurance?

en·dur·ance ~ 
noun
    1.  the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.


One day while I was praying with a friend I prayed for endurance, something I did regularly in my private prayer time.  When we finished she looked confused and questioned me, "Why did you pray for endurance?"  She said that she had never thought about praying for endurance and wondered what prompted me to do so.  

I told her that I see my life in comparison to running a race.... this life is like a marathon for me (which is a big deal when your a sprinter by nature).  I was great with the quick short distances but it's those long ones that have always taken a toll on me. If you have ever experienced long distance runs you know that there is moment when you hit a proverbial wall... or should I say it HITS YOU!!  

It's the point where you want to give up and sercome to the pain that has been slowly taking over your body. Endurance gives you the strength to push through and reach the goal set before you, however, you can't obtain it without hard work.

So how do you train your mind for your race and gain the confidence to believe in the ability to reach your finish line.... by growing stronger spiritually.  If we want endurance in our journeys we must pursue it with persistence.  Spending time daily with God allows Him to fortify us with the ability to keep running when everything in us says, "I can't take anymore!"  

I will hit many "walls" in my life and unfortunately my little, "Mind of matter matter" phrase won't be enough to get me to the other side of my struggles.  So I will continue to request the gift of endurance from the only one that can provide it for me.


I have been on some very long journeys lately, but God's provision of endurance has kept me 
in the race.  My eyes are fixed on the goal before me and I will persevere until I cross the finish line.


1 Corinthians 9:24-27
 In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize.  All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

So I do not run like someone who doesn't run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules and fail to win the prize.


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