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Encouragement for Today - Jan. 6, 2009

January 6, 2009


Running Prepared

By Lynn Cowell

“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 (NIV)



A twelve mile run. I had known all week this long run was part of my training for an upcoming half marathon, yet I really hadn't given it much thought (except how badly I didn't want to do it). The day before, it was business as usual I didn't drink much water, ate a double bacon cheeseburger and fries, and didn't get a good night’s sleep. Friends advised me I needed to make changes to my eating and sleeping habits, but I hadn’t followed through.


The next day, my husband, Greg, and I mapped out our run. I knew it was going to be hard, but with my IPOD and water bottles, I thought I would make it. I couldn’t have been more unprepared!


About half way through exhaustion and frustration became my running partners. My ear bud headphones kept falling out, my water seemed to evaporate into thin air, and the miles were not passing by fast enough. Lord help me finish, I pleaded. I ended up walking the last mile, my body racked with pain.


After returning home, things went from bad to worse. I paid dearly for my lack of preparation. Dehydration set in with shivers, cramps, and dizziness. Greg and the kids waited on me all afternoon and nursed me back to health.

Two weeks later, our training schedule called for another twelve mile run. This time, I got it right! I started hydrating days before, ate a carb-filled diet Friday night, and went to bed early. Before the run, I filled my fuel belt with Powerade, snacks high in electrolytes and Chap Stick. I was good to go!


Saturday morning, we had a wonderful time (as good as it can be when running twelve miles!). The sun was out, nature was beautiful and our conversation was enjoyable. I’m sure all of these circumstances were the same two weeks prior, but I was different.

After my run, I thought how this scenario is not so different from our spiritual race with the Lord. We know trials are ahead; He tells us in His Word they are a part of this life. Knowing this, we have choices to make.


We can be neglectful and not prepare. If that is our choice, like me, our trials can be very painful with tough consequences to follow. Or we can choose wisely and get prepared in advance. Preparing is essential if we want to keep running when tough times come.


So, how do we prepare? First, we ready our hearts by hydrating ourselves each day with the Living Water of God’s Word, feasting on our Daily Bread through worship, and resting in the shelter of the Most High by investing time in our relationship with Him. These fuel and replenish us with faith, hope, and encouragement, and steady us in the everlasting joy of our Father.


I also find it helpful to get my house in order - things in place such as schedules, finances, and good relationships with family members and friends. Having our life in order means one less stress when trials hit.


I think the biggest mistake I made with my first twelve-mile run was assuming that if I just "showed up," I'd get through. That was so unwise! I don’t want to make the same mistakes on my spiritual run. The Lord has given us everything we need to run our race, but we need to prepare, and by doing so will gain victory in our trials and finish strong!

Dear Lord, Please help me prepare ahead of time for the trials of this life. Teach me to dig into Your Word and invest in my relationship with You. I want to be ready to run well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?


The One Year Chronological Bible (NLT)


Get Over It and Get On With It by Michelle McKinney Hammond


Visit Lynn’s Blog


Application Steps: 

Do a check-up on your life: are there things out of order that you need to get right before your next trial hits?

Life is hard. Find a "running" partner you can count on to encourage you and you can encourage in return



Have you been putting His Word into your heart so that you have the hydration you’ll need for your spiritual race?


What changes can you make in your every day life that might help make trials to come easier?


Power Verses:

Hebrews 12:11, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (NIV)

Deuteronomy 33:12, “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders." (?)




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