A few years ago my friend, Lindsey and I, trained for and completed a half marathon. I remember each mile accomplished, only by the sheer mental will to get to the prize. Tears rolled down my face as I crossed that line, all of the hours of training, the strained muscles, pep talks and mental determination was given value, it all was for this moment.
I struggle with enjoying the journey, I am often so motivated by the finish line, I don’t slow long enough to soak in the steps along the way. My brain is motivated by getting to my destination, I often find the quickest, most efficient routes to getting to where I am going. I recently was on a road trip, I was talking with a friend who loves to take the highways and back roads instead of the interstate, I am not that girl. I realized that carries over into my life, sometimes I am so motivated to get there and get it done that I don’t savor the steps along the way. I want to slow down and just soak them in, there is such purpose in each step. For a while this last trip, I took some time getting off of the interstate, to my surprise I still got to my destination in about the same time.
Life is made up of a series of start and finish lines, each one beginning a new journey, filled with such purpose. Whether it is the labor and delivery of a new life, a project at work, a race, a game, or an emotional breakthrough, we all are journeying through something. We start the race, we pour in time, energy and our very life into the journey.
The bible reminds us of the importance of the race, in the steps we find our endurance. Each step taken prepares us for the next one to come, another step forward, towards the goal.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1
So my thought is, the journey is really where it is at, the endurance we gain along the way prepares us for the finish lines and the races to come. The steps along the way are where the cramps happen, aches, pains and the moments where you have to decide to push through it all. In those little steps your strength is found, each step towards the finish is a success. It is in the steps that we find our rhythm, the sound of our feet hitting the path, our breath, it becomes our song, our very soul rising up. It is in that melody we find our strength, to keep moving, to seek that line.
When I was training for my half marathon I loved to run a certain path in my city, it was quiet and I often was alone out there. It was there I processed so much life. I would see all of the things in order, just being. I was inspired by their beauty, I would see the way the path changed and curved. The beauty really is in the journey, the steps, triumphs and aches of it all. The finish line is a great celebration of a long road walked.
The journey isn’t over when you reach that finish line, you see, that race was merely preparing you for the next start line, the repeating course of life. So run well my friends, press in and find joy in the journey.