As I watched the Olympics this summer, I saw dedicated people who work patiently to compete for the gold. In races, each have a specifically defined course, rules, competitors, and judges. Paul describes our journey with the Lord as running a race.
I often have felt like I was running hard through areas of my life, so I can relate to Paul’s words.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”--1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Every woman has a unique race that is an endurance test. Sometimes, however, I feel like I am running multiple races at the same time. Think of an athlete who must run the marathon, a 60 meter dash, the mile run, a relay race, and hurdles simultaneously. A woman negotiates many roles that compete for her skill and attention.
A wife needs to follow the Bible’s rules for marriage. A marriage “to death do us part” is a marathon of extra-ordinary length. You must constantly adapt as the marathon’s topography changes. Isaiah 40:31 encourages us, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
When I first was handed my newborn baby, I entered a relay race. God passed on the care and education of a tiny human being to me. I had 18 years to give wisdom to my child. Then I passed the baton to my child’s spouse. Psalm 119:32 is my motto, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.”
CAREER and MINISTRY
A mile run has endurance built into it, but is not overwhelming when put in its proper place. Pace yourself to accomplish a winning run. A mile is just a mile…not more, so keep truth in front of you as you negotiate the ebb and flow of the workplace and ministry. Galatians 5:7 helps us, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?”
A woman often must give care to elderly parents or in-laws. This reminds me of someone running a 60-meter dash. A sprint race requires unique preparation for the start. Prepare for your role as a caregiver. Make decisions ahead of time as to what your care will be. What is the easiest situation for your family, carrying the greatest quality of care for the parent. James 1:12 reminds us, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
All of these races seem to include some hurdles, as if someone forgot to remove them from the track. The hurdles women face can make us stronger, but only if we rely on our Source to clear them without tripping.
“With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”--Psalm 18:29
You can receive prizes for each of the races (roles) you win. These prizes are called “jewels” in the Book of Revelations that are placed on our personal crown. When we have received the crown, we set it at the feet of Jesus. After all He is the One who has enabled us to win.
While you are running, you will need encouragement. You have fans in the stands cheering you on…your favorite uncle, your praying grandmother, or dear sister that has passed on.
“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
God has specifically designed women to make a difference for eternity as they run their races. We have to be sure footed, sweating through daily endurance workouts with our Coach. You are quite capable to achieve the win. Win, my sister, win!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”--2 Timothy 4:7