1. Some days are more productive than others. Some days I can run 13 miles, other days just running 3 is difficult. I'm learning to moderate myself and utilize the energy when I have it. On days when I'm tired, it's hot, or things just aren't going well, I need to remember it will all be there tomorrow. Whether it's the kids, the cleaning, or the miles, I need to stay focused on the task at hand. Do what I can each day, but know when it's time to throw in the towel.
2. Today's worth isn't determined by yesterday's. If I accomplished a lot yesterday it doesn't equal high production today. In fact, it very often means the opposite. Whether the reason is lower energy stores, or that other things need attention (like my children). The opposite of this is true as well: if I accomplished nothing yesterday, today doesn't have to be the same. A new day = New opportunities
3. One goal accomplished isn't the end. After a long run it would be nice to think, "I never have to run again." Just like in parenting and life after a difficult time or trial it would be nice to think, "We passed the test. Now we just have to coast through the rest of life." Fortunately it doesn't work this way and life is a constant refinement. Parenting never ends, even when they're out of the house. It may be different, but it's not over by any means. Trials and struggles will find all of us at some point, and without the practice miles; we won't make it through the big day.
4. This is life-long. This is similar to the previous lesson, but a different twist. When I see 60-70 year old people working out, running races, or jogging on my running route, I always have this thought, "Will I have the stamina to keep up the hard work to that point?" I know that of my own accord I will not. God is the only thing that could keep me sane and motivated that long. Life is difficult. Life can be sad. God also allows it to be beautiful, enlightening, and uplifting at times. Hopefully I can keep enough of the beauty in my mind and heart to stay motivated through the difficult and sad.
It also makes me think of parenting my boys. When I'm 60 they will be in their 30's, by God's grace. I may have an empty nest, but I will still be a mother. Sometimes, the thought is, "Just get them to 18 and then we're good." There will still be mouths to feed, hearts to mend, and goals to encourage them toward. This of course is all by God's grace. Hopefully, I will see them all grow into adulthood. If there is another outcome within the Lord's will, then I pray that by His grace I do stay sane. However, no matter what happens, I will still be their mother and while my burden will be different, it would be heavier to bear.
5. Some times you just need a break. Acknowledging my limits while challenging myself is a difficult balance for me. Honestly I'm more inclined to take a break than go for a run. I'm finding a new motivation and purpose in running though and right now it is my break. It is time to pray, listen to music or sermons, or talk with a friend. It is a break from 3 little boys and the wonderful craziness they bring to my life. Sometimes I need a break from running and my boys need more time with me. I'm learning to be more in tune with my needs, as well as theirs.
6. Beauty is good, but sometimes you just need to finish. I'm hoping that no matter what happens in this life - I finish strong. I may not have a lot of grace or finesse, but hopefully I make up for it in will. I hope that at the end of a race when I look back I can see I gave it my all. I may have walked a bit, needed refreshment, or even fallen down, but if I got up, kept going, and finished; that's good enough.
"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
I hope at the end of this great race my Lord will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Matthew 25:21 That is not to be for my glory, but for His. Without God nothing in my life would be possible. I would not have the courage to be the person I was created to be. I would not have the love to give my husband or children. I would fail at much more than I succeed at. While I still fail, especially when I try to do things on my own, there are moments of wonder and joy in my life that I can only thank God for. Hopefully my life reflects a glimmer of that light into other's.