It was a glorious sunny Saturday this past weekend, and I decided to attend an event at a local running store.  I passed the full parking lot and found a spot down the road.

They certainly must have a lot going on today.

Sure enough, the place was packed with runners, yoga practitioners, and various and sundry folks of all ages looking to stay fit. The energy was electric and it was a nice change of pace from my normally quiet Saturday morning.

Seeing all those glowing faces reminded me of the days I used to run 5ks to raise money for charities. I even ran a 10k one year and came in 15 minutes ahead of my goal time. My then boyfriend rode alongside me on a bicycle the whole way. One time I came in 3rd place and got a trophy for my age group. I know what it takes to train, to run, and to win.

I also know we are all running our own race. Life is not just a 5k sprint or a jog in the park. Life is a marathon, and marathons require endurance. Ever look at someone else and think “Gee, they have such an easy life”? Perhaps that explains our fascination with Hollywood and sports figures. We think their lives are so glamorous and problem-free, but as the tabloids reveal, they most definitely are not.

We never know what someone else may be going thru. Trials are inevitable because each of us has our own lessons to learn while we are here on this earth. The critical question to ask ourselves is this: are we prepared to deal with the trials that will eventually come our way? Have we trained ourselves to endure the race? Hebrew 12:1 says “And let us run<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> with perseverance<sup class="crossreference" value="(B)”> the race marked out for us”.

Jesus said that he came so we could have life and have it more abundantly.  He also said this. “Ask so that you may receive and your joy may be complete” (John 16:24). My eyes go to two words – “ASK” and “JOY”.

When I am going thru something, I ASK God what do I need to DO and what do I need to LEARN. I stop running, racing, and slow down to listen for the answer. It may take some time, but I need to do my part by asking, seeking and knocking. The bigger the issue, the longer the process of asking, seeking, and knocking.  You know how that expression goes “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and it is true. When I taught aerobics for Bally’s (now LA Fitness), I had a funny t-shirt that said “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get a sub”. It was a play on words from the old commercial, about falling and getting up. If you’ve stumbled lately, take heart. Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and get back in the race of life. The journey is worth it.

If we want an abundant, fulfilling, joyful life we have to train, endure, and keep on running towards the finish line. Sometimes we may stumble, but we pick ourselves up, rest awhile, and then get back on track. An abundant, successful, joyful and peaceful life doesn’t happen on it’s own. It is by God’s great grace AND our efforts combined that makes a wonderful life.

Until next time, what do you do to keep yourself focused on your goals? What tips do you have for training yourself to face life’s challenges? Stay tuned and until next week, keep looking up!

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