Did you know life is a race? Sure, you say, a Rat Race! Perhaps that is an accurate description, but seriously, life is a race and it takes training, endurance, passion and determination to make the most of it. God is our Race Official and unlike foot races in this world, we are not racing against others. We are instead running the paths laid out specifically for us and no one else.

I’ve been practicing this lately on my actual training runs. I’m letting the Holy Spirit direct each and every turn through my neighborhood. It is testing and training my ability to hear from Him and taking me places I have never set foot in the 14 years I have lived in The Dalles. Which seems to me like a plan from God as when we surrender to His Will and are obedient, He often takes us places we have never been and never imagined we would go.

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Check out Hebrews 12:1 in The Passion Translation:
“As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has already been marked out before us.”

After reading that passage this morning, God laid a question on my heart and I pose the same question to you – “Whose race are you running?”

It specifically says in Hebrews 12:1 that our “path has already been marked out for us”. That means that, SURPRISE, God has a specific plan for your life. He doesn’t have you on earth at this time in the world’s history by accident. He has you on this earth at this time in history because He has a specific PURPOSE and PATH for YOU! “For you” is the key to that last sentence because it denotes that God has a plan/purpose/path for you that is unique to your talents, your giftings and yes, even your past wounds and struggles with sin.

Your path does not look like anyone else’s path, it is designed for you and you alone. Of course, we walk with others along our paths but we must discern and follow the specific path that God has created for each of us.

Now for the harder question…Are you feeling overwhelmed with what you see as your path? If you are feeling overwhelmed with what you see as your “duties” for God, I encourage you to take your list of “To-Dos” to the cross and lay them at Christ’s feet. Ask Him to give you His Wisdom and Discernment to understand whether these tasks are on your path or not. Then, if, and ONLY IF, God has released you to do so, you may pick them up and continue, leaving the tasks that are intended for others in the very capable hands of the God of ALL Creation.

This is not an easy exercise that I am encouraging you to do, but it’s a necessary one. It takes ultimate TRUST in God to let go of what He hasn’t asked us to do. Remember God has a plan for your life and if you are so busy serving in the ways you think He wants (but has not truly called you to do) you will be distracted from your designed purpose, drained of your energy and perhaps unsuccessful in many of your duties. Lay it ALL at the foot of the cross and pick up ONLY what He tells you is yours, then run your race with a renewed and refreshed spirit.

One other note – notice how the verse says “life’s marathon race”. The path, or race, set before us is an endurance race. It takes training, dedicated training, to prepare for this race. Since I am a runner I have a unique perspective on race training. I have run a full marathon and it took LOTS of training. Many 4 AM morning runs of 10+ miles before work were on my schedule in that time of life. But, that training paid off. I was able to run 26.2 miles in 4.5 hours and still walk the next day!

Training to run God’s race marked out for us takes even more dedicated training. If we want to build our endurance up we must spend the time in training. This can be time spent at church and bible study but I want to encourage you that it is, MOST importantly, your ALONE time spent with God. Not just time spent when you are walking through a trial in life, but a daily walk that puts you in His Presence so you can build up your spirit with His Strength. Spending time in His Presence, is the only way to truly prepare for the endurance race set before you.

If I had only trained when I felt like it – a few miles here or there – I would have been a train wreck when I tried to run my marathon. I had to be dedicated – on my own – in order to truly prepare for the marathon. So it is the same with our preparation for life’s marathon. It takes dedicated time set aside to soak in God’s goodness and His love for you. That time prepares your heart, spirit and mind in ways that only God can do and it allows Him to build up your endurance in Him for life’s race.

Just like your path is unique, so is your time with God. Your time will not look like anyone else’s time. I encourage you to make your time with God what best fills your heart. It can look different every single day. One day you might sit and listen to Praise Music, then the next day you might watch the sunrise in silence. You might hike to a mountaintop to read your Bible or sit outside on your patio in PJ’s and a bathrobe with a cup of joe to read the Word (my most repeated daily act). The key is to sort out the ways God speaks to you and then spend time with Him.

He cares so intimately for us that He speaks to each of us how we best hear Him. He speaks to me best through nature and written words. But I have friends who are artists and God speaks to them in pictures and vivid dreams. He has designed you in a unique way and will reach you in a unique way. But First, you must Stop and Seek Him.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Note the order of when you should seek God…FIRST. We need to look to Him first, not after our To-Do list is complete, not after we have checked all our social media accounts, but first. It never ceases to amaze me that when I seek Him first, He orders my day and my time in such a way that I am able to everything I need to get done, done. He seems to stretch the time I spend with Him and then stretch my time in the rest of my day so I can complete all the tasks laid before me.

This goes hand in hand with running your specific race as when you seek God first, He will show you the path and the tasks He has laid out for you. You will begin to see His plan for your life and learn to take on what He asks of you, laying down all else that He is NOT asking of you. This brings success in the Kingdom of God. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes.” Show your faith in your Mighty God by being obedient to what He says is important. Warning, it may be different than you think. But, the only way to know is to seek Him and soak in His presence, then you can walk in the confidence of His Plan for your life.

Seek, soak and run your race, dear one. God loves you so much and He desires you to be near Him with every step you take. I pray that you feel that draw to His heart and that you will be obedient to that draw in taking a step towards Him so He can fill you with His Spirit and orchestrate your every step.

Blessings and Love,