Friday Finds: Fix Your Eyes

Run the race with perseverance.

Make the most of your time.

Fix your eyes on the prize.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Today’s Friday Find is a visual picture of everything we discussed this week. A video by Elevation Church…

Run fast and run hard, my friends.

Running, following & listening,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Getting Started

As I was lamenting the hill that we were tackling somewhere around mile 9 of the race this past weekend, I looked over and read a sign that was being held high over the crowd.  It read:

THE FIRST STEP IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST

So true.  As with any goal, physical or spiritual, taking that first step is going to be the most challenging!  Once we get the hang of things we generally fall into a rhythym.

I know, sometimes picking up your Bible can be the equivalent to starting to train for a marathon.  We don’t know where to start, it seems to big, and we’ve been burned out in the process before.  But that’s why I wanted to share a tip today that has helped countless people of all ages get started in their Bible reading goals.  This is a retro post (originally posted in July of 2011), but the count on the viewership tells me that only my family and a few friends caught this one.

I hope you’ll check it out and share your own personal training tips in the comment section for other runners/readers!

“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.” 1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV

Running,
Ginger

When Time Matters

As we talk about the currency of time this week, I couldn’t help but point out the giant metaphor staring me right in the face.

I ran a half marathon this weekend.  It was a first for me and something that’s been on my goal list for almost a decade.  I can’t tell you how great it felt to check it off the list.

That’s why racing is on the brain.

Goofy smiles.

RACE= LIFE
“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 a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat 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

Paul asks a very poignant question in this passage.  Why run a race if you don’t care about the prize?  I might rephrase it for our context and ask: Why live life without an ultimate purpose?  Hopefully our purpose is sure and we haven’t entered this race without a target goal in mind.

AIM FOR THE TARGET
I’m not a runner, but I am a goal-setter.  Once I had a goal time in mind I wanted to do anything I could to hit it.  I didn’t run aimlessly, determining that “when I get there I get there.”  Instead my running partner mapped out our time goals mile by mile and we focused on hitting the finish within a specific window of time.

Our race had tons of things that could have slowed us down.  There were bands on every corner, people dressed in crazy costumes, and some hills that threatened to slow our pace.  But we kept the music cranked and our faces forward.  And rather than stopping for water or fuel, we carried what we needed the whole race.  We stuck to the center, kept the goal in mind and just ran. 

FOCUS ON THE FINISH
It’s so important for us to stay focused on the goal set before us.  We know that there are a million things vying for our time.  If our desire is to know Him more, then we need to do whatever we can to succeed in that goal.  When we spend time with the Lord we need to be ready to run past distractions.  Turn off phones and close computers.  Even if that time is just in the shower, give Him your full attention in that moment.

Paul uses the race metaphor again beautifully:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14, NIV

This is a life-long training process, but the time invested will be worth every minute spent in pursuit of the King of Kings.  Let’s keep our eyes on the prize!

“Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.”  Hebrews 12:1-3, GWT

Running the Race,
Ginger

Run Fast

I’ve had “run a half marathon” on my bucket list for almost a decade now. I eventually started getting serious enough to change my list to read “run a half marathon by the time you are thirty.” I am running in a race in just two short weeks. I am turning thirty in just three short weeks. (There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute.) God willing, I’m going to cross that finish line and accomplish my goal. I’m proud of the progress and thankful for a ton of encouragement that has gotten me over the “I can’t do this” and the “I don’t want to do this” humps.


SURPRISE

Do you want to know what the biggest surprise in all of this has been? It’s how having a plan (with tangible goals), evaluating progress each day, and staying encouraged have made this whole process relatively… well… easy.

And yet, here’s the list that I had stacked up against me:

1. I’m not a runner.
2. I’ve been diagnosed with asthma for most of my life.
3. The sports I enjoy playing least contain the most running.
4. I am really good at quitting any sort of physical goal.

Prior to 2010 the longest I had ever run was a 5K. Prior to last month I had never run more than a 10K. And then last Friday I ran 10 miles. My knees hurt and my body shook, but I just did it.

DO THE WORK
Gang- as you set goals for this year my hope is that your spiritual workout takes priority on your list. Being healthy and honoring God with our bodies and physical goals is important, but not at the expense of our hearts and minds. Have you ever read the whole Bible? Ever memorized a verse before? Have you ever tried talking to God first thing when you wake up each day?

I don’t know where you are in your relationship with God or which spiritual goals you should aim for this year, but I do know that a step forward is a step forward! Set a goal for 2012 that will draw you closer to the King of History. Run fast and run hard after him!

POINTERS
If nothing else, running has helped me to learn the following about goal setting.

  • Make a tangible, realistic goal.  (I want to read Ezekiel through Revelation by the end of 2012)
  • Vocalize your goal to someone who can help encourage you.  (My husband and I both shared our goals)
  • Reevaluate at the end of the first week or month – is your goal still realistic?  (Do I need to devote more time?)
  • Change up the routine from time to time.  (Sometimes I read from a different translation or at a different time in the day.)
  • Walking is still moving. Just keep moving forward.  (Some days I can read a whole book of the Bible in one sitting and other days I only make it through a verse or two.)
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or if your just off your game. Pick it back up tomorrow.  (Don’t let guilt keep you away from a gift!)

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing even on our lamest of days. Your efforts will be rewarded!

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

-2 Chronicles 15:7, NIV

If you want your story to be an adventure, invest time with the Master Storyteller!

Living out His Story,
Ginger

The Race

Goofing off with my awesome running buddies!

In recent years I’ve made a valiant effort to try and become a runner.  I moved from speed walking to running.  I aimed for minutes and then I started aiming for miles.  I tackled my first 5k and then my first 10k.  Everything in me wanted to conquer a half marathon this past year, but between changing jobs, addresses, and last names… the training stopped.  Soon I was finding every excuse NOT to run.  I claimed rollerblades for my exercise and began doing some serious strength training at the gym.  I could tell you that my running stalemate came from a boring playlist or the heat in Arizona, but honestly… I stepped off the train and just never stepped back on it.

The morning of my 10k I ran faster miles than I ever have before.  I felt adrenaline and focus that usually failed me around mile 4.  The morning after my 10k felt nothing like the race.  I hated every minute.  I wanted the energy back.

I ran 2 miles on the treadmill yesterday.  They were SLOW miles, but I did it.  I started remembering why I do enjoy running, how actually finishing a goal makes me so excited.

I’ve been going to camps and retreats my whole life.  Usually they inject my spiritual life with a sort of caffeine.  I worship more, desire God’s word more, and even feel God’s presence in a richer way… for a time.  But the problem is that when I return home after such an experience, I’m wanting an experience that FEELS like camp… and everyday life just doesn’t always feel that way.

So… what to do?

The Race from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

It’s important to remember that your spiritual journey is a marathon, not a sprint.  You will get tired, just like a runner.  That’s why you need the nourishment of God’s Word, the encouragement of fellowship, and the care for your temple to see you through the tough days of training!  Hang in there.  Keep talking to God.  He is FOR you, and not against you!

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

Following and running,

Ginger