Yesterday I spent the day being Sally’s support team and chairman of her fan club during the Wisconsin Ironman in Madison. For those who don’t know the specifics of an Ironman, it beings with a 2.4 mile swim, then transitions to a 112 mile bike ride, and ends with a 26.2 mile run. This is truly a race of endurance and it without a doubt my favorite race event (or any sporting event for that matter) to attend. I enjoy these races so much because I am always inspired by the dedication and commitment of the athletes.
The participants in the Wisconsin Ironman reported they trained for 18-30 hours per week for the race. It’s an event you don’t just decide to do a week in advance and then compete. It takes preparation, planning, dedication, passion, and commitment to do the ultimate endurance race. Even the race day routine requires planning and commitment. Sally, for instance, awakens at 3:30 am for the standard 7:00 am race start. She eats, stretches, does her warm-up exercises, reads her Bible, gets mentally prepared, and then goes to the event by 5:30 am to make sure everything is ready for the entire race.
As I watched the race unfold yesterday, I thought of Paul’s words in 1Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
The race of life is truly an endurance run that requires even more preparation, planning, dedication, passion, and commitment to cross the finish line than does an Ironman. And yet how often do we treat this race of life as a saunter in the park that requires no training whatsoever? We too often act as though it doesn’t matter how we spend our time, what we read or watch, how we treat others, or whether or not we practice forgiveness. We eat what we want, do what we want, or live how we want without any thought of God’s call to run the race to be with Him. The incredible truth about this race is that God is our biggest fan, the best possible coach, and to top it off He actually runs with us every step of the way.
Yesterday I was inspired to renew my training for the race of life. Today I hired God to be my Coach. I’ll blog more about that later this week. Until then, what will you change in your life to make sure you win the race?