About two weeks ago, I decided I was going to run my second marathon. After making this executive mental decision, I got sick a couple days later. This probably won’t come as a plot twist to you, but when you’re sick, running tons of miles isn’t usually what makes you feel better.
Now healthy, a little out-of-shape, and up-and-running again (punny, right?), I am reminded of how rigorous and un-glamorous marathon training is. In case you didn’t know, it’s not some elegant, fun, glorious event (okay, at least not for me). It looks cool with medals and pictures and free food afterwards, but the bulk of it is not watched, recorded, or completely cared about. However, I also know that if I don’t train and put in the dirty work, I won’t make it to that October Sunday.
We live in a society that focuses on the now. We want food? We order it, it comes. You want a relationship? You start looking around, or hey, you can just go online. So much of the physical, tangible things we want, we have the ability to get, pay for, and have it relatively fast.
Training teaches you a lot, but something I continually learn is that I ultimately don’t decide on October 19 whether or not I’ll be finishing a marathon. I decide on Saturday mornings in August when I wake up (or don’t wake up) for a long run. I decide on Thursdays, when my alarm goes off at a piercing early time, and I think about everyone else sleeping. When I step on the starting line that Sunday morning, a lot of the work is finished. The main battle isn’t taking place on race day, the main battle is taking place nearly every other day leading up to that.
I believe this is true for a ton of areas in life–studying, relationships, you-name-it. You cannot just want an A on an organic chemistry exam, and show up and get it. By the time you go into the test, your grade is basically determined based on the studying and work you put into the class, outside of that 60 minute period with a scan-tron. I’m not married, but my guess is that you usually pursue, date, and fall in love, before you just show up to the altar one Saturday afternoon.
The bulk work of a lot of our big days–marathons, the MCAT, your wedding day–takes place outside of the actual day. A couple on the news just celebrated the 75th wedding anniversary. I didn’t talk to them, but my guess is that there have been many more extremely important and monumental events in the 27,375 days they have been married, besides their Wedding day.
No, this is not a plug to study weeks in advance (though I would encourage that), and it sure as heck is not a plug to train for marathons (one look at my toenails–or lack-thereof–and you would agree with me). It’s an encouragement to not wait to pursue, grow and live with the greatest man we have the ability to. It’s an encouragement to not wait until you’re graduated with a ‘real’ job to start going to church again. It’s a plead to not spend the next four years, getting the partying ‘out-of-your-system’ when you have the greatest option and gift of your life in front of you now.
I’m 19 years old and do not know that much about life, but I do know that tomorrow is not guaranteed. As much as I plan what my tomorrow will look like and as far in advance as our schedules go, ultimately we have no idea. I also know that most of us hate waiting for things (hello to the era of now and the lack of patience I possess), and I don’t think it is fully fair to keep the Creator of the Universe waiting, even though He will always have open arms for you, waiting for you to come home.
I pray that we don’t wait to accept the greatest gift and the greatest love we will ever be offered. It is not a one time decision, because every morning I wake up, I have a choice to make. I can look out my window and be a slave to what the world wants me to be, or I can look upwards and be a servant to the most worthy. Some days I’m not good at what I try to do, and other days it appears I do an above-average job, but ultimately that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I try. There are days where I hit snooze on my alarm and pray thinking about running will just give my legs the endurance they need as if I would have ran. Or the times where I will run a different route to avoid having to run up a huge hill; I will probably regret the fact that I hadn’t trained that way come race day.
Don’t wait to fall in love with the Lord of you heart and the Creator of your life. The door is open and will always be open to you, but do yourself the service of handing Him the keys of your life.