A good friend commented on my last post that she’s always thought running is a good metaphor for life. I agree. I could spend about nine posts talking about all the things I did wrong training for that marathon and their spiritual correlations, but I won’t. I’ll just throw down one thing I learned about praying.
When I was training for the marathon, I would often get freaked out about the concept of 26.2 miles, and for good reason: it’s really hard to run that far, and failure is a real possibility (as I now know all too well). But an experienced runner gave me some excellent advice when I was training.
“Remember, you don’t have to run the marathon yet. You just have to hit today’s distance. That’s your marathon.”
If I wanted to achieve my ultimate goal, all I had to do was take care of business one day at a time. When I would get discouraged about how much further I had to go in training or when I didn’t feel like finishing a run, I just remembered what he said. Each day was a marathon. Every run was a race. Daily success on the little tests was the only way to have long-term success on the big tests.
But other times, when I would get tired of the daily runs, wondering why I was wasting my time, I would think about crossing the finish line on race day, celebrating with friends and family, eating all the Jack in the Box tacos I could handle as I lay on my parent’s couch. The final goal was what kept me motivated in those times.
So when denying the world seems too much, when your sins seem impossible to overcome, when holiness seems completely out of reach, remember: you don’t have to become a saint in one day. Just spend time in prayer, humbly, telling Jesus what is on your heart.
And in those times when you just don’t see the point of praying, when you don’t feel like it, when you start to think that it won’t matter if you miss just this one day, call to mind the final goal. Think about Heaven. Make that your prayer. Ask Jesus what it will be like. Let your imagination try to capture that picture. And pray for the strength to make it there.