I always love miles 8 thru 10 on my runs. It is at these times my legs feel like they just want to stop, I get the attitude that what I’ve done should be good enough, and my form begins to get sloppy, which can easily lead to injury.
Lots of people ask me why I run and the simple answer is, I run for God. Now, there is a lot behind this answer, and God has taken me on quite the journey to get here, but that is the honest truth. I run for God!
Through miles 8 through 10 I usually solely focus on my walk with God, where I have been, and where He is calling me. To me my journey with Him is a lot like one of these full-out runs. There are times I feel incredible, I feel like my legs are stronger then ever and I can push myself to limits I have never reached before. The same exact thing happens in my relationship with Christ. At times I am filled with such joy, so much passion for the mission field I am in every single day, and I am on fire for the purpose God has called me to live out in my life. I used to think that it was these moments I liked best.
But that all changed when I started running. At the end of my run when every muscle in my body wants to stop, when the pain in my knee says to give up, and when I’m breathing like a pug dog who sounds like it’s been smoking for 10 years, my focus on Christ only sharpens. It’s exactly like my journey with God. When you follow God obediently and seek to allow him to be your life, not just a part of your life, he doesn’t stick you in some magic bubble that is going to protect you from the pains of this world. In fact, scripture tells us we are going to face trials. It is in these moments, when I want to give up, throw in the towel, and say “Good enough!” that God reminds me to focus on him.
I love being on mile 8 because I often feel so weak. Right now, as we pursue God’s calling on our family to move to Bulgaria, as we seek to honor God through this ministry and not get caught up in making it about ourselves, as we trust that he alone is going to do something miraculously huge, and as we wait, I absolutely feel weak—and I wouldn’t want it any other way! It is here at mile 8 God is saying, “Focus on me.” It is here at mile 8 that God is reminding me that we can’t do this on our own, but he alone can. It is here at mile 8 that God is giving me the strength to run to him, and though there is no finish line in this race I know that I am running a race that is not my own, with a strength that can only be given through the one and only Mighty God, and I’m praying along the way that these feet would lead others straight to the cross. Oh how I love mile 8!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Hebrews 12: 1-3
**About the picture**
In the summer of 2014, every morning I would go for a run in Dobrinishte, Bulgaria, and this is what I would see right around mile 8 to encourage me along!