Thursday, February 13

Excerpts from "I'm Running To Win"  Ann Kiemel, 1980

in a race, everyone runs but only one person
gets first prize.  so run your race to win.
to win the contest you must deny yourselves
many things that would keep you from 
doing your best. an athlete goes to all
this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a sliver cup.
but we do it for a heavenly reward that never
disappears. so i run straight to the goal with
purpose in every step.  1 corinthians 9:24-26

every morning, i wake up with a prayer:
"Jesus, i am just ann. my city is so big.
make me creative. give me ideas for my 
corner of the world."

shortly after the 1979 boston marathon, and
meeting bev wenshau, a young mother from
minneapolis and a five-time marathoner, i 
woke up one morning and thought,
"i know, Jesus...i could become a runner
and meet all the runners in my city...
and sing them songs and touch them where
they hurt, be a friend, maybe, someday, i can run
the boston marathon."
(well, You and i, Jesus)

i did realize at the start that i came from a totally
nonathletic family.  that i had never been a runner.
that i was thirty-four years old.
inherent in that tiny seed dream was the definite
possibility of failure. of never making it into
any marathon, especially the olympics of
marathons: boston.
of suffering and being vulnerable before the world,
and probably misunderstood...and falling short
of the goal.

that is the way it is with dreams.
with being faithful.
giving one's best every day.

it is not:
"Jesus, i will be deeply committed to You if You'll
heal my brother...or increase my salary...or give me
that new house...or make me famous."
it is, rather:
"Jesus, i will follow You to the end.
no guarantees asked.
no special rewards except that You will be at the end
of the road to meet me when i get there...
and i will know that i have lived my life out in truth.
whatever is along the road...during the race...
"yes" to it. to anything You bring into my life.

                        * * * * * * * * * * * * 

running is like finding Jesus
you start out with so much enthusiasm...
so excited and exhilarated.
so much momentum.
ready to become a great runner.
what you don't know then is that it
doesn't happen overnight.
it takes hours of courage and pain and hard work.
standing alone.
putting more into the effort than anyone else

it is one thing to find Jesus and another to commit
one's life to Him and follow Him day in and day out
without demanding any promises or guarantees.
just following Him because you love Him.

it is hard to drag my body out
morning after morning...
especially on mornings like this
when it is gray and cloudy outside
and so cozy inside.
it is hard to be disciplined and keep my eye on
the mark instead of on how i feel.

Jesus, i do this in Your strength.

                      * * * * * * * * * * * * 

i like faithfulness
i like being disciplined in running
because it helps me to be disciplined
in the other areas of my life.

i really believe that if we discipline ourselves
in one area, it spills over
and affects all the other areas.
the more i'm disciplined in my running
the more i'm disciplined in my eating...
in my Bible study...
in my exercise habits...
in my love for others.
it all falls together.
the more i look to God for obedience
to follow Him...
not my physical desires...
or my ego needs...
the more He is the fulfillment.

last night someone asked me again about
loneliness and what i do with it.
i think there is only one answer to loneliness:
give your life away....
be a servant.

it's true...
if we lose our lives, we find them.
if we serve, we live.
people go to parties...drink...beat their 
brains out in an office...try to look beautiful...
just trying not to be lonely.
what they don't know is if they give
their lives away
and spend their lives touching over people...
meeting needs...
healing hurts...

they are sustained and comforted and filled
with excitement and adventure...
and the loneliness gone...lost.

today, Jesus, make me a servant.

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