I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith.
Between the pandemic and politics, are you feeling frustrated or maybe confused? Like me, maybe you lean toward worry rather than trust. It’s easy to pray and then resort back to concerns, media, or too much talk about “the problems of the world” with others. Times of trial test our faith.
However, these are the seasons I want to run the race with vigor as St. Paul famously declared in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith.” I want to come through the finish line of my life pursuing faith and trust in the good times, yet even more so in the tough times.
As in a real race, there are moments I feel like quitting, yet when I choose to keep going I grow stronger, build perseverance, and strengthen my endurance. I train my body for those moments of struggle. I train my body to push through. It is the same for us with our spiritual race.
Will these hard times crush us or will we run with endurance?
Training for a physical race and the spiritual race have many commonalities. We often wake early, choosing to do something we don’t always feel like doing, and when we fail, there’s an abundance of grace to pick back up where we left off. Picking back up is key.
In the same way, simple spiritual practices and rhythms give us a foundation to run when the world feels unstable and scary. These simple practices may be daily scripture, prayer, and spiritual reading; or they may look like a daily prayer walk or keeping a gratitude journal.
Practices and rhythms are not extreme life changes. They are manageable, gentle practices that can change our life. Since everyone is unique, we require our own patterns. Early morning works for me, but may not for you. The goal is to walk with Christ in our own daily practices, building our own firm foundation of faith that helps us run the race with vigor and strength even during the hard times.
Practices and rhythms are not extreme life changes. They are manageable, gentle practices that can change our life.
Does your morning consist of breastfeeding, or rocking a little one? Are you trying to squeeze in moments of rhythm amidst messes in your home or in the world? The beauty is, we all are. Life is chaotic. We’re not trying to figure out a perfect way. Over the years I’ve learned that small practices gain much ground.
In closing, remember your devotional time need not be long but can be five to fifteen-minute increments throughout the day. It can be in the still of the morning or on a vigorous walk. It can be in silence, with music, or written in a journal. Small steps are the building blocks to a firm foundation that will help you run the race with vigor during the good and the tough times.
What practices and rhythms ground you?