Your Christian Journey Is Not A Sprint, It Is A Marathon

Your Christian Journey Is Not A Sprint, It Is A Marathon

It doesn't matter if you walk for a while. It doesn't matter if you stop for water. It doesn't matter if you run out of breath for a hot second. It doesn't matter if you jog. What matters is you finish the race.

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I, much like a lot of other, people go through seasons. Seasons of worry, anxiety, stress, wonder, doubt and worst of all self-destruction. Maybe, your seasons are not the same as my seasons but I can tell you that you too go through seasons.

Seasonal changes are hard when you identify as a Christian and even more so when you are a member of a church. Why? Well yes, there are a select few people that pray for you through those seasons and send you encouraging words here and there. But, there are also people that watch as you go through these seasons and judge you.

You see, from your perspective at that moment it may look and feel like you are standing at the starting line of a race and everyone just took off running. It may look like they are sprinting full force ahead and there is no way you can catch up. The good news is, everyone is a winner at this race so you don't have to catch up or be where they are. This is your relationship with God we are talking about. Stop trying to be the Christian that Susan looks like she is when she is feeding the homeless on Saturday's.

It doesn't matter if you walk for a while. It doesn't matter if you stop for water. It doesn't matter if you run out of breath for a hot second. It doesn't matter if you jog. What matters is you finish the race. You get to the end of your life when you are old and God is calling you home. You get to stand before God and look him in the face as he says "well done, my good and faithful servant."

It was spoken to me during a Sunday sermon that Marathon runners hit a few walls when running marathons. Strength walls, mental walls, and physical walls. Sometimes our faith can hit walls and that is OK. The important part here is you recover from it and keep running the race.

I was the girl and maybe you're the guy or girl that can relate to this. I was the girl that never really took her faith seriously, never really had an intimate relationship with the Lord, and to be honest, never really followed through with living according to the Bible. The reason is, I was comparing where I was in the race to where everyone else was in the race. That left me disappointed, hopeless that I would ever win, and most importantly never full and always empty because I exhausted myself trying to have the faith everyone else had.

Recently, I looked at myself standing at the starting line. So many people in my life have already started running. They are way ahead of me. But, I looked at myself standing there and said, "no I am not going to stand here, I am going to move." I didn't tell myself to sprint and try to catch up with my friends and family. I didn't yell at them "slow down" and try and hinder them in their race. I simply, finally, had a goal in mind. I realized I wanted a real relationship with God. I wanted an intimate relationship with God. But, I was not going to exhaust myself trying to speed up the process of that by sprinting full force trying to get to where everyone else was.

So, I started walking, then jogging, and then running. I am still not caught up to some people, I passed a few along the way. But, I know that the finish line is waiting for me and that what is on the other side of it is beautiful. And now, I know I can take my time and really grow and stay healthy during the race.

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision — you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it." — Philippians 3:14 (The Message)

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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I Prayed To God For Growth, And He Surrounded Me With Chaos — Which Is Exactly What I Needed

The chaos is what strengthened me.

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At the beginning of the year, I prayed to God and asked Him to make this year one of extreme growth for me. I wanted to be surrounded by peace and love, and I knew I couldn't do that without God's help.

Since then, I have truly learned how God actually works in our lives, because I began to find myself in some of the toughest situations of my life. It seemed like I was surrounded by complete chaos, but those situations truly did make me stronger in the end.

The truth is, God doesn't give us exactly what we ask for. That would be too easy. Instead, He surrounds us with situations that will allow us to seek out what we need on our own. He guides us and walks alongside us, but He can't do all of the work for us.

For example, if we are looking for patience, He won't just give it to us, He will put us in situations that will allow us to exercise patience on our own. Likewise, if we are looking for growth, he will put us in situations that will strengthen us. This way, we are active in our mission to find what we are looking for.

So, when I asked God for growth, my whole world seemed to collapse for a little while. He started to take away those people that would hinder my journey and began to surround me with new ones that would support and love me the way that I needed to be.

It was tough at first, but I can already say, only halfway through the year, that it's been worth it. All of my struggles and time spent questioning God have been exactly what He needed from me to help give me the strength I was in search of. It may have been tough, but I know that those experiences were exactly what I needed to grow.

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