I have a calendar where I write down my training plan for each month. I write what I hope to accomplish and what I did accomplish toward that goal. It helps me to get my head around what I need to do, and to make forward progress toward a goal (race). One thing I learned this year was that I couldn’t just wing a half marathon. I had to train for it. I learned that lesson in October during a half marathon where I had slacked over the summer on the training, and I wasn’t prepared for the distance. (It was a physically painful lesson.) Because of that experience, I have a deep and serious respect for training.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.James 1:2-8, NIV
While I can plan what races I want to run and create a training plan to support them, I don’t always know what the day holds in other regards. I don’t always get a warning of conflict, disappointment, loss, or challenge awaiting me. And I tend to lose sight of the purpose and point when I fail to look at life through a kingdom lens. These verses in James redirect my focus. They reset my perspective. And because I tend to relate everything to running, I get it. God is training me. He is growing me so that I may be mature and complete. Not only that, but God is always with me, always ready and willing to give me wisdom–generously!–because he wants me to finish strong–it’s for his glory! God knows what’s ahead, and he’s preparing me. But if I go through my days failing to recognize this training, I can easily let my thoughts or emotions take control instead of my faith.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.James 1:19-22, NIV
Father God, I am grateful for your word. All the time. I’m grateful that when I come near to you, you are near to me. So tender. So willing. So loving. Help me to keep a kingdom focus. Help me to mature in my walk with you, for your glory.