Who will be your Running Partner this Year?

so the adventure begins pen paper

Hello, 2022. Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? As I sit here writing this on the tail end of 2021, my mind is spinning at all that has happened in one year. Isn’t wild how when we are in the day-to-day, the days can seem so long and then suddenly weeks turn into months and you are back at Dec 31st, reflecting again at all that has happened in one year. The days go slow but the years seem to go fast. A year of blessings, change, loss, new life, friendship, conflict, hurt, encounter, and discovery of self– amazing all of those things can go on in the span of a year. 

Each year right around this time I get the overwhelming urge that this year, I will not just run a half marathon, but I will buckle down and run a full marathon. It always feels good as I jot it down and say this year is the year. I typically look up various marathons I could sign up for, some years I buy a marathon book or even download a new running podcast. On day two of the new year, I typically wake up ready to be the next Eliud Kipchoge until I hit mile 5 and start contemplating the true distance of 26.2 miles. The reality is that many more brisk morning runs will have to occur for me to accomplish my goal that seems so attainable in my overzealous imagination. 

As I look down at my goals and resolutions for the next 365 days that lie before me, I now publicly state that yet again “run a marathon” falls on the list. Maybe publicly announcing it will fuel both my drive and undeniable pride to get it done this year… time will tell. 

I reflect on 2021 and think about the many goals of mine that have become “roll-over goals” – ones that never seem to be accomplished within the year. Yours may not be a marathon, but take some time and identify the goals that stay on your list year to year. The reality is I think I often miss the pace of the year, I think many of us do. We take another sip of our coffee peering down at our lists with excitement as we think about all we will do and be in 2022. We start the year in a sprint, a pace of fervor and unmatched speed. We start strong yet the pace ends up being unsustainable. We falter. We end up looking down at the same goal the next year. We forget that a year is not a sprint. 

Yes, a year in time can seem like a blink of an eye, but pause and think about all that happened this past year for you. Think about the blessings, the challenges, the change, the answered prayers, and the dreams unfolding. There is a lot in the in-between, a lot in the day-to-day. A year is not a sprint, therefore; all our resolutions can not be thrown down and fought for. Instead, they must be paced and chosen in the little mundane moments that make up a year. Just like choosing to run a marathon. The power of the goal is not in the January 1st sprint but in the daily act of getting up that extra hour early to move and challenge one’s body to do something you’ve always desired. 

Many of the running books I’ve skimmed, at the start of the year, mention the power of running with a companion. Someone to encourage you, hold you accountable, remind you of your “why” giving purpose to some of the pain. I can’t help but think about Jesus, the running companion of our lives. The one who blesses us with the ability to move, to breathe, to run. We have all arrived at the start of a new race, a new year. I ask you, as I ask myself,  who is running alongside you this year? Who will you let inspire, direct, and challenge you this year?

Will your goals reflect the voices of the world or the voice of the Prince of Peace? Is it time to let go of the old habits, or the old running shoes not allowing you to run the good race (2 Timothy 4:7)? 

As we all start this new year, it is easy to follow the pace of the world. There is chaos on every screen, and corner. But that is not the voice of your running partner. Jesus is “the Wonder-counselor, God- Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:5). Come to know each of these Characteristics of God this year. Ask Him to run alongside you, ask for the grace to receive His encouragement in the moments of desolation, to give thanks to the miracles He may perform, and to cling to Jesus as our one true peace. 

As you line up on the starting line of 2022 with your goals and resolutions tucked in your pocket I challenge you to pause. I challenge you to pull out the paper and peer down upon your goals with Jesus. Ask Him, the one who so deeply loves you just as you are today, not as you think you will be after the goals on the page are accomplished, to lead you this year. Ask Him, to pace you, to direct your goals to be oriented to God, and to recognize your running partner’s presence in all you do. 

For all that is to come in 2022, God is unchanging– He is steady, consistent, and fiercely loyal. He truly is the best running partner we could ever ask for. So ready, set, run!

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