In college, I ran my first 5K. I trained for months, but still wasn’t confident that I would be able to finish.
On race day, my adrenaline was pumping, my playlist ready, and my legs warm. I ran hard and felt great, however somewhere around the 2.5-mile mark, (from 5K to 2.5 mile mark gets a little confusing…a little after the halfway mark?) I started to get bored. Not wanting to disappoint my friends who were cheering me on or squander the hours that I had spent training, I endured. Once I could see the finish line I knew I had entered the homestretch . I got a sudden burst of energy, and sprinted to the end. I was elated, proud, and grateful that I did not quit.
I’ve found that in life, I also get a burst of energy when I can see the “finish line.” I am project-oriented. I like to work hard, knowing there will be a time when I am finished and I can look back and appreciate what I’ve done. It’s satisfying and fulfilling. Catching sight of the finish line gets me pumped.
Knowing that I have entered the homestretch gives me the energy to endure.
Seven months ago, I accepted a position as a full-time worship leader at a small church. This meant I had to move more than 1200 miles away from the only life I’ve known along the beautiful Jersey shore to a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. To help with living expenses, I also became a Residence Director for students attending Ocean’s Edge School of Worship.
Before moving here, I had mixed feelings of anxiety and excitement. I never imagined the enduring homesickness, nor did I anticipate the difficult adjustment period. During the first two months, I cried enough tears to fill an ocean. I felt like I had a gaping hole in my heart where all of the comforts of home used to reside. Every other time I’ve been away from home, I knew it was temporary. This time, it wasn’t
There is no finish line. There is no homestretch .
There were times I wanted to just throw in the towel, and return home where I was comfortable, where things were easy. The funny thing is…
God doesn’t always want us to be comfortable and live life easily.
He wants us to endure. He wants to stretch us, grow us, and mold us into a more accurate reflection of His Son. He wants to use us to bring glory to Himself. He even told us that we will encounter troubles in this world (John 16:33). But, He also said that in Jesus, we can find peace.
I have a peace, knowing that He has called me here. So I have persisted in prayer. I have fasted. I have cried out to my Father, knowing that He is Sovereign. I constantly reaffirm my trust in Him. In return, He has been my Companion on this part of my journey.
Realizing that it may be a while until I see the finish line of this particular season in my life, I have shifted my perspective. Instead of only looking towards the homestretch I have created mile markers for the journey. I’ve done this by:
- Creating goals within my ministry
- Planning trips to see my family when possible
- Inviting friends to visit
- Taking a class or picking up a new hobby
- Working towards and celebrating my small victories, both personally and professionally
These mini homestretches are giving me the energy to endure.
No matter what you are enduring right now, let me encourage you. Do not give up. Set goals with deadlines. Step out of your comfort zone to try new things. Put an activity on the calendar that you can look forward to. These mile markers will allow you to endure.
And, of course, don’t forget to welcome the Holy Spirit into your situation. He will give you the endurance you need to finish well,
…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience (Colossians 1:10-11).
Was there a time when you felt like giving up, but you’re glad you didn’t?