Updated: May 20, 2021
Some of the worst advice my dad ever gave me was to sprint an entire 5k race (3.1 miles).
I was in ninth grade and had signed up for the annual Fort Wayne Turkey Trot. Gearing up for race day, my dad pulled me aside and shared this with me:
"You see those kids there, Jordan? Those are college kids on the cross country team. I want you to sprint this entire race and try to keep up with them. That's how you run 5k races."
Taking his advice, I lasted about 500 meters before I had exhausted all of my energy and watched the college kids soar on ahead of me. I ended up going so slow that 8 year olds started to pass me throughout the race.
Thanks, dad... and bless your heart.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
This life is a battlefield. Every aching moment provides an opportunity for us to move forward or hide in the chaos. If we approach each day with a sprinting mentality, we will fail.
I call it Spiritual Adrenaline. We've all felt it before. The moments when our faith and life are dancing on cloud nine. We exert all of our energy into those days and then crash when fun hits the fan (you know what I mean).
This life is a marathon, not a sprint. We must prepare emotionally and Spiritually for the low days and the high ones. It is crucial for us to recognize that our weeks will be filled with hills and valleys—joy and suffering. If we sprint during the times of joy, we will spiritually burnout during the times of suffering.
So what am I insinuating? Don't use up all of your faith for the mountain top and ignore God during the valleys. We must run the race in such a way that glorifies and honors God, and this means staying strong emotionally and Spiritually during the times of hills and valleys.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So if Dan Chitwood ever told you to sprint a 5k, ignore it. Stop sprinting and start living each day intentionally for the King.