Several years ago in an attempt to better my health and lose weight, I started running. It’s actually kind of a funny story. I began working at a company that required physical activity as part of every job description and so when I began in June, I started the journey of getting healthy. In July I decided I wanted to start running and then in August signed up to run the Mississippi Blues Half-Marathon. I figured if I was going to it, I should do it all the way, right?!? Little did I know that running would literally change my life. It changed my health, it changed my determination and over the years it changed my perspective on a lot of things that we face in our lifetime. Races became addicting to me. The endurance required, the competition involved, all of it flipped a switch in my mind and made me determined to do well. It’s also what gave me the desire to pursue exercise certifications and encourage others on their fitness journey.

Life is a lot like running, especially running a race. Hebrews 12:1 even says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Each of us are in a race called LIFE and it can be truly challenging at times to run. We encounter uphill battles, times that we are running alone and weather that makes us wonder if we are going to make it back to the finish line. From not wearing the right clothes to not being fueled correctly, races can be hard! But, there’s something about getting closer to the finish line that makes you run harder, faster, more determined to finish well. And I don’t know about you, but I want to finish my race well.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to dive into some racing logistics with you and share with you the importance of the little things, because so often those are the big things. I hope you’ll stick around and be encouraged 🙂

Racing Rule #1: Stay Hydrated

The spring/summer season is finally upon us and where I live in Central Mississippi, summers can be brutal. It’s common for it to be 100 degrees with 100% humidity in the hottest part of the summer. And for someone who thrives on being outdoors, it is necessary for me to always have a glass of water close by. But did you know that hydration is not just a day to day thing? It’s a cumulative process. What you do today to stay hydrated will affect you tomorrow. What you do tomorrow will affect you the next day and so on. Staying hydrated is so vitally important for your physical well-being. In a mild form, dehydration can cause dizziness, muscle cramps, headaches and loss of focus. Our bodies were made to need water. It’s what keeps you alive and functioning properly. It’s what satisfies your thirst and gives you strength. And spiritually, it’s no different. Our souls thirst for something to satisfy us. And of all the options out there that claim to quench thirst, there is nothing that will satisfy besides the Living Water that Jesus offers. And just as we have to stay physically hydrated every day, we have to stay spiritually hydrated every day. I love how Heidi St. John says it in her book, Becoming MomStrong:

“Think about it. Just one day without water leads to dehydration. Well, our souls are no different. That’s why we can’t afford to go a single day without connecting with the Lord, either through His Word or in prayer. Doing so puts us at risk for spiritual dehydration….Do you want to run and not grow weary? (Isaiah 40:31) Drink from the living water! We were born to thirst for our Creator. Without coming to Him daily, we’ll eventually find ourselves weary, weak and discouraged.”

Weary. Weak. Discouraged. Is that where you are? I know I sometimes am. Especially right now when life as we know it has come to an abrupt halt. But then I have to ask myself, what am I drinking? Am I drinking from THE Source or am I reaching for something else to satisfy me? There are a lot of options out there that claim to be good sources of hydration. And many of those things are good things.  But often they are filled with extra calories, extra sugars, extra sodium that for many of us is not necessary. It’s not that the drink in and of itself is bad, in fact, in certain circumstances, it is what you need, but the majority of the time, your body doesn’t need that extra stuff. It needs water. Teaching children’s church, serving on the hospitality committee, Bible Journaling, those things are not bad, but when you start to get thirsty, is that what you are reaching for to satisfy you? Is that what you are using to quench the desires of your spirit? If it is, I say, put the lid back on your cup and re-evaluate your drink.

Did you also know that when you begin to feel thirst that you are already dehydrated? Oh, yikes. Part of staying hydrated means giving your body what it needs before it feels like it needs it. It means giving it a steady, constant source of water so that it doesn’t begin to shut down. It means making the time and the effort to grab a glass of water.  And once you get behind, it’s hard to catch up. But races don’t stop. Life doesn’t stop. We have to continuously hydrate ourselves with the word of God so that when the hard times do come, we are ready, we are strong, we can keep on climbing that hill because we are filled with necessary nutrients that our body needs. If we get sidelined because of dehydration, we are a sitting target for the Enemy to get ahead. Read your Bible. Spend time in prayer. Connect with other believers who can encourage and uplift you. Whatever it takes – GET. IN. THE. WORD and make sure that your spirit stays hydrated.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” John 4:13-14

So when that deep thirst starts to hit you, what are you reaching for? Are you reaching for the sports drinks that offer empty promises? Are you feeling weak and discouraged with the results? Reach for the pure source of hydration, the living water that will satisfy every cell within your body. Drink it every day and then you will begin to experience the stamina you need to run and not grow weary.  

Have a great Easter weekend, friends!
Jennifer

Crafty Details
I started this page with a watercolor background in various shades of blues and purple from the Prima Marketing set: Pastels. I then used Texture Tiles 1 to add some dimension. I stamped the jar from Life and Lemons and added a water line with my micron pen. I then used Love Ya Like A Sister alpha to stamp the words “stay hydrated” at the bottom. I finished off the page with the above quote from Heidi St. John, a bow clip and date stamp.

Running the Race Series:
Part 1: Stay Hydrated (currently reading)
Part 2: Wear the Right Clothes
Part 3: Train Well
Part 4: Run With Endurance

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