Welcome back, friends! I’m so excited to be back with you today for part 2 of my Running the Race series. If you missed part 1, I encourage you to go read it here. Today, we’re going to look at tip #2: Wear the Right Clothes.

I despise shopping for clothes. DES-PISE it. But when I started running, one of the earliest lessons I learned was how important the right clothing was. Were my shoes supportive enough for the impact? Were my arms free to move? Did I wear enough or too many layers? Having the right clothing could easily make or break even the shortest run. As Christians, the way that we are dressed and present ourselves to others can make or break our testimony. The way that we suit up every morning will define how well we are equipped for the battles that we will face. So are you wearing the right clothes? Let’s look at what scripture says.

Your Shoes
I was only a few weeks into running when I started experiencing shin splints. It hurt. It was discouraging. It made me completely re-evaluate how much I really wanted to run. But then someone told me to go to a specialty shoe store and get fitted for shoes. The people there would evaluate my feet and my stride and put me in a pair of shoes that were not only designed for running, but designed for my foot type. Almost instantly, the pain was gone. My feet were supported and I was able to move pain free. The foundation that I had on my feet laid the groundwork for my training. Having a solid, supported foundation under me is what me stronger, more able to complete the task ahead of me.

The foundation of our spiritual race starts with our feet. Are we standing on a firm foundation? Are we rooted and grounded in the Word of God? Do we use His words to solidify us when the ground gets shaky? Are His words tucked away deeply in our souls so that we have the solid support we need when the impact starts? A runner’s shoes are designed for repetitive stress. It is vitally important that whatever is taking the brunt of that stress is able to withhold it for an extended period of time. Jesus spoke about this in Luke 6 when he told the story of two men: one who built His house on the rock and the other who built his house on the sand. The one whose house was built on the rock was able to withstand the storm. When the rain came and the floodwaters rose, the one whose foundation was firm stood strong, but the other was washed away. Our foundation matters. Our shoes matter. What we choose to take the impact of our race matters. As we are running through life, we are going to encounter battles, uphill struggles and treacherous terrain. The support that we have under our feet is going to determine if we will make it through the struggle. The Word of God is strong. It is solid. It is secure. And when we use it as our foundation, we can know beyond a doubt that what we have chosen is solid and secure. We know that we can place our hope and our trust in Him, no matter what the course looks like. Christ and His Word is the support system that we must put on our feet every morning when our feet hit the floor.

Your Outer Garments
Once your shoes are chosen and are ready for you each day, the next decision to make is what clothes to put on.

I don’t know about you, but I hate the cold. Seriously, I would rather it be 100 degrees than 30, and when I signed up to run the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon it was torture knowing that it was taking place in one of the first weeks of January. No, there was no snow or ice (we don’t get that much down here, praise the Lord!) but it was still cold. And I didn’t like it. I was so tempted to wear 2-3 layers just because it was going to be cold and still dark at the starting line.  But the wisdom of the experienced runners came to my rescue again when I was told to dress like it was 20 degrees warmer than it really was. Because the fact of the matter is this: when you start to run, things are going to heat up. And if you are wearing too many layers, you are going to want to get rid of them. That extra clothing can be like baggage. It weighs you down and ties up energy that you need to run well. And likewise, clothes that don’t fit well are like baggage. It’s so frustrating to be wearing things that are either too loose or too tight and that you are constantly trying to adjust.  I learned very quickly that just because it looks cute in the store or on someone else, does not mean that it is practical for racing.

The author of Hebrews 12 addressed this exact thing when he said to lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely in order to run well. When your hands are full of baggage, they are bound; they are chained to things that are ultimately going to distract you from meeting your goal. When you are running and are trying to sport the most popular ideas – making more money, climbing the ladder at work, being a Pinterest-perfect mom, you are going to waste valuable time and energy carrying the weight of those things and trying to prove your athleticism to everyone else. But guess what? Christ didn’t call us to fit in. Christ didn’t call us to be “of the world”. He called us to be holy. To be different. To be more like Him. Why?  So that we could point others to Him!  Lay aside those weights and focus on what matters: good form, controlled breathing and consistent stride. Throw aside those things that are hindering you and focus on following the ultimate pacer: Jesus.  Learn what it feels like to run free. Learn what it feels like to run after Christ. Don’t try to get ahead – stay in stride right behind Him. Follow Him. He knows the course. He knows what things are up ahead and the things that you will face. Trust that He is going to lead you in the direction that you need to go and don’t challenge that (talking to myself, here!). Point others to Him by the way you choose to clothe yourself. It’s all about freedom!   

So, friends, when you wake up in the morning choose to clothe yourself with strength and dignity. Put on the belt of truth and grab a bottle of the living Water. Put on your shoes of readiness and get ready to run. Every day is a new day, a new course, a new chance to show the world what the Christian life is like. Dress well and run that race. We’re almost to the finish line!

Have a great weekend!
Jennifer

Crafty Details
I started this page with some pink and yellow watercolors on the bottom of the page. I then used a stencil and Picked Raspberrry Distress Oxide to add some polka dots to the background. On cardstock, I stamped out a girl from Girl Power and colored her with my Prismacolor pencils. On the same piece of cardstock I stamped the letters for “strength” and “dignity” with Print Blocks Alpha and then cut them out. The remaining words are stamped directly onto the page using Bitty Minnie Alpha. I then glued all the pieces down and added a date stamp and prayer at the top.

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

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