Recently I attended a funeral held for a dear woman that I had only known for a few years. But in that short period of time she made a huge impact on my life personally and professionally. This amazing woman of God had touched so many lives that at her funeral it appeared to be at least a thousand people in attendance. It was literally standing room only. I was inspired by the diverse crowd of all races, young and old, democrat and republican, all sitting together celebrating her life. This beautiful woman of 74 years young, left a positive and lasting legacy not just for her family, but at the local, state, and even national level. She was extremely active in several churches, organizations, and even was the co-founder of a few. Her biography read like a good novel.
I was so honored to witness this celebration of life that I felt compelled to do a Facebook live video (https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.foxworthy.3/videos/1215700165127208/). I had posed the question to all who viewed it "How will you finish the race and make an impact?"
It states in 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (NIV). Often times this scripture is quoted at funerals to encourage those in mourning that the deceased has lived an abundant and impactful life.
If you are unsure on how to run YOUR race and what reward awaits you at the finish line, these 15 tips with Christian scriptures will guide you.
1. Tap into your potential. Everybody has the potential (Philippians 4:13) to do great and amazing things. Ultimately, will you sit on the sidelines and watch life pass you by or will you participate and get in the race? It is hard to make an impact if your time, talent, and gifts are not being utilized to the fullest.
2. Eat right. God blessed us with the nourishment of His word, the bible. It is our daily bread (Luke 11:3) and guides us on how we are supposed to live. In order to fight temptation, one must be rooted in scripture daily.
3. Wear the proper clothing for the race. In order to live a righteous and impactful life, putting on the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18) is necessary. When wearing the armor, you are protected from head to toe, which makes it hard for the enemy's evil spirits to penetrate.
4. Keep your head up and stay focused. Prayer is powerful and is our direct communication to God (1 John 5:14). In order to listen to God's voice and reduce distractions, it will be essential to seek wisdom and discernment (Colossians 1:9-10). Praying for wisdom and discernment will help you navigate through life's trials and tribulations.
5. Stretch. This is God's opportunity to challenge you to go beyond your comfort zone (John 16:33). During this phase of your journey it can be uncomfortable, but worth it in the end. It demonstrates your ability to step out on faith and do God's will, which is to live on purpose as He desires for you.
6. Ensure you have a good coach. I encourage you to find someone who is making a difference and can properly guide you in all the areas of life (Proverbs 27:17). You may need several coaches (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally) and that is ok. It is not a sign of weakness asking for help (Proverbs 17:17).
7. Pep talk. There maybe days to where you feel alone and think the world is against you. This is the opportunity to dig down deep and encourage yourself to not give up and keep going (2 Chronicles 15:7).
8. Know where your cheering section is located. Your cheering section consist of people who genuinely have your back (Proverbs 12:26). That will pray, support, uplift, and push you to be the best you can be. Overall, this is your "A Team." Note: be careful who you invite to be in your cheering section. Not every smiling face is for you. The schemes of the enemy come in many forms. This is why tip #4 is so important.
9. Endurance. You were built for your race. God knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb (Psalms 139:13-16). It requires patience with yourself and others. It is not how fast you run but the impact you make along the way. Just keep moving!
10. Keep a steady pace. By having a steady pace in your race you can last longer. Don't try to be perfect, but be consistent (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
11. Stay in your lane. This tip is very important to understand. When you lose focus and get distracted on how other people are running their race, you run the risk of crossing into their lane. When this happens you can get disqualified (2 Corinthians 10:12) . You are fearfully and wonderfully made, which makes you unique. Embrace who you are and Whom you ultimately belong to. By being authentic, you realize that you no longer have to compete with others or covet what they have. Once you understand this, any evil spirit of jealousy and greed will disappear. By staying in your lane, you are able to walk in your purpose (Ephesians 1:11).
12. Help an injured runner. We are our brother's and sister's keeper (Colossians 4:5-6). This is not meant to say that we enable them through life, but uplift and encourage them. To run past someone in need is not what God intended for us to do. Remember the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you." God made us to be of service to others. Your act of kindness and compassion can speak life into someone (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
13. Overcome the hurdles. You can overcome the obstacles in your race, regardless if they are self-imposed or made by external sources. No matter if you jump over it or go around, obstacles are temporary and can be an opportunity to learn valuable lessons. Just hold on to God's unchanging hand (James 1:12).
14. Passing the baton. The baton is the legacy that you pass down to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). Will you make a positive impact on those around you and leave a legacy of inspiration or will it be filled with dysfunction and negativity (Titus 3:10). This will depend on how you run your race.
15. Leave the track in better condition than what you found it. Make a difference in the world by being a productive citizen of society and in your family. Growth starts from the inside out. So if you are unstable so will your house. If your house is not built on a solid foundation then it may impact the community in which you live. Therefor, be a person that unites and not divides (2 Timothy 4:1-22).
At the end of your race, your reward will be eternal life in heaven. Matthew 25:23 (NIV) "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness.'" As Christians this is what we should hope to hear. Now run Your Race!