Last week I shared some reasons why the Lord led me to step away from social-media (Facebook in particular) because my communication online was totally self-centered.
- By focusing only on my own needs instead of others
- By entertaining others and making myself look awesome
- By using online communication to fill my love tank (need for approval)
- By gaining the pity of others when I was having a bad day
After reading these posts it’s easy to think I don’t think people should EVER post anything about themselves online, but that isn’t true.
I love the fact that social-media allows me to share my life experiences with others and believe it’s a good thing. The problem arises when it’s done for self-centered reasons .
So instead of using Facebook as a stage for the “John show”, God desires that my experiences be used to encourage and challenge others. And in a deeper sense point people towards Him.
Yesterday I was able to run a half-marathon at Wrightsville beach after training for about two months. My goal was to finish under two-hours by setting a new PR (personal record)  and knew this would be a good opportunity since the course was flat (not many hills).
While driving to Wrightsville Saturday I was praying about some ministry opportunities when something led me to pray about setting a new PR. While this seemed like a selfish request I stopped in that moment and said “Lord you know how hard I’ve trained for this race, help me achieve the goal of finishing below two-hours if it is your will.”
As the race started I ran with a group of training partners for about three miles to keep myself from going too fast at the beginning. A little bit after mile three some other partners went running past at a slightly faster pace and something in my head said “you need to follow them” so I did.
By the halfway point (6.5 miles) we were about a minute faster than the two-hour goal, and I began preparing myself to push (run faster) at mile ten. That changed at mile eight when a partner pointed out all our miles would have to be under nine minutes (about ten seconds faster than our current pace). So the push started two-miles earlier.
Pushing earlier than expected meant by mile eleven I was hurting pretty bad so I’m extremely grateful for a running mentor (training group leader) who just happened to be running by at that moment. His encouragement, and an opportunity to run with a friend gave me the strength needed to finish mile eleven under nine minutes.
The last mile of any race is always a mental game (going on even though it hurts) so chasing two training partners (allowing them to get in front of you, but not too far ahead) gave me the motivation needed to finish strong.
The end result? one hour-fifty nine minutes, smashing my old record by five minutes. And most importantly I FINALLY broke two-hours!
Taking a picture with a finishers medal in my hand it would be easy to tell everyone “I ran a PR!” but to be honest I didn’t have a whole lot to do with it.
- The Lord helped me keep a slower pace in the first three miles
- The Lord brought some training partners who helped run a faster pace after mile three
- He led me to start pushing at mile eight instead of mile ten
- He provided a mentor for encouragement in mile eleven
- And He allowed me to finish the half-marathon with friends
If any of those things hadn’t taken place I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my goal.
It’s easy to use the awesome experiences of life to fill our desire for acceptance with likes and comments. But if we set aside our own desires, those experiences can be opportunities to worship a God who graciously gives us what we need to accomplish our goals.