“How you practice is how you play.”

Back in the day (I won’t say how many) that’s what my high school coach used to say. It was all about motivating the team to practice hard so we would play well.

If you read High Five here on the blog a few months back, you know that I signed up to run my first marathon. Well, I did it. Ran the marathon. Got the shirt. Got the finisher’s medal. I even got a “26.2” tattoo on my foot to commemorate the miles I ran on that Sunday morning in L.A.

Looking back, I’m glad I did it. Crossing the finish line was big deal for me, but you know what? The momentum of finishing a hard thing then propels me to keep moving through a hard thing now.

It reminds me that long and hard is totally doable and can even, dare I say it, be joyful. It reminds me why training is so valuable.

I stepped up my running game in October and followed a plan. I downloaded a marathon training schedule and ran the miles each week. Let me tell you, those runs were hard. They weren’t always convenient. I ran alone most of the time. I was squeezing countless hours of running into my already full schedule, but they say you make time for what’s important—and to me, finishing was important. So yeah…sacrifices.

I needed to discipline my body and my mind.

Instead of my much-loved coffee, I hydrated with water. Instead of food that made me happy I chose food that made me healthy. In order to succeed I had to prepare for the race I wasn’t yet in.

Running alone gave me plenty of time to think about how this relates to life. I thought about being in God’s Word every day, how it takes discipline but helps us store up for the storms. I thought about worship—how it prepares our heart and sets our mind so that even when we can’t see any good, we’re reminded that HE is good. I thought about when we join a small group and connect with other believers, we have someone to call when the bottom drops out.

Let me tell you, those lessons have come to life.

I’ve heard Pastor Greg say that going into a storm isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” so now is the time to store up. Well friends, that’s true. We’re in the storm now, aren’t we? It’s never too late to start preparing today for tomorrow.

You may not feel as disciplined as you need to be, but keep practicing. Keep storing up. You will make it and the reward will be great. You’ll have an eternal crown, not just a finisher’s medal!


“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)