{By Samantha Roose}

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I used to be the baker, bookworm princess to whom discomfort equaled pain.  Then I decided to train for a Triathlon.  Endurance.  Discomfort.  Tears.  Those three words pretty much summed up my first years of training.  Exercising was so difficult for me when I started my first Triathlon I needed the strength of God to finish.  I remember chanting to myself the last 1 ½ mile of my first race, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I can do…”   Looking back at where I started and realizing where I am today is almost two completely different people.  I am still Samantha Roose, compassionate, love to bake, read, and dress up, but I am willing to look challenge and discomfort in the face.

I have learned to persevere.

Persevering is hard.  Persevering takes courage and self-discipline.  Persevering will benefit you physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I thought I was learning to finish 5 miles or finish a grueling race but in reality I was learning how to be like Paul and push through when it was hard and I wanted to be done.  Today I can see perseverance blessing multiple areas of my life.  It is hard and uncomfortable to love my siblings at times—persevere.  Throbbing feet, dripping face, heaving chest make me want to stop running—persevere.  “Writers block” threatens to turn in my half written essay—persevere.  Often, I don’t understand what God is doing with my life—persevere.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 

Paul did not finish an easy, comfortable, luxurious race.  He finished a race full of slander, imprisonment, and floggings.  But he persevered because he knew not only was there a crown awaiting him when he finished, but there are crowns for all who choose to believe.  To see everyone wearing this crown was one of Paul’s greatest desires, therefore he persevered.

Not only is learning how to persevere important to an athlete, but it’s also important for a child of God.  Christ has called all of us to proclaim the gospel and the glory of His name.  Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes we have to wait, sometimes we don’t understand and nothing seems to be happening.  If we don’t know how to persevere how will we ever finish?  With Paul I encourage you, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7-8).”

Perseverance in godliness is far more valuable than physical training but like me you may need to become an athlete to learn how to persevere.