OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of my most favorite words when I am working out are…. “from 5,4,3,2,1 and that is it!!!!! ” It is music to my ears to hear that the challenge is over and I have succeeded one more time. Not only is it magical at the end of the workout, it is amazing in the middle when a particularly sweat/pain inducing set is almost over. Time running out gets me through.

It is funny how much I like to count down the seconds until it is over. One would think that by doing this I demonstrate that I am not a fan of working out or a good challenge. Au contraire…I love it more than most things in life. Some days I love it more than others, yet for the most part it is ingrained into my soul.

The other day I noticed something that was not my favorite to see. I realized that when I know the amount of time left, sometimes I let up at the end of a set and don’t finish as strong as I could have. I feel little justifications in my mind and that is not acceptable to me, yet they are there…taunting me.

As I thought about this on a deeper level I began to realize that there is a good reason why Heavenly Father does not put a timer out there for our little challenging journeys (as much as I wish He would so I would be ready for the magical 5,4,3,2,1 and done).

I imagine if I knew when we would be near the end of this particular path I may have a tendency to let up on my diligence. My faith would not be complete and I would never know how much I actually have to give. My heart would not continue to seek His face and reach for my Savior’s outstretched hand if the end was right where I could see it.

There are times in our lives when we are asked to sprint until we just can’t go anymore. These are things that last for a brief moment (as per our time reckoning…His brief moments are a whole lot longer than ours), we learn from them and move on.

file000478575840Then there are the marathons that test our endurance, diligence, understanding and belief systems to the very core. There is rarely a time limit on these experiences with each day bringing a new set of learning opportunities. Each and every part of who we are is tested and defined.

I have looked for the finish line for our marathon each and every day and yet it is still nowhere to be seen. As I have thought about this principle of countdown, I imagine that I will never see the finish line until I have crossed it. It is supposed to be this way, so I will run as hard as I can.

Each day we have seen miracles that show us we have not been abandoned on this path. There is no doubt every prayer has been heard and either answered or is in the process of being answered. As with every challenging workout I have done, there are days when strength comes easy and faith is in rich supply; then there are days when it is all I can do to pick myself up to even kneel.

At the end of the day, He wants us to keep moving forward, drawing ourselves closer to Him. He wants us to see the way that His Son lived so that we can be strong here. He generously gives us the power we need to do all of this. I think if we spent our whole lives counting down, we would miss the exhilaration of finishing strong.

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