1 Corinthians 9: 24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

We have all heard and probably used at some point, “when the going get’s tough, the tough get going”. Getting started is hard, but persisting without exception is even harder. Many times its easier to focus on just getting through, instead of getting better. But getting better is always the intention of the day in and day out focused effort to win the prize we have set out for. We were not created to go through life, but grow through life. We can never settle for where we are, what we have done or what we know. Growing through the journey to becoming the best version of yourself is the best price we can get. But just keep in mind, you will go through some stuff to get to the prize, nothing great comes without a fight.

Persevering for excellence will take grit and passion. Grit is that never quit mentality of no matter what comes against you and how hard it gets, you will not quit. Passion flows out of the heart’s desire…how bad you really want it and how hard will you work to get it. But it all comes down to the “it”, the prize. When you know the prize you’re after and you want it bad enough, it’s amazing what we can do.

Our boys always knew they wanted to play football at the next level. When they were little, we would attend Texas longhorn football games and fuel the vision of what they would feel and look like. We had all 3 of our boys make vision boards as they were growing up displaying their dreams to help encourage big vision. We signed them up for extra training and football camps to always be working on getting better. They would watch Youtube videos of some of their favorite players, like Berry Sanders and Emmet Smith over and over again to study their moves and vision themselves making them. They paid attention to their eating habits and nutritional needs to grow bigger and stronger. They understood that they had to do some things that others were not willing to do and they also had to say no to some things that many were saying yes to. They understood very early that they were not living for the day but for the future, the prize of playing college football and possibility of a professional ball if the Lord willed it. This lifetime of persistent discipline came down to the vision of the prize. It’s amazing what a prize worth going for, can get you to do.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, As Paul was teaching on persevering in the race for eternity, he was making a point by speaking of running to win. Paul was helping us understand the importance of the mindset it takes to have the endurance to win the race, or win the prize. We may feel like quitting, but instead, decide to stay true to the commitment by staying focused and encouraged to give it all you have and finish strong. We will all have our weary moments, but the key is not staying there. Feelings are an emotion, not a commitment. We all have them and we can all control them. We, as parents must encourage our children to persevere with confidence, with an “all in” decision. Remind them to go through every daily discipline to get better. It’s always about seeing the end from the beginning, staying the course, and finishing the race. The athlete which perseveres and keeps their eye on the prize will prevail.

Diane McDaniel

Author Diane McDaniel

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