A race (like prayer) takes self-discipline.

by Lindsey Scheckelhof

Looking back on training for the Mini-Marathon and a few 5k’s before that, I notice that there were a lot of ups; such as reaching goals and running 13.1 miles for the first time as well  downs; such as sore knees and blisters. There were a lot of times I didn’t want to run but the one virtue that got me out there and running is self-discipline. Reflecting on this virtue I noticed that discipline is a vital part of our lives and is woven through the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of them. A race takes discipline to train for and achieve. Getting up to run in the morning, encouraging yourself to run that one more mile and making time in your busy day to run all are evidence of this self-discipline The Lord gave us. In a lot of ways this training for the race symbolizes our discernment journey.

Our training for a race requires discipline through emotional and physical stress, as well as our discernment journeys for our big “V” Vocation and our little “v” vocations (career change, becoming a part of a Church ministry, being moved to another parish). The race is one way the Lord is helping me grow in discipline so that I may better discern my Vocation through the little decisions and through patience. The Lord is preparing me for the discipline I need when living my future Vocation when he tests my discipline every day in training as well as in my prayer life and schooling or work.

Prayer in any stage of life, before or during a Vocation, takes the virtue of self discipline to stay steadfast in times of spiritual dryness. That spiritual desolation can manifest itself through the lack of desire to enter prayer, but our self-discipline will remind us that we need to enter into prayer out of our commitment to Him. Through discipline and other virtues, we are able to say “Yes” to The Lord everyday through the little things. Whether that may be going to pray when we do not feel like it, standing up for the Faith when we feel alone, choosing to share Christ with others through our lives, or choosing to say no to temptation, we are choosing The Lord.

When we do not have that self-discipline to make prayer a habit, temptation and sin likes to creep in through the cracks without us knowing it. I have seen this in my own life where frustration, jealousy, being lukewarm, and other temptations sneak up behind me and desire to consume me. We need that connection and continued commitment to building our relationship with Christ to resist temptation and better live out His Will.  With prayer we can better fight against temptation with the Graces given to us. In doing this, we are striving for Holiness.

With this reflection, I found that I lack full discipline and that I need to grow more in this virtue. It is a constant battle that stretches us to our limits so that we may suffer for Christ. Just as a runner strengthen his/her muscles we continue to strengthen our “Striving for Holiness” muscle. A runner must also stretch his/her muscles, just as The Lord will want to stretch us to make us stronger and to trust Him more. May we grow together as we pray that our self-discipline be strengthened through God’s grace and be poured into every aspect of our lives.


Lindsey Scheckelhoff has just graduated from IUPUI with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and will be serving as a FOCUS Missionary starting in the fall. This is her 4th year being involved in the Race For Vocations. She is an identical twin, who loves to dance for hours and sing her favorite tunes.