Some thoughts as I review my last race and the past several months....
As I sit here with hopes and dreams in my heart , I realize that I’m allowing too many thoughts to possess my mind these days. I don’t know that any of them are necessarily bad things, but each one takes away from another. This goes on (if left unchecked) until you are left with all these great things -none of which get done very well, because you just can’t focus on one thing.
This summer, I trained for my 5th marathon with hopes to reach what has been an elusive goal of mine as far as finish time. Training was one of those things mentioned above in the slew of great things and ideas. Honestly, I missed more mid-week runs than I care to admit and failed to train for the speeds that I had in mind. I did my long runs, but it was a constant juggling act to include them while still having fun and enjoying the process. At some point, I tried to forget about a time or pace and just get it done.
Hmmm…”just get it done”. Is there quality in that when we make that statement about anything? Shouldn’t we be striving for the best? What is the best? And, by whose standards really?
I have been reflecting over the past several days on life - personal, work and running/training. I have been noticing in each of these areas that I am not committing 100% of myself to any of them. I’m constantly cramming something else in until I become so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start…and, nothing really gets done well. It is true of my work. It is true of my relationships. It is true of my housework and renovation projects. And, it was true of my training.
Yes, I went in injured when I probably should have taken a step back. I allowed the excitement of a new exciting destination to lead me into registering. To be transparent, I had the first twinges of this injury last year when I finished my marathon and really couldn't fathom that it wouldn't be gone by this fall. I had high hopes in my head of the training and steps I would take. Basically, I donned my “I am Superwoman and can do anything” cape. As I trained, the pain wasn't unbearable so I continued to make half hearted attempts to train but did not address the injury head on, somehow thinking the injury would just morph itself away and I’d have some semblance of glory.
That thought is really very convicting as I think about it. Glory? Is that why I do this?
Glory really isn’t mine to proclaim whenever I have a win at anything in my life. It was my Jesus that stands beside me and allows them to happen. Don't get me wrong, I never stopped believing in God or trusting in him for the big stuff. BUT, I had somehow made life so busy that I didn’t hear his whispers. I didn’t hear him gently telling me to back off. And, I wasn't really seeking him heavily either.
Towards the end of the training cycle, it became evident that the injury was reminding me that it was here to stay (along with the additional injures that decided to join the party), which left me knowing that I was more distant than I had thought. I began to make the race about God. I bought a shirt for the race that reminded me of that and began to focus on music that spoke to my heart and connected me more to Him. Did I do this to somehow appease God so I could meet my goal? No...I did it because I recognized that it didn't matter any more. The time was nothing. And, as usual it was all about faith and trust.
(me, my BRF Liz, and her hubby Robert)
During the race, I began feeling pain that was nearly unbearable. I heard him whisper at that point..."Back off." I did not heed the whisper, as I didn't really want to admit what I felt was defeat so early in the race. I finally relinquished at mile 13, totally feeling defeated and unsure of how this was going to play out. I considered quitting and just calling it a day, sensing that I was being repaid for my stupidity. But, I could feel myself being pushed to continue in whatever capacity I could - that equated to a lot of walking and many teary phone calls to attempt to compose myself. Long story short, I was all alone with my thoughts for many miles. The feeling of wanting to quit came up many times. And, in many ways I kept getting the message to push forward in whatever way and however slowly I could. Once I got over my pity party of one, I started considering my shirt and my ministry and somehow managed to run/walk to the end of what was the most rough, painful and humbling race that I have ever had the blessing to compete in.
(painful and teary finish)
Am I sorry I ran the race? No. Do I wish I had treated it differently from the beginning? Yes. But, I still firmly believe that there is ministry in running. I believe (or want to believe) that my “Through Christ” shirt may have helped some others struggling. If I could be just a glimmer of Jesus to someone out there on the course, it was all worth it.
Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."
This race and its humbling reminder does have me reassessing my life in all areas right now. I don't want to live my faith life lukewarm or by just getting it done. I want to live with purpose - wholeheartedly. [Funny how God works. This was the lesson at my church about 3 weeks ago.] I cannot do that on my own and will likely continue to struggle and need reminded of this. I would far rather be overwhelmed by Jesus than overwhelmed with all the things I add into my life that overshadow him.
Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about the things we cannot see."