In a little more than two weeks I will run my first half-marathon. 13.1 miles. It is a goal I wouldn’t have thought possible just a few months ago.
But the thing with the limits we place on ourselves and the corresponding disbelief that we can meet new goals, is that often it’s simply not true. Even and especially when we have felt defeated in these areas in the past.
The last time I ran consistently was before I was pregnant with my first child. Then it was a couple of miles a couple of times a week. After I had kids, well, there was the issue of having kids to take care of AND the fact that things didn’t feel *quite* the same when I tried to run.
Last June, eight and a half years later, my sister asked if I would run a 5K with her while we were on vacation. Just a little over three months earlier I was in the ICU in a foreign hospital. I wasn’t sure I could do basic life things let alone take up running again. Logically, this was a far-fetched, if not impossible, goal.
But, I love my sister and decided to try.
I walked/ran a couple of miles. I came back delighted that I could run a stretch, probably half a mile. I felt lighter and freer. I felt hope.
A couple of weeks later I ran most of that 5K. My sister stayed with me when I had to walk a couple of times. Finishing felt wonderful.
After this, I kept on until I fell on uneven sidewalk while running with my husband. Four stitches. No running till I healed. Sadness. Setback.
Then I prepared to move to Florida…in August. I was worried about the heat, finding new running paths, and finding someone with whom to run. So I prayed. I prayed simply and fervently for a good running path and one new friend with whom I could run.
It didn’t happen right away. So I went to the apartment complex’s fitness center and used the elliptical machine. I started asking people if they ran.
Finally, I found someone to run with me. I had to get up early to which I am kind of allergic. But I did.
Then we ran and I fell again. I told my new friend ‘please, can we just keep going?’ So with blood oozing down my leg and from my shoulder, I ran back with her. Again, I couldn’t run until I healed. Another setback.
Why not just give up?
Because it is about more than running, more than physical health. It is about the truth that God is with us and for us. It is about how He loves us just because we are His. Just because we are the ones redeemed through the blood of His Only Son.
And because of this love, we can see the impossible come to be. We can face crushing setbacks and find only more of Him. We can stay in bed and miss a morning run knowing we are just as loved as if we ran 10 miles. (I am still working on this one.)
We are free to move toward beautiful, exciting, rewarding new things. As we do so, we prove the Psalmist true:
‘I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.’
He wants to take our fear of failure, injury, how it’s just too hard and deliver us. Practically, taking steps toward better fitness is a discipline which gives far more than it takes.
The truth is, we don’t start out going 13.1 miles. We start out with clumsy half miles and relish the joy that we can. We pray for God’s blessing remembering He is with us and for us. We pray for friends who will run beside us and beauty along the path before us. We expect that He will answer and are overwhelmed when He gives us exceeding, immeasurably beyond.
And when we fall, we cry and hurt, but we don’t lose heart. He has overcome it all. He makes our story grow and we can’t help but share it all with others.
I am wife to a wonderful man, mama to three precious now-little-but-soon-will-not-be loves. Each born in a different place--two states including 2 states and 2 countries. I am a farm girl who found her heart in the city. I can now claim fluency in 3 languages :: English, Spanish & Hungarian.This combined with the all-too-true 'mommy brain' explains much regarding my mental state most days;) I am a sojourner longing for Home. Yet, in my messy and broken, I embrace the moments given with all I have. I am seeking, praying, and learning again and again that it is for His Glory I live. My prayer is that my little life would make much of Him! I write regularly at Abigail Alleman.
If you'd like to read more from this contributor, type her name in the search box on the top right.
Sharing this over at these awesome blogs.