I turn up the volume on my iPod to drown out the pounding of my feet on the pavement.
You can do this!
The longest distance I trained with my “kind-a-sorta” half-marathon partners was 11 miles. I say, “kind-a-sorta,” because they all blew me away with their pace in training and I never got to know them as they rested at the finish line and I huffed and puffed my slow-booty mile-by-mile through their neighborhood course.
I’m regretting not doing the 13 in advance as I face mental exhaustion to match the physical.
“Can I even finish,” I struggle, in a whisper only I can hear?
I sense a body to my right, passing.
She has a steady pace and I catch her rhythm.
But surprisingly, she STOPS.
Just after she passes me, as if I was her goal, she stops running and begins to walk.
I look over at her and decide to step WAY beyond my comfort zone and be the outspoken encourager…. to a stranger.
“Don’t quit… c’mon, you can do this!”
I have this momentary dream that we will finish the race together… maybe we will become friends and have a story to tell for years to come…
(that was my bubble)
She raises her head, fixes her eyes to mine and gives me this glare as if I’ve insulted her. She doesn’t say a word, but just takes off running faster than I considered possible… from what I had assessed of her.
I almost stop running from shear surprise by her reaction.
“You’re welcome, ” I want to yell, but honestly keep silent out of embarrassment.
Yep, that’s why I’m usually NOT the “coach.”
But I guess I did her a favor and got her moving. Maybe I even helped her improve her overall pace? Who knows? I never saw her again.
After her dust settles, I see the rest of the course is mostly downhill so I decidedly take some of her “sass-pants-frustration-fuel” and pour it into my tank to finish my race.
I can honestly say that the photos they took of me crossing that 13.1 finish line are not those that I ever wanted to purchase.
I’ve always admired those who could smile with their arms held up high, some flexing muscles, and even one friend who always does cartwheels across.
I wanted to… I did. But the best I could manage was a photo that said…
“Man my toes hurt, thank goodness there is not another 13.1 more.
Hand me my free banana and yogurt and… where did I park my car?”
But I did it! I finished the race.
I showed up.
And I learned a great deal about endurance.
1. The ability to do something difficult for a long time
2. The ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, pain, or other adverse conditions; stamina
3. The quality of continuing for a long time.
But now I’m in a new sort of race and the training is so very different.
I have taken on a new challenge and I sounds so good when the thoughts roll through my head as I’m busy. Busy doing something other than sitting at my desk.
But when the quiet sets in and I’m alone in front of the keyboard…
…it’s a new level of fatigue, stress and pain I’ve not endured.
This is HARD! The new, the unfamiliar, the irregular and unstructured is HARD!
I recently read a great devotional about facing something hard. Posted on the website of Proverbs 31 Ministries, she opens up so honestly of her experiences being new to a gym; feeling like a foreigner in a new land. But she’s a regular contributor and writer for the website to which I subscribe. I admit my envy to her position and the recognition of her work and publications.
But her admission of weakness was exactly my strength. I could show her all around my gym and give her tips and pointers. I could train her and guide her. And yet, her great strength is where I fall short.
I sit at my desk too long and feel ashamed because I have not written anything inspiring or ready for publication. But I could lift some heavy stuff!
But God stirs my heart so deeply, daily that I cannot deny there is purpose in His plan. I am simply fighting a battle of endurance and training in a new type of event.
And I realize why this is so difficult.
It’s the same reason that the gym was so hard for her.
It is Not our Normal.
I need to Make it My Normal!
I need to Make it My Routine.
I need to Make it My Workout.
So I’ve decided that I will not give up. I will endure.
I will challenge myself to see my time with God as a workout.
Just like when I go to the gym, I will take time to go through different parts of a workout, only apply them to my spirit and my writing.
Warm Up: Listen to 1 -2 songs that worship God
Set my heart and mind on the proper focus
Stretching: Stretch the Mouth, Mind, Soul, Spirit
Recite OUT LOUD scriptures
God’s Words are powerful, creative and true
Ask Holy Spirit to fill and to guide my study
Weights: The REAL workout
Study a portion of God’s word
(Lately, I’ve just been taking one verse and defining the individual words to get a deeper meaning of the verse.)
Heart to heart with God
The hard part is getting past the door to my study and sitting at my desk…hearing the voices in my head telling me that I’m not good enough, that I was wrong about my purpose or that I have nothing to say.
I want to clam up and be fearful to cheer another runner on, afraid of the glare and the dust from her heels, leaving me behind, and alone… again.
But I will, instead, keep training.
I am a woman of strength.
I am a woman of endurance.
I am a woman of God.
And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul you will find Him.
Do NOT, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what he has promised.