What do I have in me? That’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot lately. In fact, there has been a cacophony of noise in my head as the voices compete with each other to lace my mind with doubt. Last week’s 20 mile attempt was thwarted first by rain, then by a last minute decision to try to run it at night before the rain moved in for the weekend. I’m plagued with the memory of how my gut locked up on mile 12 1/2 and Gary was forced to rescue me in the truck. Turns out, it was probably a stomach bug, which I’m mostly over, at least physically.
So, tomorrow I try again. And, the voices are rearing their ugly heads (or mouths, I guess) once more to plant seeds of doubt about my ability to accomplish this goal. I marvel at those who make marathon racing and training look easy. If you’ve never attempted a marathon before, know going in that it is no easy task, particularly to those of us who are older and not particularly athletic.
It has always been difficult for me to admit my weaknesses, flaws, or fears. For some reason, I’ve always felt that admitting them made them more apparent to the outside world. I forget that you can all easily see my flaws, it’s me that has trouble spotting them. Training for this marathon has opened my eyes to many of them, particularly self-doubt. As I’ve searched for inspiration this evening, I remembered a conversation with my sister earlier today about the reality of spiritual warfare. That reality has been shown to me on many occasions, and this training has really personified my demons. That self-doubt demon is trying to kick my butt and make me believe that I’m not capable of this. It points out all the new aches and pains I have and points to past failures when I try to ignore it.
Fortunately, however, I have a secret weapon. I have inner strength that no demon can overcome. It’s just up to me to call on it. Consider this passage from Ephesians 6:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
It seems a little melodramatic to compare running a marathon to struggling against the powers of darkness. But, you really have a lot of time to think when you run 20 miles (especially when you run it as slow as I do), and God is using this time to teach me about myself. I’m having to learn to put on God’s armor to fight all my battles, spiritual, mental, and physical. I can’t do this in my own strength. I can’t do anything in my own strength. But, I have power in me that I don’t use. Power given to me at my rebirth.
I joke a lot about the voices in my head, but they are real. But, don’t send in the guys in white coats yet. The world throws negativism at me (you, too) constantly and I internalize it and start to believe it. Satan is the prince of this world and uses the vast means at his disposal to accomplish his goals: to make me feel unworthy and unable, thereby neutralizing the power that God has given me to accomplish His goals. It’s up to me to listen to that soft voice that reminds me that I am able, because He is able. That soft voice is the voice of the Holy Spirit, and I’m glad that it is the loudest voice in my head.
So, as you get up tomorrow morning (Friday) to go to work, school, or play, lift me up. Ask God to speak loudly to me to drown out the voice of doubt. In fact, ask Him to sing me a song, I always respond better to music.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Amen and amen. I’ll have on the full armor of God as I run in the morning, and the thing about this armor is, it doesn’t weigh me down. It lifts me up, then lands me gently. It enables me to stand firm.