I’m racing on Saturday. A half marathon. 13.1 miles. Miles for which I am woefully undertrained. This due to injuries and illness that have plagued my training this year, but somewhat made up for in the last six weeks training with my man. We ran our last training run yesterday on the course where the race will be held, a ten miler. The last three miles were ugly and painful, but we powered through. Or, he did, as I tried to draft off his energy, but fell behind over and over. Of course, he waited for me to catch up, then hit it again. Yes, a man with a really fancy scar and very expensive hardware in his leg is faster than me, even though the break was only a little over a year ago. (But, I’m not bitter.)
That ten miler was truly an exercise in mental discipline. I mentioned I’m undertrained. I’m also still struggling with injury. Something (often everything) hurt from mile 4 until the end. About half the run, we ran into the wind. Queasiness set in about mile 7. I really, really wanted to quit. The only thing that kept me moving was that man quietly limp/running slightly ahead of me. Of course, this morning, I’m glad I endured. The race Saturday will probably not yield a PR for me, but hopefully, I’ll endure until the end, and come out stronger on the other side.
As I sat in our rented condo at the beach this morning, watching the rainy skies and seas pounding the surf, thinking of recent struggles in my life and the lives of those I love, I began to reflect on what makes us strong. Have you ever noticed how calm and serene the sea is after a storm? Or how, after a thunderstorm, the world shines with a new glow? The same is true in our lives. It’s the storms of life that teach us, that discipline us, that make (or break) us. I add the “or break” because sometimes the storms do break us. It’s always a choice.
I read with interest an article which dispels the notion that many of us have grown up believing, that God won’t give us more than we can handle. The truth is He will, and does. But, the more awesome truth is, He won’t make us walk through the storms alone. And, when we seek answers, He always provides them.
Whatever your belief system is, the hard truth is that we will all have storms. The “trick” is to choose to look into the storm and believe you’ll get past it. To choose faith, and not fall into the black hole of despair. That’s really hard sometimes. It’s not always easy to have faith, and doubt has a way of teasing the corners of our hearts until we give in to it. What I’ve learned through running is that you put your head down, chase the doubt from your mind, and keep moving forward. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be fast. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ll eventually cross the finish line. Maybe battered and torn, but you’ll heal. And, you’ll heal stronger than you were before.
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4