Saturday morning I ran a race.
My husband and daughter are training for the Houston Marathon. I keep telling them I’ll run with them… some time. I hadn’t yet. Until Saturday.
They have been running some 5K’s on Saturday mornings. I found out my son’s football game was in the afternoon and decided I would run with them. Three miles is a good distance for me. I normally don’t find my pace until somewhere between a mile and a mile and a half. I figured worst case scenario, walking 3 miles isn’t too bad. And by lunch, I would already have a workout under my belt.
So although I haven’t worked out since June or run 3 miles outside since forever or participated in an organized race since December of 2010, I committed. To a 5K.
Friday night, our dinner conversation turned to the next morning’s run. That’s when I learned I had actually committed to a 10K! Twice as far as I had intended to run.
Doubt set in. I was angry. I might have even raised my voice at my husband. Frustrated I weighed my options.
At the end of the day, I decided to run. Worst case scenario, I would stop and be done before hitting the finish line. Even if I did that, I would still run farther than I had in many months. I reasoned if I could just show up and start running, I would win.
I was excited about running. Concerned about soreness, injury and lack of stamina but excited. I knew I could complete the first three miles.
I found my pace a bit after the first mile. There was a crowd to keep up with and the scenery was beautiful. I ran.
As I started the fourth mile, I determined I would keep running to the finish line even if I looked like a humped over injured animal. I’ve run enough in my lifetime to know being able to train for or complete any race is completing it in my head first. Determined to finish, I just ran.
Somewhere around the fifth mile I marveled at how capable I was of completing the whole 6 miles. And that’s when God said it:
This is why I simply invite you to join me on a journey without providing details. I long for you to trust me that each trial, each joyful experience, each circumstance which we share is tailored for you. I know just what you need, sweet girl. I will lead only where your growth will be the strongest, encouragement the greatest and development the most complete. I love you. Just run.
I finished strong on Saturday.
I am sore today.
I ran two miles last night.
I am also anxious to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement tonight.
Even though it wasn’t the race I expected, it certainly was worth it. Even though it wasn’t what I thought I wanted, it was definitely what I needed. I am now calling myself a runner once again. I am now eager to stretch my muscles, pump my legs, cross the finish line–no matter how long the race!
If I’d stopped at the 5K mark, I’m certain it would have taken me much longer to run 6 miles.
The trial can be a shortcut–not an easy route–to the character necessary to complete the race.
Somebody please call my mama and tell her she was right. Sometimes we do it just because it builds character.
We know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next…beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Romans 5:3-4a & Philippians 3:14 The Message
When has a trial in your life produced the character necessary to journey forward?
Upcoming SDG Connections Posts
SDG Gathering Important Information
Lisa Smith is helping me facilitate our gatherings each week. She is visiting those of you who link up on “even” numbers and I am visiting the “odd” (don’t worry, I’m not calling YOU odd). She will also be sharing on Mondays with you from time to time, opening up her heart and life to you, as you faithful do with us each week you link up. We do have some important housekeeping items about this gathering, so if you have not read them, please come here to catch up. The condensed version: Link up ONE post that shares your heart authentically and be sure to check in with some of your sisters who have linked up with you. Leave a heartfelt word of encouragement for them after you visit their space. This is a community where we actively seek to get to know each other.