I skipped a tribe run yesterday. I brought my running clothes to work to change into. I even made sure I had a yellow shirt to run in for the Boston Marathon bombing (I wore a blue shirt to work), and that my iPod was charged, and that I had my hat, and my watch. (Stop judging my sentence structure.) I only half listened to my mom on the phone while trying to invent an excuse to give to Karyn who had a good reason to skip the run. But, I couldn’t really come up with anything and just went on home resigning myself to tell the truth. I didn’t feel like running. And I am glad I didn’t.
I got to sit and listen to my daughter tell me about having to both play AND sing in front of her class, and how scared she was. She said she had to stop at one point because she was shaking so bad, shake out her hands and pick back up. I know what it’s like to stand in front of people playing and singing and shaking like a leaf the whole time. I am so proud of her for having the courage to do it in spite of her fear (which I couldn’t do at 16).
I got to spend some time with my son trying to find super glue. Ok, he was looking for it and I was just telling him where it wasn’t. And to not eat my chips.
I got to sit down with the hubby for a little while after he showered, and remove 2 thorns from his thumb. Contain yourselves. Very exciting, I know. But he can’t see well enough to get them out himself, and since I wear these handy-dandy progressives, I can see well enough.
And then I sat/laid (I was going back and forth between the 2 on the bed) and read. And the book tore me down, and led to exposing an idol which led to a time of prayer of repentance, which gave me an area where I could affirm and encourage my husband…which was itself an answer to a prayer.
So, yeah, I am glad I skipped out on the run, because the time with my family was much more rewarding.
And I did 2 pushups before I went to bed, so I did do some exercise.
The Jewish leaders called for Jesus to be killed, but did not have the authority to do so themselves under Roman rule.
The method of execution – crucifixion – was a Roman cross.
The Jews called for his death. The Romans provided the means of execution. This makes both Jews and Gentiles responsible.
And yet, Jesus had both the power and authority to stop/prevent his unlawful trial, his torturous beating, and his death. But he endured it all, laying down his life willingly – taking the punishment and suffering the death that I deserve.
The story doesn’t end there, though. He arose on the third day proclaiming victory over death.
English Standard Version (ESV)
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I have started, and deleted this post about 3 times now. It’s gone from snarky to whiny to incoherent. As I sit here trying for the 4th time to get this written, this version may be snarky AND whiny AND incoherent. See, there are events and conversations behind it that would give it the necessary context, but I don’t want to blog about those. But there was one conversation that has kind of served as a catalyst for wanting to write about this because something was said that kind of shook me up and made me think.
At one point I said essentially that doctrinally I am still a baptist. Then later as I thought on it I thought “But culturally, I don’t think I am.” This brought up the realization that I have been a baptist my whole life – 12 years longer than I’ve been a believer. So naturally, me being me, I “have” to question whether I have picked baptist churches as an adult because I am altogether baptist or if it’s because that’s all I know. I mean, seriously, up until the past month, aside from a handful of base chapel services when I was active duty, the only non-baptist church I had ever attended was a Catholic church with my best friend in high school for a few months.
There are some things that I am sure of.
1. I don’t want my “Christian experience” to consist of just church attendance. That’s performance. I did that for my entire childhood as a deacon’s kid. I don’t want to just play the part at church services and functions. Like I said, been there done that.
2. I don’t want to go through the motions and not get out of my comfort zone. Kind of like #1, only I want to perform in a way that brings glory to God and not attention to me. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
3. I want to reach out to the lost, particularly the unchurched. You know, the ones who don’t know how to “perform” as a “good Christian” is supposed to. Rough, crude, and unpolished. The ones that folks who grew up in church and never openly rebelled/strayed don’t know how to relate to.
4. I don’t want to “get our country back to God” by means of political activism under the banner of the church. We cannot ever change a culture of any kind through politics. No law ever changed a person’s heart. Plus, the USA has never been nor will ever be the new Israel which is to say we, as a country, are NOT God’s chosen people.
So far, this seems to be kind of a ramble, but whatever. That’s what happens when I don’t fully contextualize. Where I am right now is with my family looking for a new home church. Let me tell you, when you leave a church where you love each and every person there, it is like breaking up. It’s not pleasant. It hurts. It hurts you, and it hurts them. But sometimes you have to move on for the sake of the whole family, and when your kids don’t want to go anymore, and you reach the point that it is nearly impossible to force them, it’s time to move on. Hence the dilemma. Do I continue to press for a baptist church out of tradition? And I have come to the conclusion that what I want is a church faithful to scripture, zealous for evangelism and discipleship, as focused on children and youth ministries as adult, and not afraid to open up in worship and in life (meaning, you can’t be open if you “bite and devour” aka gossip and backbite).
I think I managed to hit snarky, whiny, and incoherent. Therefore, since I have labored over this post for well over a week, I leave you with a little “Flyman.”
I generally try to come up with a title and write around it. That doesn’t always work out so well, and is often why I end up not writing at all. Eh, whatever. This time, though, I know what I want as title because it is the subject of what I want to write about. And for some reason, thinking “Something is missing” reminds me of that scene from Star Trek: Generations when Picard meets Kirk in the Nexus. And as an aside, I generally don’t think the odd numbered Star Trek movies are all the great. This was #7. But it’s Kirk, and I am digressing.
Over a 9 day span, I had migraines for 7 of the days. I have never had migraines like that. They weren’t so bad I couldn’t go to work, but while I forced myself to work, that was the only place I forced myself to. This past Sunday, I finally decided that since I didn’t have anywhere I absolutely had to go, that I would take a valium and see how that worked. All the pain went away, and I sat all afternoon knitting. Ok, not all afternoon. I did get up from time to time and do stuff. And it made me a little dizzy which made me a little sick so it’s not like I want to take it again. However, it confirmed that my migraines were from stress and tension. I already suspected that. Oh, and I haven’t had a migraine since. 3 days straight. Imagine!
But even before the pain lifted, I knew that something had to happen. Something had to change. Petra has quoted this to me time and time again:
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
(2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
At least I think that’s the one. Anyway, you would think it would eventually sink into my thick head. But, no, I have to learn the same lessons over and over the hard way. It’s so frustrating, and maddening. I know this stuff. I grew up with it. Why after all these years is it still not sticking?
I’ve noticed that over the past couple of years I have grown less judgemental of non-believers, and have finally got it through my head that not everyone grew up saturated in a “fundamentalist” Baptist church in the Bible belt where most everyone is assumed to at least be a regular church attendee with at least a basic knowledge of the Bible belt legalistic moralism “Christianity.” See what I did there? My judgementalism transferred from non-believers to Christians. I seem to so easily point out what is wrong with other Christians, while still setting myself up in my ivory tower of self-righteouness because I “get it.” Except I didn’t.
Last week it finally sunk in that I was missing something, and it isn’t toast. Something big that was keeping me back and hindering my prayers and keeping me from experience the peace and joy that I am supposed to have. Now I know that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to have a carefree easy life. Jesus didn’t say, “Take up your Lazyboy and chill out” but “Take up your cross and follow me.” I understand what that means, and it is by no means an easy, comfortable life. But yet I still try to control circumstances around me so that life’s easier or so I don’t get hurt. Fear and worry. Lacking trust in the One who is the only one I can trust.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)
Contentment escapes me. Even when things are going fairly well, and I feel like I’m getting a breather, something is missing. I have come to the conclusion (partially from judging others for this very thing) that what I am missing is the Holy Spirit. Not that the Holy Spirit isn’t there,
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
(Ephesians 1:13 ESV)
but that I have spent so much of my life working at controlling the circumstances around me that I have missed out on the Spirit’s power in my life. The power to make me content no matter the circumstances. The power to feel peace and joy when the world is falling apart around me. But most of all the power to obey. The power to forgive. The power to love. The power to praise God no matter what, and to trust Him completely with everything. Because He is in control anyway. And this all changed what I prayed for. Because I asked for what I also fear while confessing the fear as I prayed. I mean, it’s not like he doesn’t know. But I can’t overcome the fear without the Spirit either.
It’s amazing the difference having a restful Sunday makes on a Monday. I still wanted to sleep in, and wish I had taken today off instead of boxing day, but I don’t feel emotionally drained. More on that later. Seeing as how it is the last day of 2012, and a recap of the year seems to be the thing to do, here goes a quickie:
Came out of the worst depression ever.
Accepted a challenge to eliminate artificial flavors/colors/preservatives from my diet and went through awful physical withdrawls. Twice.
Failed at my exercise and reading challenges…and still can’t do even one pushup.
Figured out a bunch of food sensitivities in addition to gluten.
I am going to state up front, that Pastor Roger preached a sermon about this earlier this year, so it isn’t something I came up with on my own. On the other hand, it isn’t straight-up plagiarism either. I hope.
I have heard it said many times that “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” The thing is, I haven’t found that in the Bible. There is this:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)
But that is dealing only with temptation and not trials of life. Sometimes we get so bombarded with trial after trial on top of trial, and I for one am right now at the point that I don’t think I can handle one more trial. I told a friend last week that maybe I should meltdown on the next person that tells me how strong I am. lol Because seriously, I am NOT as strong as I appear. Not even remotely close.
This isn’t the first time I have felt like I had more than I can handle, but I have to say that this time around it’s like the hits keep coming. Several years ago, I was tdy to Ft Gordon for class, and one day we all went to Myrtle Beach. At some point, I got knocked under by a wave, and when I came up, I got smacked by another before I could catch my breath, and this went on for a couple more waves before I finally got my feet planted which was well after panic set in. That’s kind of how I feel now; like the waves are coming faster than I can get a breath.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV)
Last week I let one of my friends at work know about one of the biggest trials going on because it is/was to have an impact on me being at work. Turns out not a huge impact at this point, but I’m not getting into that yet. Anyway, she asked me a few minutes later, “How can you stand there and smile like everything is ok?” I answered, “I have a lot of friends praying for me.” Well, that and I am pretty good at faking everything being ok when it isn’t.
In the midst of all this, I rely on God to get me though. To carry me when I don’t have the strength to get out of the bed in the morning. To give me the strength of will to hold my tongue rather than lash out in anger with verbal diarrhea. To not be so self-focused as to fail to pray for my friends who are going through their own trials. To remember that God is in control, and the suffering is temporary. To rest in the knowledge that Jesus redeemed me, and gave me the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide me…and to set my feet against the waves so I can breathe.
I guess since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I should write a post about what I am thankful for. I’ve struggled all week to write something, and I don’t know why it never occurred to me to write about Thanksgiving. Well, actually, that isn’t entirely true. It’s hard to be thankful when you are sick and have a pulled muscle and you want to wallow in self-pity.
Lots of folks have been posting as their daily status on Facebook something that they are thankful for. I guess it’s supposed to be done for each day of November. Half the time, I don’t even post a status anymore. But I digress, and am already getting off topic.
This year I am thankful for the trials I have been through for about the past 5 years. One normally isn’t thankful for having their dad die, their mom to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, 2 back-to-back job problems, 2 teenagers with issues (likely stemming from their parent’s issues), and an alcoholic spouse who had to go to rehab. Who in their right mind would be thankful for stuff like that? Let me tell you, each and every one of those situations sucked big time! There have been times that I wanted to just run away, and times (like late last year) that I was so depressed that I wanted to die. (Note: I was not suicidal. There is a BIG difference.) But each of these things in their own unique ways brought about much needed changes in my life.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3 ESV)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)
Each of the events increasingly broke down my emotional barriers and showed how much of my life I had spent controlling or avoiding situations around me in order to keep the barriers up and to fortify them. Little by little, and painfully the control issues, the emotional stuffing, and what I thought was long buried insecurity all busted out and tore me down to a state much like I was as a pre-teen. Broken and undone. But this time around, I couldn’t just go through the motions and perform like I was so (in my mind anyway) adept at as a kid. Daddy didn’t set his affairs in order before he died because he was a control freak. Yeah, that would be where I get it. Mom started showing signs of Alzheimer’s soon after Daddy’s stroke, but even more so when he died. I still had to work. I couldn’t check out from parenting. And I couldn’t check out from my marriage. I couldn’t just cope with all these issues; I had to actually work through them. Oh, and also during this time, I had a LOT of sin to face and repent of that I had fallen into while wrapped up in my self-righteousness.
In my brokenness, I had only one place to turn, and that was to God. The worse things got, the more I was driven to him, and that is why I am thankful for the trials. I learned after many many years to actually trust God. I learned to open up to close friends about my struggles so they could pray for me and help me through them. So, yeah, I am thankful for the trials that are beginning to get me out of self-reliance and into God-reliance.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)
It has now been just over a year since Mollyforced talked me into joining a running club with her. July 26, 2011 was my first run (the 2nd BCRT run), and I am pretty sure all I did was walk 2 miles instead of running 3. This would be followed by several months of mostly walking the 3 miles, if I did the 3. Here’s how I looked (from behind) in August of last year:
I left Petra in this cropped photo (that I shamelessly stole from BCRT’s FB album which contains several unflattering rear shots of me) because I am like twice as big as her. I know, I’m freakishly tall. lol
This is from mid-July after having lost 32 pounds:
This is also shamelessly stolen from BCRT’s Fb album, but I at least know exactly who took this one (being frontal and all). I had already seen Tim snapping around so I was sucking in when Eva walked up and snapped the hubster and I. I’m pretty sure I am still twice as big as Petra. LOL
But that isn’t really what I intended to write about. This past Saturday I had to run 6 miles. (If I hadn’t taken a week off for my knee, it would have been 7.) I barely lasted 5 the weekend before, and was pretty unsure that I would be able to keep myself psyched up. Less than half a mile into it, when I turned the first corner, I smelled breakfast cooking from someone’s house. I assumed it was the house on my left as it is closer to the road and I could see a light on. Anyway, I kept chugging along, and eventually made it to the 3.1 mile mark and noted the time (since I had signed up for a virtual 5K). But by the time I made it up that hill I wanted to quit. Bad. Or maybe that was before the 3 mile mark. I forget. Anyway, on my long runs I have discovered that it is a great time to pray and meditate. Since I do my long runs on Saturday mornings fairly early, there is hardly any traffic, and generally no one outside, so it’s just me & God. No computer to distract me. Music low enough that I can hear traffic. It is perfect for listening.
Lately I have been reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, and so I was mulling over what I’d read so far and how to apply it. On the front cover, the latter portion of 1 Corinthians 9:24 is printed “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” So naturally I am thinking about that as I am running…and wanting to quit. So I prayed for the will and endurance to run that morning so that I would have that as a constant metaphor for remembering that the Holy Spirit will help me with strength and will and endurance in tough times of life…resisting temptation, and finishing the race. And I ran a 10k – 6.24 miles.
So, call me a nutroll for believing God gave me the ability to complete that run Saturday. I’ve been called a nutroll for much worse. But, 2 days later, and I got hit with another “trial” which is really an on-going one that is either active or pending. I got angry…again…and wondered just how much…again…and then I remembered that run. And then I remembered this:
James 1:2-4 (ESV)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Followed by this:
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
I am not promised strength for finishing a run, but I am promised strength to endure the trials of life and to overcome temptation. So if God answers my prayer to have the will to run 6 miles, which I am not promised, I can believe he will sustain me through this trial. As one of my friends pointed out to me last night, He has a plan for what is going on even though I can’t see it. And ultimately, God is going to get the glory for it.
Note: I wrote almost all of this post last week, but couldn’t manage to finish it until yesterday. So all references to “tonight” and “last night” were actually made last Wednesday & Thursday.
This rarely happens. I think up a topic I want to blog about while I am driving to work and I actually remember it when I get there and began a draft. By begin a draft, I mean I typed in the title, selected the category, and saved. Now here I am at the end of the day wishing I was in bed asleep but waiting on a load of laundry to finish so I can put it in the dryer…because I need it dry and ready to pack in the morning. I don’t know where to begin. So this may be long and all over the place since I won’t be finished before I go to bed tonight.
I grew up in church. I’ve been told never to start a testimony with that, but that is a huge part of it. My dad was a deacon up until I was 15. He and/or my mom taught small groups off and on up until I was 19. I got churched at church, and I got churched at home. I knew all of the major Baptist doctrine by the time I was a teen. Saved at 12, baptized at 14, and walked away from the church at 19. My best friend told me not too long ago that I didn’t just leave the church, I wanted nothing to do with “organized religion.” When I walked away, it was over racism, but over time I realized that was just the final straw in what I perceived as institutional hypocrisy.
After 2 decades of wandering in my own self-righteousness and slowly getting more and more debaucherous in my behavior, I got turned back. Yeah, it turned out that living my life in pursuit of instant gratification is empty – totally and completely unsatisfying. But I still had my anti-church bias, and even still after being an active member for the past 2 or 3 years after 20 years of living my life for me.
I am a member of a Southern Baptist(SBC) church now. I grew up in Missionary Baptist churches (which split from the SBC in the early 20th century) that were American Baptist Association(ABA) and Baptist Missionary Association(BMA). The BMA split from the ABA around 1948 or 49 ironically for about the same reason the ABA split from the SBC. My point being, each of the 3 hold to the same basic doctrines despite what the ABA old-timers have said for years. Remember, I stated my bias up front. There are also General Baptists, Freewill Baptists, and Independent Baptists. The Independents, if I remember right, also split from the SBC during or following the 19th century Landmarkism movement (which was a lot of what was behind the ABA split), so they generally hold to the same doctrines as the SBC, ABA, & BMA with the added tendency towards King James Onlyism. I know I throw all that out without any references, but I’m blogging not writing a graduate-level academic thesis. That would be really long. Just sayin’.
And then there are the Westboro “Baptists” of whom I have nothing at all good to say, so I will save them for a day in which I am feeling particularly snarky.
But anyway, my Baptist doctrinal background is ABA & BMA, which differs little from the SBC. One thing I have noticed that is different between the ABA & BMA and the SBC is what is prominently displayed on the wall in the church sanctuary. That would be a huge framed poster of the church covenant present in every ABA & BMA church I ever attended. Yes, is was/is the most prominent feature. You know what else? I never could read it past the first paragraph before losing all interest. I would even try to make it into a song (in my head), but to no avail. It’s just something that irks me now, and I know it is only because of the statement about alcohol. Why? Because it is unbiblical. I’m not saying teetotaling is a bad thing, it just isn’t a commandment. Drunkenness is prohibited, not drinking. And I don’t say that just to justify my drinking. My drinking habit is best described as binging, which is why I voluntarily avoid it. Now. Most of the time. Unlike eating McDonald’s, getting drunk is still a temptation…unfortunately.
Anyway, my perception of the Christian life based on what I absorbed as a child and youth (whether actually overtly taught or not), was a tendency toward performance-based gospel. Yes, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but then don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, don’t have sex until you’re married, and try not to cuss too much. Hmmm, and dress up for church on Sunday, particularly Sunday morning. Dress or skirt mandatory. (Not so much anymore) Recipe for failure. Oh, sure, I learned very well how to look the part, but I failed (at all of them) because I didn’t get enough read your Bible and pray. I’m not saying I wasn’t taught that either, because my parents always stressed that (yet didn’t force me – wise, in retrospect, letting the Holy Spirit do the work), and I had a really good mentor for a few years from 10-15 years old who tried her best to get that through to me. It just did not sink in for 20+ years.
Ok, it was totally not my intent to turn this into a confessional post. Perhaps I should have finished it last night when I was fully snarky. haha Or maybe I should go back and read the blog post that got me riled up to begin with. But my point really is this: yes, doctrine matters. Yes, creeds, confessions, and covenants matter. But they are not the main thing. They don’t save, they don’t regenerate, they don’t produce fruit. Only Christ saves. Only the work of the Holy Spirit in a person saved by grace through faith in Christ will produce fruit. And good fruit isn’t just outwardly following a set of rules. There is no being good enough to win God’s favor. 12 year old me got that, and promptly forgot. 40-something me has had to learn the gospel all over again. Jesus is righteous, not me. He knew how I was going to rebel before and after accepting him, and he loved me enough to suffer and die in my place. And even when I can’t see it for seeing all my faults and failings (which are numerous), I am being conformed to the image of Christ. Much slower than I like, because patience doesn’t come easy for me, but when I look back at what I was, I can see the difference, and it keeps me running.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
I start with this video clip, not that it is really relevant, but I cannot encounter the word metaphor in any context without remembering this scene from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:
After not running for a month between the flu and the surgery, I took off to the track during lunch yesterday marking the 2 week point from surgery. Ok, actually, it was 2 weeks + 1 day, but I guess I had enough forethought to know if I ran on Wednesday, I wouldn’t be able to run again until Friday which I don’t want to do because then I won’t run on Saturday. And I want to run Saturday. Anyway, the run completely sucked, and I discovered that I cuss a lot in my head when I run. Seriously, I tweeted that after I got back to work.
Turns out, I cuss a lot (in my head) when I run for the 1st time in a month.:-/
So, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t try to capture my thoughts as I ran like Whitney did and blogged: True Life: This is What I Think About When I Run. On the other hand, you all missed out on my internal dialogue alternately complaining/celebrating what is on my running playlist…which will be updated because Guns ‘N Roses has to go, and there isn’t near enough Paula Abdul. Oh, but you aren’t going to miss out on this at then end of 3rd lap/beginning of 4th lap.
Consistently walk fast if you can’t run.
Yes! More Paula!
(Started singing) “Baby he could promise me diamonds. Even if he promised me pearls. Honey, you know I ain’t lyin’. Listen as I tell it to the world!”
Great. I’m singing along with Paula as my nose runs. I’m bringing sexy back. Hmmm, I should probably make sure it’s not bleeding. Crap. It’s not. I can’t quit.
That’s not exact because I am sure that “Crap” was not the four letter word I used. And I know by now you are thinking “Where’s the metaphor?” It’s coming, but you know if I have an opportunity to link whore, I’m taking it.
So throughout the run, which was really mostly a fast walk, I was in a constant mental battle with myself over quitting. I went over there with a choice: I could run the sidewalk around the grounds – it’s a .75 mile loop – or I could run the track, which isn’t a standard quarter mile track. Rob said 5 laps is about 3.2 or 3.3 miles. He also said one round is .61 miles, and so that math doesn’t really equate. Still, I go with the 3.2 or 3.3. Just because. 4 laps of the sidewalk is 3 miles, so regardless, 5 laps of the track is over 3 miles, and so that’s what I chose. The track is also smoother, so that was another plus. But I digress.
The battle waged. I lamented the lack of shade which there is more of along the sidewalk. I lamented my lack of stamina and it’s not like I am a fast runner anyway. I lamented the wind. I determined that whether or not I use my inhaler has no bearing on my wheezing. I wanted to quit before I finished the 3rd lap. As I neared the end of the 4th lap, I got a little dizzy and thought I was either going to pass out or puke. Or maybe both. And I had long since given up on trying to do any more running at that point. But, no. I was more determined to do the full 5 laps even as a fast walk than I was to quit. Barely.
Life is like that a lot of times. You’re going along great at first, and then you get a little winded so you slow down. But sometimes it still sucks and you just want to give up and quit. Sometimes you trip, or even fall on your face. Sometimes you start hurting (not like a pull or a break) and you just want to sit and nurse that hurt instead of pushing through it. I didn’t fall on my face running, and really haven’t done that since high school (publically), but metaphorically, I fall on my face a lot doing life. Tripping over the same things over and over. Sometimes it gets really discouraging and I don’t want to get back up and go again. There is a short term payoff for wallowing in self-pity, just like there would have been a short-term payoff for quitting after 3 laps yesterday. But the short term never satisfies.
So as I lamented my lack of endurance to run as I kept telling myself “at least walk fast,” I thought of the words of Paul.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
(1 Corinthians 9:24-26 ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)*
I don’t have really big goals for running. Not only do I have no desire to run a marathon, I don’t even have any desire to run a half-marathon. I want to be able to run a 5K, but no more than a 10K. But before I do either of those, I have to be able to run a mile. While I can’t even run a full mile yet without having to drop to a fast walk, I know it is possible. Once upon a time I was able to run 2 miles straight, and even do a fast sprint at the end. It was 1995, and I was in basic training, but it is possible. I wasn’t fast then, but I made my time with almost a minute to spare. haha Still, that’s why even if I only cumulatively run a mile, I still do at least 3. It is slow going, but I am gradually building endurance. After not running for a month, what little I managed yesterday hurt. My calves cramped all night. It hurts when I get up and walk today. In fact, it’s not just my legs that are sore today. My back and shoulders are sore, too. Today, I rest. Tomorrow, I try again.
And just as I keep walking when I can’t run anymore, I keep getting back up when I fall on my face in life and pressing forward. Because I have a goal. When I reach the end of my life, I want to be able to say, like Paul:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)
*Paul is traditionally considered the writer of Hebrews.