What requires endurance, perseverance, patience, and a strong will?
The answer is marathons and life.
A couple of years ago I ran 4 half marathons in four weeks. That experience taught me more than I can say, I still refer back to it as I encounter different seasons in my life. I got up early and I trained. I ran through pain, and mud, and rain, and dust, and sun, and even snow. The first 3 miles were brutal because my body wasn't used to it, miles 5-8 were pretty good; and miles 9-13 were excruciating. There were times in the middle of my runs (especially in training) when I would think "am I done yet? where am I running?!" It took a while but I learned to embrace those runs, I could think, cry, get out all my frustrations, and even praise God.
Fast forward 2 years... I blew out my ACL a year ago, I'm signed up for a race this coming June; 5 miles and 15 obstacles. If you don't finish an obstacle you have to do 30 burpees to progress through the race which means I will be running 5 miles and doing 450 burpees.
What is a burpee?
I also plan to try to run those half marathons again.
If you are a runner, you probably have drawn these conclusions on your own. If you are not a runner, this might be of some interest.
As I think about this training process for my upcoming race, I also have been reflecting on the last two years since I trained for a run.
There have been times when I have thought to myself "I'm tired"
As a woman, I want so much to be a proverbs 31 woman and I live in a modern world with mixed messages, I find myself feeling not good enough and it is a constant process to defeat those lies and embrace that I am perfectly and wonderfully made.
As a mom, I get tired of cleaning only to turn around and see a brand new mess courtesy of one my "helpers".
Having a child with special needs; I get tired of constantly dealing with the system that ultimately blesses her but everything you do to get tools for your child is a constant unrelenting process.
As a professional entering a career and coming out of college, I feel defeated by myself and frustrated at the learning process because I feel like I should already know what I need to know and yet I have a lot to learn.
Then... once in a while something comes along and makes it all worth it. Today I had an epiphany and it was my "worth it" moment.
At this point a couple of bible verses come to mind:
Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
Psalm 30:5 - For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
My training in running is exactly the same process I use in my life; endurance, perseverance, patience, a strong will, and leaning into my faith and knowing I don't have to have all the answers.
I stumble and I fall and I go off course and sometimes I cramp up but just as in real life running I make the choice to get up off the ground and I take the next step. I have to make sure I am prepared for my race everyday and when I am under-prepared I sure feel it!
When you are training for a race, you have to have lots of water, rest, protein, a balanced diet, electrolytes, good shoes, discipline, and a support system or training partner.
My ingredients for my life race are time in the word, rest, a well balanced routine, a sense of humor, mental preparedness for my day, discipline, and an awesome support system, and a great partner. When I'm tired and run down and the marathon before me seems endless, it's because I'm missing one of my tools.
How many times have you been through a season in your life when you felt like you were constantly trying and needed endurance, perseverance, patience, and a strong will? I have many of these areas, some are a lifelong marathon and some are ending with another life race on the horizon. Whether you are physically able to run 26.2 miles or not, you are in a marathon! Congratulations on your race!
The bible makes yet another reference to life as a marathon and says we are to finish well.
2 Timothy 4:7 says I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
I encourage you to read that whole chapter in context.
Keep running your race my friends :-)