I have a bit of an addiction with running and working out lately. It stirs inside of me most heavily every Spring. The brighter morning sun, the beautiful weather, and the freshness and life that appears around me after a long, cold, dark winter all work together to pull me outside and into a run. To force myself to breathe deeply and smell the fresh Spring air, to feel the sun warming my face, and to take in the sights of melting snow, greening lawns, and budding flowers. Oh, it makes me so happy.
I’m currently training to run a half-marathon in a little over a month. One of my friends somehow convinced me to go on a girl’s weekend away to run a half marathon. Some women go shopping on their girl’s weekends, some party in Vegas, some sip mimosas on the beach, but the four of us get away to run 13.1 miles as fast as our little legs will carry us. You might think we’re a bit crazy.
Although a relaxing weekend on the beach with some friends does sound really nice, I’m really excited for our getaway race weekend. Because on a run, I learn and grow and develop far more than I ever could relaxing at home or on the beach. And I’m really excited to join 3 other women on this race because I know that facing this task with each other will bring us together and connect us in a way that a party weekend in Vegas never could.
You see running does so many things for me. Things like helping me look fit and trim, helping me to feel energetic and healthy. It helps me combat stress and anxiety. It helps me enjoy the great outdoors and the beautiful creation that God has gifted to us. It gives me the opportunity to get alone with my thoughts and just be.
But you see, I choose to run, not for the way it makes my body look, and not even for the way it makes me feel. I choose to run because of what my body is able to teach me about myself, my strength, my resilience, my dedication, and my self-discipline.
I regularly struggle with feelings of inadequacy and failure. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who feels this way. I make the wrong choices, I don’t meet the goals I’ve set for myself, I give in when I wanted to be strong, I lose my temper, I feel confused and frustrated, I struggle with finding the right answer to my circumstances. Over and over throughout the week, I’m bombarded with signs that try to tell me that I’m not good enough and I’ll never get it right.
This past Saturday I went out for a 10-mile training run. In the days leading up to this run, I was just not feeling up to the task. I was tired and just wanted to sleep in, I was a little sore from previous runs, and my head was trying to tell me all about how hard it would be and how much it would hurt. The reality is that I just ran 9 miles a week ago so adding one extra mile this weekend was not going to be all that difficult. And my goal for all of my runs is simply to get it done, no matter how long it takes.
You see, my feelings of failure and inadequacy spill over into all areas of my life, even (especially) into my running. But still, I pulled on my compression socks, laced up my shoes, stuck in my earbuds, and headed out the door at 7:45 am on my Saturday morning. The first five miles felt like an eternity. I was running in an area that I wasn’t familiar with and I thought for sure I must have traveled further than my GPS was telling me. But I kept running. I encountered far more hills that I normally do, but yet I continued to put one foot in front of the other. My brain was telling me I didn’t eat enough breakfast, drank too much water, and slept too poorly to be successful, but I just kept taking the next step. Until suddenly, I was done.
And so as I begin this work week and I’m flooded with thoughts that tell me I’m not good enough. When my brain starts stressing out about my to-do list, my lack of time with my kids, my inability to focus and get things done, my failures from last week, I start to freak out a little bit. Until I remember what I learned on my run.
My run taught me to lift my head up and put one foot in front of the other, to take that next step on my to-do list. My run taught me that I am good enough, in fact, I’m pretty great. My run taught me that I can overcome obstacles and accomplish the impossible. My run taught me that I can focus and do hard things. My run taught me that I can be self-disciplined and make the right decisions. My run taught me that I’m not a failure, I am fully equipped, strong, and capable to live this amazing life that God has blessed me with.
As you approach your week, you might have some feelings of inadequacy yourself. Maybe you struggle with knowing that you are up to the challenges you will face this week. I want you to know that I’m not special. I don’t have some great superpower that allowed me to run those ten miles and learn these things this past weekend. I simply lifted my gazed to the Creator of the Universe and started putting one foot in front of the other. I made one right decision, to start, and all the rest of the decisions started becoming so much easier.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber.” – Psalm 121:1-3
Lift up your eyes and then step out and watch and see how you are more than you ever dreamed because, with the Maker of heaven and earth living inside you, you can do the impossible. You just have to start.