Daughter Katy and I crossed the finish line of the half-marathon Saturday, arm in arm.
Words can’t express how grateful I am for so many of you who prayed and gave money for clean water, cheered, encouraged, gave advice regarding injuries, gave high fives, sent texts, and were incredibly patient with me through training. For Katy who ran alongside me, and John who rode alongside me, I’m sure there will be special jewels in their crowns.
Many people aren’t runners and get irritated with hearing about running. I totally get it. But I want this experience to honor God, and I think part of that is naming what He has taught me that may apply to your life too. So here are three things I’m thinking about…
1. You only have to run one mile. The one you’re in. Stay in the mile. This was the most important mindset for me in order to finish. Looking ahead, thinking about the number of miles left was too overwhelming. I could be strengthened by knowing that God had been faithful through previous miles, but I just needed to run my current mile. Just run mile 7. Just run mile 11.
I think of one young friend who’s on a long road recovering from a bike accident, and another who lost a daughter, and another who’s between jobs. Whether in a challenging time like these, or just trying to truly be present to God, I wonder if a good strategy is getting better at staying in our mile – looking to God just to give us the strength for this one hour. This one day.
2. “Nothing is impossible” is a lie, but God will equip you to do anything HE calls you to, and much more than you dream you can. There are certain things I just am incapable of doing. Like playing in the NBA. But that said, I think we often insult God by not trusting Him to do supernatural equipping in our lives.
Last week I was having lunch with a friend who asked how my training was going. I shared honestly some of my many limitations. She said it made her think of Gideon in Judges 7 when he is getting ready to fight the Midianites. God says, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.'” God reduces Gideon’s army so that it will be clear that it is He who has done the work. His power perfected in our weakness
3. Comparison is a killer. Everything counts.
We (actually I – Katy could have lapped me but stuck by my side slogging along at my pace) were beaten by a house. Yep, a guy running in costume as the house from the movie, UP. How embarrassing is that?
Conversely, a woman talked to me Sunday after the race and she as much as said, “You are a 56 year old woman with injuries and multiple back surgeries who’s never run before and just finished a half-marathon and raised a lot of money for clean water. You make me feel ‘less than’. I’ve never done anything that significant.”
Well you know what I’m tempted to think? “My friend, Steve freakin’ Wiens ran across the Grand Canyon and raised $50,000! My little half-marathon is nothing. My paltry $6,630 is nothing!” Wrong!
Comparison is like a fun house mirror. It distorts everything, leading either to pride or despair. None of us have “arrived” and none of us are done. We can all stretch more than we are, but EVERYTHING is something. It’s all significant.
The other day I read this live tweet from a conference, “You are where you are for such a time as this — not to make an impression — but to make a difference.” (I didn’t see any attribution to the speaker).
Whether you’re a runner or not, can you relate to these thoughts? Which do you most need to think about today?