Category Archives: Running

Running from Anxiety

It was almost 3 years ago that I started running. As someone who HATED running with a fiery passion, it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. For the first time in my life o had found a healthy way to cope with my depression and anxiety…that was, until I shattered a bone in my foot. 

  
After a year of running hard, I was sidelined while I had surgery to remove the shattered sesamoid bone. This was the start of my downward spiral. All of a sudden, my coping mechanism was stolen from me and I didn’t know how to deal wmy anxiety anymore. 

Over the last 15 months, I have had 5 surgeries. After months of recovery, I’ve finally been given clearance to run again. But now, I’ve also developed plantar fasciitis. It’s incredibly painful and, at times, I can barely walk. 

I’m frustrated! I miss the feeling of the wind in my hair as I run down the road. Running gives me a sense of freedom that I can get from anything else. Running calms my anxious heart. It helps me decompress when I can’t make sense of my off the wall emotions. Running has done more for my mental health than any of my medications have. 

I’m planning on running a half marathon in 15 weeks – the Saddle Blazer half in Killeen, Texas on February 27. The Monday after thanksgiving, I’ll be starting my official training program. I’m incredibly nervous. But also so excited. 

My biggest fear with this half marathon training is that I’ll re-injure myself and have running taken away from me again. 

Running is a gift, a blessing. Don’t take it for granted. Running helps me to understand the chaos of this world. It helps me find meaning in a life that sometimes feels meaningless. It helps me connect with God in a way that nothing else can.  

   

So if you tell me I need to stop running, that it’s bad for my knees, that I need to find another way to cope…I’m going to tell you that running has changed my life and given me the courage to keep pushing even when I’m tired and scared. Quitting isn’t an option! 


To Run or Not to Run…

Why is running so important to me? – That’s a really good question. I’m not sure if I can fully answer it, but I’ll try.

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I was never a runner in my child or adolescent years. In fact, I hated running. Running was the bane of my existence. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough in most things I did, and running only backed up that thought. I always said I “couldn’t” run. I didn’t know how to breathe and I didn’t know how to handle the ache in my muscles. So I just stuck to swimming – I loved swimming. Being in the water was, quite possibly, one of the best feelings to me. I was not, nor would I ever be, a runner…or so I thought.

Then, one day last May, I decided I wanted to run. The thought was insane. I hated running, why did I want to run? But I gave in to the thought and I ran. And you know what, I fell in love with it. Even at 240 pounds and even though I could barely run a quarter mile without thinking I was going to die, I fell in love with it and I kept trying.

Running was the first thing in my life that was hard for me and I knew would be a challenge, but I kept going anyway. You see, I’m my own worst critic and I’ve never been very confident in my ability to do anything. When confronted with anything that might be hard or challenging, anything that there was even a possibility of me failing at, I would quit. Quitting was easier than trying and failing…or so I thought at the time.

So back to why running is so important to me, running taught me a very important life lesson. Running taught me that, if I was willing to try, I would find out that I was capable of much more than I thought I was – both mentally and physically. Running became a release for me. When I had a bad day, I ran. When I had a good day, I ran. When I was sad, I ran. When I was happy, I ran…you get the picture.

Then, running became an addiction and it took over my life. I lived and breathed running. I got injured, but I kept running.

Now, as I’m recovering from surgery to remove the sesamoid bone that I shattered…from continuing to run on an injured foot, I am reassessing my deep desire to run again. Last month, I was told by my rheumatologist that I should NEVER run again. I have a rare disorder called Elhers-Danlos Syndrome that effects my joints (and many other parts of my body). Because of this disorder, my joints are very loose and I have had frequent dislocations and sprains of my joints, throughout my life. My ankles and knees are some of my most unstable joints and, obviously, running is not very productive when then joints in the legs are weak.

But running brings me so much joy. I can’t really just STOP running altogether, can I? I mean, running does not define me. Whether or not I run is not the most important part of my life, and I do recognize that…but to be totally honest, I’m just not ready to give it up. So I’ve been doing some research. My joints will never be as stable as most peoples joints, but there are things I can do to protect them. There are things I can do to run again.

I’m not going to give up on running. I will protect my joints and I will be smart about it. But I will still run. It may not be much, and that’s okay.

Being a runner is so much more than running. It’s the determination and the drive to want more for myself and my life than I ever dreamed possible. It’s the willingness to dream big and do the work necessary to achieve those dreams. Being a runner has given me to confidence to also face struggles in other aspects of my life because if I can run, I can do anything. I am an overcomer!

I refuse to let this disorder control my life. Some of the most joyful times in my life have been during a good run and I will not give that up without a fight.

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Mama Called the Doctor and the Doctor a Said…

“No more running.”

Those were the words Dr. Madden spoke that brought me to tears. As I sat in the exam room and we discussed my options – cast, boot, surgery, rest, crutches, I found myself so lost in my emotions. He held up my x-ray to the light and showed me the very clear image of my foot and the fibular sesamoid bone that is in two pieces. Then he pulled out the report for the bone scan. I knew all of this before going in to his office, but somehow I had hoped that maybe it wouldn’t be THAT bad.

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I sat on that exam table, tears and snot dripping from my face (I am not one of those women who cries cutely) and I asked him the same question every runner asks, “when can I run again?” He, of course, laughed at my question and then explained the recovery process to me.

I will run again one day. I will start back at square one, but I will run again. Running is something I have grown to love. I am a runner. Running is what I do. When life is chaotic – I run. When I am upset – I run. When I am happy – I run. When I need quiet time – I run. The answer is always “go for a run,” no matter what the question is.

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So here’s where I realize I have a problem. I was presented tonight with the question, “what is it about NOT running that is so terrible?” And boom! That’s where it hit me – I’ve idolized running. I’ve stopped trusting God for my salvation and I’ve been looking for it on my own through my success in running.

I never thought I could run, but once I started running, I took off and didn’t look back. So when I started having an achey pain in my right foot last August, I ignored it. When I finally went to the doctor they said it was a stress fracture. Then another doctor said it was just my shoes – I liked that answer better, so I bought new shoes and kept running…even though I was still in pain.

Then, as I was training for a half marathon I hurt my left foot. The initial diagnosis was stress fracture. Then it was osteochondritis defect lesion. Now, it’s tendonitis.

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Now that I’m seeing a podiatrist, I’m finally getting accurate care for my feet. It’s hard for me to accept that I cannot run right now and I’m literally grieving the temporary loss of my ability to run. It turns out that achey pain in my right foot from last year is a broken bone. So now, I am having surgery next month to remove my fibular sesamoid bone and 3-4 months after that I will be able to run again.

Running is wonderful. It’s good and healthy and freeing. But just like any other good thing in this world, when it becomes more important than God it is no longer a good thing.

My biggest problem though doesn’t even have anything to do with running. My biggest problem is that I’ve put God on the back seat of my life and let running take the wheel. Now, I look back to the cross.

In church this morning, my pastor said something to the effect of – when I’m having a hard time trusting God, I need to look back at what God has done in my life in the past. Which also reminds me of something a very sweet friend of mine told me about 2 years ago, “look at what God did then. He will do it again.”

I’m thankful for sweet friends, a great small group, an awesome pastor, but mostly for a loving and faithful God who has given me more grace and mercy than I deserve.

I am scared of surgery. I am scared of not running again. I am scared of all the “what ifs”. But what I know is that no matter what, God is in control of it all. He already knows.

Yes, I am currently struggling to trust God because this is not how I want things to go. But in the midst of that struggle, I also know that He is helping me to trust Him more each day.


You’re My Inspiration

When I first started running, other runners and people in the gym intimidated me. I was no where near as fit or as thin as they were and I assumed that they were all judging me. I was fat and out of shape. I was miserable in my own skin and I failed to see my own beauty.

I’ve struggled with body image, as I’m sure most women in our society have, for much of my life. I’ve been thin and I’ve been fat. I’ve battled anorexia and bulimia and compulsive over eating. My mind has been a battlefield for many years. So when I decided to start running, I wasn’t really sure why I wanted to do it. My initial motivation was not to get healthier ans start a better lifestyle. But when I first started running, I found freedom. I found dedication and determination. I found that I had a stronger power inside of me than I ever knew. Running opened up a new world to me. I was still insecure and self-conscious of my body and I would run or go to the gym early in the morning or late at night so that I no one would see me. I was terrified of the judgement of others…until I was willing to accept who God said I was, I wouldn’t be able to step out of that fear.

The more I ran, the more I saw who I really was. No, I wasn’t super thin. No, I wasn’t ultra fit. But I was, and I am, beautiful. I’m beautiful because I am loved by God. I’m beautiful because I love others. I’m beautiful because I am determined. I’m beautiful because I am kind. I’m beautiful because I refuse to give up. I’m beautiful because I am me.

Song of Solomon 4:7 – You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! You are already beautiful. If you can’t see your beauty now, you won’t see it after losing 10, 20, 60, or 100 pounds. Your beauty comes from your heart. Yes, you may want to lose weight to be healthier or feel better about yourself or whatever your reasons may be….but just know, that losing weight or getting fit will not make you beautiful. You are already beautiful.

I got this letter in an e-mail yesterday. I do not know who the original author is, but this is so beautifully written that I had to share it. This is for the “fat girl” in me who was afraid of everyone else in the fitness world. This is for the new runner. This is for the new athlete. This is for the “fat girl” who just wants to better her life. This is for anyone who thinks that they are being judged by those who are more “in shape” than they are.

You are my inspiration. Even now, when I get “stuck” and can’t find motivation some days, I look at you and you inspire me to keep going.

The letter from my e-mail:
“Hey, Fat Girl.
Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe.
You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you.
You are awesome.
If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others.
You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.
You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.
You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.
I bow to you.”

Because I’m Frustrated

I’m frustrated! If you know me or have been following this blog for a while you would know that last year my sister was diagnosed with lymphoma and that I joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT) program. TNT is the worlds largest endurance sports training program. It is with TNT that I vowed to raise $2500 for LLS and run a half marathon – 13.1 miles.

So over the last several months I have trained hard. I have endured painful long runs and sore muscles. I have fought back against that voice in my head that has told me I can’t do this. Physically, I am ready for race day.

The downfall though, is that we hit a snag in fundraising. Bricks 4 Lymphoma, a LEGO® Brick building competition had been planned for this weekend, but due to the lack of support we had to cancel the physical event and just do a virtual build competition – which hasn’t helped raise much money.

So let me elaborate on why I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because I’ve had so many family and friends talk about wanting to support me and my sister (being that she is the cancer survivor and she is why I’m running and fundraising) and it seems impossible lately to get any support. With the build competition, it seemed like everyone I talked to about was so interested and guaranteed me that they wanted to be involved – but still no one has stepped up to support the cause.

This isn’t about me. It isn’t about the money. It’s about feeling alone in this. My sister didn’t fight cancer alone. She survived cancer because of the love and support of her friends. And I can’t do this alone either. Between my sister and I, we have well over 100 friends. If I had 100 people each donate $24, I would reach my goal.

I chose LLS as a cause to run and fundraise for because without LLS and the research they’ve done in the past and the people who’ve raised money before, my sister may not be alive today. I want to continue to further research for the people like my sister. To continue to give hope to those afflicted with blood cancers.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to move people to action. Why do people talk and talk and talk about wanting to help and make a difference and yet no one does anything?

I’m still praying that God will provide a way for me to get to the race. He hasn’t brought me this far in my training for nothing. I don’t know what He’s up to right now, but I know He has a plan for all of this….I just wish I knew what it was.

If you are interested in donating, here’s the link to my fundraising page:
http://pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/mardigra14/bricks4lymphoma


I’m Still Here

I realized recently that it has been a while since I posted a blog other than my 7-in-7 poems. So here’s one to get you caught up with where I’ve been over the last few months.

1)      I’m still running. I’ve been running my heart out to prepare for my first half marathon, which is in 20 days – the Rock n’ Roll half marathon in New Orleans. I’m still in desperate need of fundraising though. I’m running the Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I had planned a LEGO® Brick building competition, but we’ve had to adjust our plans to only do a virtual build competition because there wasn’t as much interest in it as we had thought. I’m pretty bummed out about it, but I’m praying that God will provide a way. I have 13 days to finish raising the money.

2)      Training is hard. Training for this half marathon has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Yesterday I ran my first double digit run – 10.01 miles. By the time I got home I was ready to collapse. My body ached and I was exhausted. But the pride I felt is something that no one can take away from me and something that no one could ever buy. I earned every mile of that run through the strength that God has given me. I am weak to survive these long runs on my own and I am so thankful that God is on these runs with me, giving me the strength to press on when I feel like I can’t take another step.

3)      Husband is home!!! Robert has been home for a little over a month now. It’s so amazing to have him here – to fall asleep next to him at night and have someone to share my lonely evenings with after the girls are in bed. The Army life is hard, but thankfully God has given us the grace to get through another deployment.

4)      My sister finished chemo and kicked cancer’s butt. You haven’t seen true strength until you’ve witnessed someone fighting cancer. Her strength amazes me and I’m so thankful that God got us all through it. She is why I am running. She is why I push myself so hard in training. She is my big sister. I may not tell her this enough, but even though we are grown up and have families of our own, I still look up to her.

5)      I’m almost a certified personal trainer. I’ll be taking my test later on in the month and (if I pass) I will be certified and ready to start training. So who’s ready to train with me?

 

There’s so much more I could write about right now, but I’m limited on time right now. I’ll update more later. My  New Year’s resolution is to post at least once a week, so you should be seeing a lot more from me in the near future.


My Ankle Hurts: An Analogy for life

It’s 1 am and I am wide awake…so I’m going to tell you a story. The story I want to tell you is about my ankle. Bear with me for a minute, even at 1 am, I know that probably sounds crazy…but I promise, I have a point.

For nearly my entire life, my ankle has been weak. But where did that begin? I’m really not sure. I don’t remember the first time I twisted/sprained it – I just know it’s ALWAYS been that way. Over the years, my ankle got more and more out of whack, but my body learned to adapt. So now, after many years of learning to adapt to life with stretched ligaments in my ankle – I’ve gotten used to it. It’s part of my life and part of who I am. My body still functions just fine and it doesn’t really prevent me from doing the things I love.

Until now.

Last week I went to the doctor for a severe pain in my calf. There were a few different possibilities for what it could have been – popliteal artery entrapment, compartment syndrome, or pulled/torn muscle. I never really gave any thought to my ankle being the root of the problem. As the doctor examined my leg, he also looked at my ankle. As he turned my ankle, a look of deep concern came across his face.

“Does this hurt?” He asked as he turned my ankle further than it should go.

“No. Should it?” I answered. “My ankle has always been that way. I hurt it as a kid and I have stretched ligaments in it.”

The doctor looked at me with a bit of frustration and relief. He chuckled as he said, “You know that’s something you need to tell me.”

“Yeah, my bad,” I laughed, “I’ve just always had a crap ankle, so I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just kind of a part of who I am.”

The doctor’s original orders were to rest my leg for two weeks. No running. No working out. I had to take a break from running and Insanity classes – those were the only outlets I had for my stress and frustration and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to punch the doctor in his face for that.

It has now been a week since I saw that doctor. In this past week I have seen two other doctors, had an MRI done, worn an ankle brace, and seen a physical therapist. The final decision: the calf pain is still a mystery, BUT everyone is fairly certain that the root of the pain is the weakness in my ankle.

After 15+ years of living life with a weak ankle, my calf has learned to overcompensate and to support and stabilize my leg in ways that my ankle should be doing. In most people, this extra usage of muscular energy would be painful, but for me, it’s become normal. Really, at some point I just started to assume that my ankle would just always be that way, nothing would make it better, and I would just need to learn how to live with it. When I started running and doing Insanity classes though, my calf decided it couldn’t handle the extra work anymore and it started hurting.

Now, I get to pretty much live in an ankle brace as I go through physical therapy to strengthen my ankle and help take some of this pressure off of my calf. Wearing this ankle brace at all times, hurts! My ankle has been so used to being in a stretched position, that now it actually hurts for it to be in the anatomically correct position. And sometimes, the pain makes me want to give up this whole thing. But, I am frequently reminded that if I quit, I will go back to having that same, sometimes excruciating pain, in my leg. My ankle needs to heal CORRECTLY if I want it to function properly.

If you have stuck around and actually read all about my ankle/calf, you are lucky enough to find out WHY I wanted to share this story.

Because this is almost a perfect analogy for the “Christian” life.

Two years ago I was an unbeliever. I thought I was living my life the best I could. I thought I was free to do as I pleased. I thought I was just fine even though I was not very happy. I don’t really know exactly where the unhappiness began, it just seems to have always been there. Sexual abuse. Eating disorder. Self-harm. Abortion. Alcohol and drug abuse. Perfectionism. People pleasing. Control. It’s all just been a part of who I was. I hadn’t enjoyed it, but I had found my identity in it. The only choice I had after that was to cope – to adapt.

But then Jesus came into my life and flipped it upside down. Just like the doctor who looked at my ankle, Jesus looked at me with deep concern. Just like that doctor, Jesus needed me to be honest with Him about my past in order to heal me in the present. Just like that doctor, Jesus wanted me to get better so that I may live a full life. Just like I didn’t know my ankle needed healing until the doctor told me, I didn’t know my life needed healing until Jesus shined His light on it.

I fought at first; I was angry. I thought my life was just fine. I wasn’t happy, but I had learned to adapt. I had learned how to live my life with many spiritual, mental, and emotional wounds. Just like with my ankle, it wasn’t ideal, but I had gotten comfortable. I had learned to adapt because my wounds were just a part of who I was.

Luke 19:10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.

I was lost, and when you’re lost – you want to be comfortable. But Jesus came to find me and now that He had found me, He was telling me it was time to leave my comfort zone. He told me that it was time to quit living a life that I had just adapted to and that it was time that I learned to live life abundantly – something He promised He can give me. Everything I thought I knew up to that point didn’t make any sense anymore.

I felt like I’d gone too far. Jesus still reached out for me. I had trust issues. Jesus wanted me to trust Him. I had abandonment issues. Jesus wanted me to accept His love. I was scared. Jesus wanted to give me courage. I felt alone. Jesus wanted to be with me. I felt trapped. Jesus wanted to set me free. I felt weak. Jesus was strong.

It didn’t matter what my excuse was, Jesus had an answer for every single one. He really wanted me to let Him heal me, even though it was going to hurt. He promised me it’d be worth it and He promised me that we were going to do this together. He would be with me every step of the way – even when I want to quit. And in those times, He’ll remind me of why we are doing this – why the life He wants me to live is better than the life I was living.

Over the last two years, Jesus and I have fought, quite a bit, about whether or not I am letting Him heal me. And in case you are wondering, He always wins. He has given me a “treatment plan” and tells me to stick to it, to follow His direction and I will get better.

But, you see, my problem is this thing called stubbornness. I am stubborn and I DON’T like being told what to do – even when I know it’s what’s best for me. I often fail to follow His treatment plan and I go off and do my own thing. It never takes long though, for life to start hurting again and for me to go running straight back to Him.

On this side of Heaven, I will never be perfectly healed – but Jesus is continuing to heal me a little more every day…as long I’m willing to come to Him.

I’ll be going to physical therapy for the next 4-8 weeks in order to get my ankle back to where it should be.

Just like physical therapy for my ankle, I need to choose to go to Jesus, every day, to get my life back to where I should be – to where He made me to be.

It’s not easy. It’s painful. And some days, it just plain sucks. But it is my ONLY option if I want to actually live my life instead of just surviving it.


No Shortcuts

There are no shortcuts that lead to anywhere that is worth going. I’ve tried to take many shortcuts in fitness and weight loss, in recovering from my past hurts, and in mending relationships with people I have hurt.

But let me share a big lesson that I have learned: SHORTCUTS DON’T WORK!!

If I want to succeed and complete what I’ve set out to do, no matter what it is, it will take hard work, determination, blood, sweat, and tears. I can’t give 50% and expect 100% results…it just doesn’t work that way.

Most people are their own worst critics, as I tend to be too. I’ve lived most of my life convinced that I was a failure and that I shouldn’t bother trying, so I never gave 100% in anything I’ve ever done. If I was destined to fail, what was the point in trying.

But what I know now, what I first learned through Celebrate Recovery, is that in my own strength, I will fail. The strength I need is a strength that can only come from God. With that strength though, I can accomplish anything.

Running has reinforced that same idea. I am not a fast runner and I am not a long distance runner; although, one day, I plan to be both. Right now, I am a dedicated and determined runner. I’ve learned, through recovery, running, and working out, what it feels like to want something so bad that I am willing to go through the pain, to hurt, to cry, and to suffer to get to my goal.

I’ve gotten to a point now, where I’m honestly just tired of excuses. If I can get out there a run 4+ miles, if I can push through 30 minutes of the pain of an Insanity workout, if I can trudge through the hurt of my past and come out still breathing on the other side…then there is no excuse as to why anyone else can’t accomplish their goals.

Now I’m not saying that I’ve done these things on my own, quite the opposite; I have only been able to push past the fear and pain because of the strength and determination from God. God will not give me a dream that He will not also equip me to carry out. It just might take a little but (or a lot) of effort of my end.

A few weeks ago I ran my second 5k. I came in at 39:10, which was 22 seconds faster than my first one. As I was rounding the last curve and into the home stretch of the race, I started to burn out, my legs started cramping and my lungs were hurting. But out of no where, I got a sudden burst of energy as Eye of the Tiger started playing on my iPod. Tell me that’s not divine motivation?

God works in mysterious ways that and it always reminds me that He cares about the little details of my life.

So why do I workout? Why do I run? Why do I continue to go through recovery? If it hurts so much, why do I do it? Because my fear of not doing it is greater than my fear of staying where I am. My pain of my past life is more painful than the process of become who God made me to be.

My body is His Temple…it’s about time I start treating it that way – physically and mentally.


Learning the Limits

I’ve always been an “all-or-nothing” kind of person. Because of that, I’ve pushed myself, in certain areas of my life, way beyond my physical or mental limitations. I think learning my limits, among other things, is one of the things God is trying to teach me as I run and work out.

Being that I’ve found something that has given me more joy than anything else I’ve ever done, I’m bound to push myself too hard…that’s just what I do – what I’ve always done. But here’s the thing that worries me, if I push myself too hard, I will probably hurt myself, then I’ll be out for good. I’ll lose the thing that I took so long to find. And while not running may not be the end of the world, it would definitely be very upsetting.

So I’m learning that there are physical limitations to what I can and cannot do.

Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone who is among you not to think more highly of yourself than what one ought to think, but to think sensibly, as God has apportioned a measure of faith to each one.

God didn’t make us to be limitless and indestructible. If that we’re the case, we wouldn’t need each other and we wouldn’t need Him. But we do. We cannot make it through this life on only our own strength; I can tell you from experience, that doesn’t work! I can push myself farther than my physical/psychological ability, end up hurting myself, and live in a solitary and depressing world – or, I can admit my need for God and for others and enjoy the freedom, love, and grace that comes along with that. Which will I choose?

I am human. I am fallible. I am clumsy. I am stubborn. But in spite of all that, I am loved, I am forgiven, and I am free. My body is not as indestructible as I, too often, like to think it is. I have physical limitations and I have emotional limitations; and in those, in my weaknesses, God’s strength and glory will shine.

2 Corinthians 12:9 –
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

So here’s to my weaknesses. Here’s to that grace of an amazing God who is strong in my weakness.

Thank you, God, for teaching me that I have limits.


Stay the Course

Do you ever think God isn’t involved in or doesn’t care about the small details of your life? You know, the things that are seemingly insignificant, that don’t really make a big impact on life (or so you think)? That is where I experience God’s love more than anywhere else.

I am impatient. I want what I want and I want it now; a result of growing up in a culture of instant gratification. I often expect God to do what I want Him to do, just because it’s what I want Him to do. I don’t give a thought to whether or not it is the best thing for me from God’s perspective. When God doesn’t do what I think He should be doing in my life, I find myself getting frustrated and doubtful about whether or not He’s active in my life at all. But in my doubt and in my frustration, God proves Himself over and over again as He shows me who He is and how He loves me with small, unnecessary, movements.

Now don’t get me wrong, God has worked in and through me in huge ways that I never knew were possible; and that simply amazes me. The changes that God has made in me, never cease to show me how much He loves and cares about me. But those are the big things, the obviously broken parts of me. Somehow, I seem to often forget that God also cares about the little things, like how far I run, the books I read, the time I go to sleep, the timing of the sunset…and the list goes on.

Let me be honest, until now, I’ve really never given my all, all my energy, strength, and heart, to anything I’ve ever done. But now that I finally see that I really can do anything, I also see that there is only One who deserves my everything because it’s only through Him that I can do anything.

God has shown me magical things lately…things that prove His love for me in unimaginable ways.

A few weeks ago, I was out for a run and still trying to decide how far I would run, when my music stopped, there was God to tell me to slow down and take it easy, not to do too much, too fast. In that moment I was awestruck by God’s overwhelming love for me in things that don’t really seem to matter.

While out on a different run, at 2 miles in, I was feeling tired and I wanted to quit. When I ran by this church in my neighborhood (which I didn’t know existed until then).

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I was breath taken by God’s activeness in my life. The words on that sign spoke so deeply to me, it was as if Jesus, Himself, was standing right there speaking to me. It was unlike any feeling I’ve ever had before.

So when I start thinking that God is silent, that He’s ignoring me, or that He doesn’t care…I can think back to that sign.

“Stay the course. God’s timing is perfect.”


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