I am realizing that my blogs are less about running and more about God. And I think that is how it should be, when one goes on a journey with the sole intent to become closer to Him, that the result is exactly that. I just honestly didn't expect it. When I answered that voice that said I should run a marathon, secretly I didn't think it was God talking to me. Maybe it was my secret wish, to run a marathon. That was a thought, that I was just spinning it I to thinking it was God's plan, not my own, to perhaps feel a little less selfish. And as a Christian I want to follow God. And I sometimes feel a little (ok, a lot) undeserving...I am still building my relationship with Him, how do I "really" know that it is his words I hear? Who am I to think I can hear Him? It Is called faith, my friends, and it's true what they say, you don't need a boatload of it, just a tiny mustard seed, like the bible says.
So...part of me felt that during this journey I wouldn't hear him speak, that my footsteps wouldn't walk with His, that this whole marathon thing would really just be about running.
But it is anything but.
Yes, I am training, and getting stronger physically, but spiritually and in my relationship with Christ I am growing by leaps and bounds. Like my Faith. And yes, I am trying new fueling methods (I like cliff shots), and have learned ways to recover from sore muscles (foam roller), and I a building endurance, but it is the race to salvation that concerns me.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
I am reading a book called "Anything" by Jennie Allen. This book is nothing short of amazing, and is exactly what I needed right now at this point in my journey. A spark friend, Rachel, (RUNNERRACHEL) recommended it to me and I am so glad she did. This book is about one simple word, "anything" it challenges the reader to make a promise to God. Promising to do anything He asks. Go wherever He may lead us. Not questioning, but having a faith as large as this world that God created. I want that.
Last week I talked about running from God. I didn't want to be a runaway bride, I wanted to get closer to God, and in fact, would do anything to do that. This marathon is my anything. Letting go of my past and people in it that don't serve me, or even more importantly, enable me serve GOD as I should, is my anything.
In the book, Jennie says that "little deaths always feel like big deaths until you let go. After you let go you wonder, what was the big deal?" Let go. This is something I've been wrestling with. Letting go of people and things, ideas I don't need and most of all, letting go of my fear.
In the book she also says that at the root of all sin is unbelief. I believe that is true. We look for other things to fulfill and sustain us other than our God. But nothing else can ever fill us up like He can. It's like going to the gas station for fuel for your car, and filling up the car with water - it just won't work.
Another quote from the book, "he'll always feel far away, drowned out by other louder rivers, until every other thing fades away and He becomes the only thing."
I'm finding that my love for Jesus is outweighing my love of the material things and people of this world. That I want to follow him. It's not a "have to" anymore.
I also love this:
”But God often seems unconcerned with helping us maintain same, simple lives where everything fits and works. I don’t know what God’s plans are for you, but I do know that we don’t hear from him until certain things die. He doesn’t compete. And when he does speak, it typically costs something.”
There are things in this world that are going to be hard to give up. But I am renewing my vows and will release those things that take up space inside my head and heart. I'm going to make room for Him.
And I've found that even when we are running from god, he is always faithful, and is running towards us. Our past doesn't matter. Who we are doesn't matter. God weighs our hearts and sees what is on the inside, he redeems us. And we are NEW.
"No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of his presence."
-- C.S. Lewis
This week I was out of town in Michigan for my long run. I have always wanted to run the Kal Haven trail --the closest I got was walking it once n the winter for about 5 minutes. I wanted to run 8 miles to prepare for my upcoming half marathon. But I didn't want to do it alone on the trail. So I asked my dad if he would come with me and ride beside me on his bike. My dad has bad knees, and his feet are pretty messed up. The bike was too short for him, but he rode along with me, every step of the way, encouraging me.
A photo of my dad ahead of me on the trail
After the run
It reminds me of how God is always there with us, directing our steps. Of how much Jesus sacrificed for us up on that cross. It was amazing. I had reverted back to listening to hip hop and rap for running, but it didn't inspire me anymore. So this past week I turned back to the Christian music and it made me feel so light on my feet, like I was flying. Reminded me that I am running for those women and children who don't have water.
The prayer for this week is simple to get closer to god, no other demands that make my heart heavy.
Plan for this week:
Mon: 3 miles
Tues: 3 miles
Wed: strength and core
Thurs: 3 miles (hard)
Sat : 5 miles long
Sun: cross training
Joel 2:12-13, "'Yet even now,' declares the LORD, 'Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.' Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil." (NAS)
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.