He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-30
Today began with several firsts for me. I fell into a rut a little more than a year ago, and my motivation to eat right and stay active kind of went down the drain. This week I’ve been working on my motivation. The past two days, though, I did nothing to stay active. I was so tired that I just came home and did the absolute necessities and then crashed.
My goal was to sleep in today since it’s something I just don’t get to do. I woke up a little before 8 and felt rested and refreshed even though I didn’t get to sleep until around 1:30 AM. Yes that is sleeping in for me.
The first thing I did that surprised even me was that I didn’t sit in bed and turn the tv on. I got up. . . and. . . I ran! I know some of you enjoy it. I know some of you are eager to do it and may even get in a bad mood if you miss a day of it. But for me, I absolutely hate running. It’s not fun, and I can’t figure out how to breathe, and my head feels like it’s going to explode, and I just don’t like it. However, I can feel that it works every part of my body, and I’m able to set goals for myself, and it’s actually the one and only type of exercise I do that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something every time I do it.
My goal is always 3 miles, and I compete against myself – the shortest time I’ve run it before. I haven’t run since 1 time in January, and that was the first time I ran since February LAST year! My goal was just not to go over my longest time. 🙂
At a half mile, I almost gave up because for the first time ever in my exercising life, I was about to vomit. Too hot? I don’t know. Heart rate too high? I don’t know. I decided to walk and if it was going to happen it was going to happen, but I was going to keep going anyway.
WHAT?!?! Let me just say, if you know me at any capacity, you know I’m a complainer when I’m not comfortable. The fact that I changed my thinking from I’m stopping 5 minutes in because I’m about to be sick to I’m going to be sick right here in the bushes, and then I’m going to keep going is just not normal for me.
Luckily I hadn’t eaten yet, so I was able to control it and didn’t physically get sick. I picked up my pace and started running again. I did have a moment around 1.5 miles where I started feeling it again, but I pushed through. However, I was ready to stop when I hit 2 miles, but I still hadn’t made it back home. My new goal was 2.5 miles and then jump in the pool fully clothed because it was too darn hot.
I hit 2.5 miles, but I was at 33 minutes. I don’t know if it’s my OCD, and 33 minutes didn’t work for me, or if it was my competitive nature, but something sent an extra burst of determination through me. I knew when I ran my very first 5K several years ago, I hit 37 minutes. I told myself it’s just a half a mile more, and surely I could do that in under 40 minutes. I would not hit 40 minutes. I ran as fast as my hurting, tired legs would allow me, and then I just knew it. I knew I was going to finally be sick, but I would not stop before reaching 3 miles, and I would not hit the 40 minute mark. I’ve never taken 40 minutes, and I wasn’t about to start now. I was at 2.95 miles and somewhere above 38 minutes. My eyes watered down my cheeks from controlling my stomach, but I reached 3 miles, and I did it under 40 minutes!
Oh, and I did not get sick! Yes, this was my slowest time by far, and honestly I’m kicking myself for not going ahead and running the next 10th of a mile to hit the 5K, but I’m so proud of myself for pushing so hard and accomplishing what I originally wanted to accomplish in the first place. I didn’t do it for anyone. I didn’t do it for a race. I did it for me. I prayed. I know it sounds crazy, but I prayed at the half mile when I felt sick, and I prayed at that 2.5 mile and again when I was so close to 3 miles but didn’t know if I could do it.
God did not have to allow me to finish what I had set in my head to do, but he did. God doesn’t want us to just come to him when we need something, and he doesn’t want us to just talk to him about “serious matters.” God wants to be our friend. I told him what my goal was. I talked to him about wanting to stop when I felt sick and again when my lungs hurt and again when my legs were tired. He didn’t let me quit. Instead, he told me, “No. You’re not stopping when you just started. You can do this. Keep going. You can do it!” And I did. He told me at 2.5 miles, “It’s just a half mile more. You have 7 minutes, you can do it!”
Understand that God cares about the little things and wants you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean in an exercise but in life. Push yourself. Talk to him. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). That doesn’t mean you have to do everything right and perfect in order to “delight” yourself in him. It means spend time with him, talk to him, love on him, and let him love on you. Just like when you spend time with your friends, even when you two are doing nothing, that’s what God wants. You enjoy spending time with friends; that’s delight, and spending time with God brings him delight.
You aren’t going to get everything you ask for, but God will do simple little things for you to show you he loves that you’ve been spending time with him. Talk to him about the desires of your heart. See what he does for you. See if you might surprise yourself today.