Monday, January 21, 2013


There's nothing holding you back now
      just run
                         --Dara Maclean, "Suitcases"

There are a lot of things  that hold us back.  Most of the time, it's the negativity that either we've allowed others in instill in us or we've instilled in ourselves.  Excuses, really.

Growing up, when I got in trouble and my father questioned me about why I did something, many times when I gave him my response, he would reply with, "That's not a reason, that's an excuse."  I never really understood the difference until I became older and started working out.  Here are some of my more famous excuses:

"I have weak ankles so it's difficult to walk or run"
"I have a weak right wrist so lifting weights is not possible"
"I have a small frame"
"I don't want to look like a man, so I shouldn't lift weights"
"I don't have enough time to do that"
"I work too late to work out"
"My kids need their mother at home."

And on, and on, and on.

None of those were reasons to not be able to work out.  I had not had a major surgery on my ankles or wrists.  No amount of weight lifting was going to make me look like a man unless I was taking testosterone.  I was spending plenty of time watching TV, so I had the time, just not the inclination.  Just because I worked late did not mean I couldn't do something at home.  And my kids have a father, as well, who helps out tremendously.  All of those excuses became little more than methods of procrastination.

As I have worked on packing my suitcases for the Princess Half trip, I've dragged them throughout the house, thinking of how difficult it would be to carry them to my room without wheels.  Today, as I'm finishing up the last 0.20 miles on an impromptu run that was not on the agenda this week, Dara Maclean's "Suitcases" came on. . .

You can't run when you're holding suitcases
it's a new day, throw away your mistakes
And open up your heart, lay down your guard,
You don't have to be afraid

In my running journey, there have been many times I was afraid.  In 2011, I didn't show up to two 5K races because I was afraid.  Even though I had made it through a 5K before, I made excuses,

"It's been so long since I ran last"
"It's supposed to rain too hard"
"I'm scared to do this on my own"

I didn't have faith enough in what had already been proven to me to step out there and take a chance.  Dara puts it better:

How can you move, when they're weighing you down?
What can you do, when you're tied to the ground?
You carry your burdens, heavy like gravity,
Just let them go now, there's freedom in release

Our daily walk with Christ is like that.  Sometimes, when we look at our lives and the mistakes we've made, we are scared that we could never be forgiven for what we have done.  We give ourselves excuses:

"He doesn't know what I've done"
"Why should I try?  I'm just going to mess up again."
"No one could ever forgive me"
"I just can't be good enough"

We run a danger in thinking that it's by our own power we do anything.  We run a danger believing that God is not powerful enough to forgive us.  He does know what we've done, He knows we are going to mess up, and no we aren't good enough, but that's okay, because we are loved more completely than we could imagine:

But God demonstrates His own love in this:  While we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)

Note that it's not after we stopped sinning, but while we are still sinning, a beautiful man, who knew  no sin, died for each of us.

We stumble, we fall, but in the end we are forgiven.  And as Dara says,

Just breathe, your load can be lifted,
There's a better way when you know you're forgiven,
Open up you heart, lay down your guard,
You don't have to be afraid

Life is still hard, but those suitcases--the pain, the hurt, everything, have wheels put on them as we stop being afraid of life, failure, and heartbreak.

There's nothing holding you back now
      just run

My prayer for my readers is that nothing holds them back and they can run with the knowledge that there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).  I also pray that whatever is holding them back, they have the faith they can get through it, whether it's running, working out, getting fit, dealing with an illness, or some other curve ball life throws at us.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Go Hard or Go Home

"Take me out the game coach I don't wanna play no mo
If I can't give it all I got and leave it out there on the court"
                                                         --LeCrae, "Go Hard"

That's exactly how I am feeling right now about the Princess Half.  I am going out there and even if I run so hard I puke, I'm leaving it all out there.  

That sounds sick.  Why on earth would anyone with to put themselves through that?  Why would anyone wish to run and run until they feel ill?  Why would anyone want to do something like that? 

I see my running as a ministry.  Not necessarily to the world, or my community, but to myself.  I think sometimes when we look at all of the hurt and pain in the world, we forget to minister to ourselves.  To grow ourselves.  To allow ourselves to revel in what God has given us.  James 1:2 says "Consider it pure joy, brothers, when you face trials of many kinds."  

People face trials all the time.  I have friends who have recently gone through heartbreak.  I've had young friends deal with cancer.  I've watched friends lose children, students, parents suddenly and unexplainably.  I'm not going to venture as to why people go through trials.  But I know this:  in the end I'll have a choice as to whether or not I've praised God through every single trial.  I have to give it all I have and leave everything on the court.

The point is, regardless of the trial, it's not acceptable to give up.  Running has become an action of me not giving up on myself, not letting simple things like slight knee pain, blisters on my toes, and a little bit of thirst stop me from going for the end.  It's a trial I've given myself to that I can push myself in the trials that really matter--whether or not I'm going to show love to my neighbor, and whether or not I'm going to be a forgiving person.

In all of these things, I'm going to "Go hard, or go home."